What a weekend for Poland!


Friday, Our Lady of Czestochowa was given a new decor.


Tens of thousands of Roman Catholics gathered at Poland's holiest shrine Friday to pray as the revered Black Madonna of Czestochowa icon was given a new covering, including gold crowns donated by the late Pope John Paul II, as well as amber and diamonds.

The Polish-born pontiff's secretary, the Rev. Stanislaw Dziwisz, presided over a Mass and other ceremonies at the Jasna Gora shrine in the southern city of Czestochowa. In attendance were dozens of church leaders, including Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Germany, Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit and Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston.

Dziwisz and Poland's primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, blessed golden crowns from John Paul, who died April 2, on the head of the icon's image of the Virgin Mary and on the image of the baby Jesus.

Church leaders also placed a 20-pound panel of amber decorated with nearly 1,000 diamonds on the painting. The covering — commonly called a "dress" — leaves only the faces of Mary and Jesus and their crowns visible beneath the screen.

By placing the crowns on the icon, we were able "in a way to fulfill the last will, the testament of Pope John Paul the Great," Dziwisz said.

The artist who created the amber-and-diamond panel, Mariusz Drapikowski, said he wanted to thank the Virgin Mary for the pontificate of John Paul II and for the Solidarity movement, which toppled the communist government in 1989-90.

More than 100,000 people gathered on a field outside the packed church for the ceremony, according to the monastery's Web site.


To top it off, on Saturday, Archbishop Dziwisz was installed as Archbishop of Krakow.


Pope Benedict XVI, who appointed Stanislaw Dziwisz to lead the important diocese in June, described him as "the best person to hold this position" in a papal bull read out by Rev. Jan Zajac during a ceremony in Wawel Castle cathedral.

"By now, the faithful have come to know your responsibility and dedication and I am sure they will be obedient to you," the bull said.

Dressed in a white-and-gold robe and miter, Dziwisz walked in a procession to St. Mary's church, surrounded by hundreds of priests and bishops in white robes, nuns and city officials. He held a silver-and-gilded staff given to Karol Wojtyla — the future John Paul — when he became archbishop of Krakow in 1958.

Dziwisz blessed the crowds as he walked through the city, smiling as he repeatedly made the sign of the cross. Tens of thousands of people who lined the streets under the scorching sun responded with applause and shouts of "Bravo!"

Yahoo has more great pics of both events.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on August 27, 2005 3:47 PM.

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