WROCŁAW, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Polish Catholics are continuing a centuries-old tradition of making a pilgrimage in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Częstochowa.
On August 2, over 1,000 pilgrims at the city of Wrocław began a 143-mile hike to the Shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa at Jasna Góra.
They started at the Cathedral of Wrocław where Abp. Joseph Kupny delivered an address and blessed the pilgrims, commending them to the protection of the Mother of God.
Pilgrims of all ages will walk more than 15 miles per day with everything they need for their journey in backpacks, traveling through the countryside with only the sick and the elderly allowed certain conveniences like sleeping indoors. When pilgrims reach the shrine, they approach on their knees and in a solemn silence.
The famous icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, is one of the most famous depictions of the Mother of God. It is kept at a monastery at Jasna Góra where it has been protected and venerated since 1384.
In 1717, Our Lady was declared the Queen of Poland, which was renewed 300 years later in January 2017.
Poland is known for being one of the last European nations to hold on to its Catholic foundations. It has been under attack from the United Nations (U.N.) and the European Union (E.U.) for having some of the strongest pro-life laws in the world and for resisting the Muslim invasion of Europe.
In May, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło warned Europe after the terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, "Rise from your knees, from your lethargy or you will be crying over your children every day."
President Donald Trump commented on a recent trip to Poland, "The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken and who have never, ever forgotten who they are."
He credited the Poles with helping to preserve Western civilization, adding, "[E]ach generation must rise up and play their part in its defense and every foot of ground and every last inch of civilization is worth defending with your life."