The parishes of The Willows, St Joseph’s, Wesham, and St Mary’s, Cleator, recently joined together for a journey of discovery and devotion in Poland, where they ‘walked in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II’ with the intention of taking inspiration from his life and teachings.
Father Manny and Father John, Curate at St Mary’s, led the trip, which visited sites of significance relating to the life of Pope John Paul, as well as making pilgrimage to a number of important shrines and holy places.
The group spent four nights in Krakow and visited Wadowice, the town of Pope John Paul’s birth, and visited the church in Wadowice where the Pope was baptised. The church in Wadowice houses a beautiful icon of Mary, which the young John Paul frequently visited for prayer before going to school.
Pope John Paul also often made pilgrimages to The Shrine to Our lady of Czestochowa and so the group travelled to Jasna Gora Monastery to see the Magnificent Icon of Our Lady Queen of Poland, which receives five million visitors each year.
A visit was made to the convent of Sr. Faustina, the saint canonised by Pope John Paul. The visions of Sr. Faustina were the source of the devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Pope John Paul was Archbishop of Krakow, and so our travellers prayed in the chapel in the crypt of the cathedral where, as a newly ordained priest, the Pope celebrated his first Mass.
Father Manny comments: “Everywhere we went we were inspired by the fervour and faith of the people. We witnessed many young people praying intently in the beautiful Churches, and were struck also by the presence of so many young priests and seminarians. The experience strengthened and renewed the faith of the whole group, and proved an ideal way to begin the Year of Faith“.
A selection of photographs of the trip is provided below. A full set of photographs can be accessed here.