Poland: Annual Feast at the Shrine of Our Lady in Tuchow. The Shrine has been affiliated to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

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The week-long celebration in honour of Our Lady of Tuchow ended on Sunday, July 7. Among the distinguished guests who visited the Shrine was Msgr Andrzej Jeż, Bishop of the Tarnów diocese, who presided over the solemn Mass on the last day of the celebrations. On this day, the act of affiliation of the Tuchow Basilica Minor to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome was performed. From now on, our Tuchow Shrine will participate in all the spiritual goods of the oldest Marian shrine of the Western Catholic Church.

Bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel

In his sermon, Msgr Andrzej Jeż referred to the situation of Christianity on our continent: “Christianity was born in Asia, but grew up in Europe” – he said. The Bishop added that today, Christianity is still persecuted. This happens even on the Old Continent, although the persecution has a different face than the one we know from Africa or other parts of the globe. – “In many countries, persecution is quite hidden, in white gloves. It does not take the form of physical violence, but it is rather a cultural suppression of religion,” he stated.

The Bishop of Tarnów noted that to prevent this, true Christians of flesh and blood are needed, who will take a sure path to salvation and stop being lukewarm and half-hearted.

Christian contribution to the culture

Msgr Jeż also referred to the excellent fruits that Christianity has brought to Europe: “We have been told that we must be ashamed of being Christian, Catholic, but after all, Catholicism has contributed so much to science, culture, society! We are here where we are – with technology, science, art, etc. – precisely because of Christianity. We should not be ashamed; we should be proud and pass this heritage on to the next generations,” he said.

In his homily, Bishop Andrzej recalled the need for respect towards women and children: “Men should, also out of respect for the Mother of God, appreciate, respect and support women. They must not treat them in an object-like manner; they must not exploit them.” The Bishop said we need to be reminded today of the Christian view of motherhood—a child is seen in today’s society as an enemy, a problem, a threat, whereas once it was a blessing!”

Prayer for those who support the evangelising mission

The week-long celebration ended with the Eucharist at 6:30 pm, presided over by Father Dariusz Paszyński CSsR, the Provincial Superior of the Warsaw Province of the Redemptorists. He prayed for the collaborators and benefactors of the Tuchów Monastery and Shrine and the Redemptorist Major Seminary.

Mary supports us on our journey of faith

In his homily, Fr Paszynski quoted some thoughts of St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori about Mary and trust in her: ” The devil, like a roaring lion, prowls around looking for whom to devour, while Mary prowls around looking for whom to save”. Father Provincial, quoting the founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, added that Mary hears requests and anticipates them, asking for the graces people need. “However, apart from trusting – something else is needed, and this is what St Alphonsus was talking about – one has to make a promise to Our Lady, need to desire to change, to improve,” Fr Dariusz reminded.

After the Holy Mass, there was a final Eucharistic procession to the basilica, where the Marian devotion took place. In the end, the Shrine Brass Band played its concert.

The annual feast of the Tuchow Shrine – summary

The Feast of Our Lady of Tuchów is celebrated every year at the end of June and the beginning of July, close to the liturgical feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (July 2). This year, the celebration occurred from June 29 to July 7 under the theme “Mary is present in the Church!” We also celebrated the 120th anniversary of the coronation of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Tuchów.

During these nine days, many pilgrims from the Diocese of Tarnów, other dioceses, and even beyond Poland’s borders came to the Sanctuary in Tuchow. About five thousand pilgrims organised into groups were registered; more than 42 thousand Holy Communions were distributed. Thousands of the faithful experienced God’s mercy in the sacrament of Penance.

A day filled with prayer and celebration

Each day began with the exposition of the Miraculous Picture of Our Lady of Tuchov, followed by Holy Mass. Five Eucharists were celebrated daily, two of which – the indulgenced feast summit at 11.00 am and the evening liturgy at 6.30 pm – ended with a Eucharistic procession around the basilica. Pilgrims were able to participate in numerous devotions during the day: after the first Mass, the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was sung, in the afternoon the Chaplet of Divine Mercy was recited, and the rosary was prayed on the rosary paths. Before 9 am, prayers for vocations were led and animated by members of various institutes of consecrated life from Tuchow and the surrounding area. At 6 pm, we prayed Marian Vespers; on Tuesday, we had the service to St Gerard, protector of mothers and patron of good confession, and on Wednesday – as always – the Perpetual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The basilica courtyard resounded with music and singing

After the evening Eucharist, the so-called ‘Marian Evening’ took place, with performances by a combination of choirs and ensembles (the Redemptorist Brothers, the ‘Sunday Quartet’, the Oratory Choir ‘Paradiso’ and the Sanctuary Liturgical Schola, the Sanctuary Brass Band from Tuchów and the Sanctuary Choir). One evening, animated by the band “Tehilach” from Krakow, culminated with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. On Thursday, July 4, the youth vigil of the “Inner Way” series was held under the motto “Trust—the beginning of every relationship.” The conference and adoration were followed by the Eucharist for the young people gathered in the square.

The Shrine opens to pilgrims from near and far

This year, for probably the first time in history, the annual feast in Tuchow gathered several organized pilgrim groups belonging to postconciliar movements and communities in the Church, such as the Renewal in the Holy Spirit, School of the New Evangelisation, Neocatechumenate, and men’s prayer communities (Men’s Rosary, Warriors of Mary, and Men of St Joseph).
Among the pilgrims who came to Tuchów were bishops and archbishops from several dioceses in Poland: Msgr. Andrzej Jeż, Msgr. Leszek Leszkiewicz and Msgr. Stanisław Salaterski (Tarnow), Msgr. Wacław Depo (Częstochowa), Msgr. Adrian Galbas (Katowice), Msgr. Stanisław Budzik (Lublin), Msgr. Jan Piotrowski (Kielce), Msgr. Janusz Mastalski (Cracow), Msgr. Ignacy Dec (bishop emeritus). From abroad came Msgr. András Veres, Bishop of the Diocese of Győr and President of the Hungarian Episcopal Conference. The Major Superiors of the Religious Provinces also came: Fr Dariusz Paszyński CSsR – Provincial of the Warsaw Province of the Redemptorists, Fr Krzysztof Bobak OFM – Provincial Minister of the Province of Our Lady of the Angels of the Friars Minor and Fr Jarosław Paszyński SJ – Provincial of the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus.

The Shrine affiliated with the Roman Basilica

A significant event was the affiliation of our Shrine to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. This means that plenary indulgences will be granted at the Sanctuary of Our Lady in Tuchów on the following days:

  1. on the patronal feast of the Papal Basilica of Our Lady Major (August 5);
  2. on the patronal feast of the affiliated church;
  3. on all solemnities of Our Lady;
  4. once a year, at the discretion of each faithful;
  5. whenever the faithful arrive as a group for a service in the affiliated church.

Bishop Andrzej Jeż proclaimed the affiliation during the solemn Mass at 11 am on the last day of the Feast of the Madonna of Tuchów.

Br. Kacper Grabowski CSsR,
photo: p. Krzysztof Jasiński, Mr Paweł Stańczyk, Br Kacper Grabowski CSsR

(redemptor.pl)