22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year 2013
My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,
A few weeks ago I mentioned to you about Feast Days in the Church liturgical calendar. They are year-round that the Church has celebrated them on different level: locally or universally. Even, particular communities like us at St. Boniface and St. Mary’s, we are celebrating our patron saint day as well.
Last Monday August 26th, 2013 was the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa. We had a solemnity evening prayer and some 60 people were at this event. It was truly Feast Day for us who were there. I am inspired by the desire of the faithful who had come and adored the Lord and honored our Blessed Virgin Mary.
I learned that the Lady of Czestochowa has a long history that the Europeans, in particular, the Polish devoted to her from time to time many centuries ago. At St. Mary, we have a replica of the original miraculous image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The origin of this miraculous image in Czestochowa, Poland is unknown for absolute certainty, but according to tradition the painting was a portrait of Our Lady done by St. John sometime after the Crucifixion of Our Lord and remained in the Holy Land until discovered by St. Helena of the Cross and it was taken to Constantinople, where St. Helena’s son, the Emperor Constantine, erected a church for its enthronement. This image was respected by the people of the city for some 500 years. The image was taken to Russia because of war, to a region that today, Poland.
After the image became the possession of the Polish prince, St. Ladislaus in the early 14th century, it was installed in his castle. Tartar invaders besieged the castle and an enemy arrow pierced Our Lady’s image, inflicting a scar. Interestingly, repeated attempts to fix the image, artistically have all failed.
Tradition says that St. Ladislaus determined to save the image from repeated invasions, so he went to his birthplace, Opala, stopping for rest in Czestochowa; the image was brought nearby to Jasna Gora [“bright hill”] and placed in a small wooden church named for the Assumption. The following morning, after the picture was carefully placed in the wagon, the horses refused to move. St. Ladislaus understood this to be a sign from Heaven that the image should stay in Czestochowa; thus he replaced the painting in the Church of the Assumption, August 26, 1382, a day still observed as the Feast Day of the painting.
Today, the Polish people continue to honor their beloved portrait of the Madonna and Child, especially on August 26, the day reserved by St. Ladislaus. At St. Mary, many of us are descendants of the Polish who migrated to this land and we continue to honor our Lady as we remember the hardship of our ancestors who were always trust Our Lady who intercede for us at all time before the glory of God.
As we worship and receive the Eucharist, let us honor our Lady; the Mother of God who had protected Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Rev. Joseph-Quoc Vuong