Written by ~ Fr. Bogusław Dąbrowski, OFM Conv.
July 16-17, 2022: I participated in the Bicycle Pilgrimage from New Jersey to American Czestochowa, which is located about 20 mils from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Doylestown, PA). I was there for the first time, and I also had a sentimental reason, because my grandmother’s cousin, the president of the American Episcopate and Cardinal of Philadelphia – the late +Most Rev. John Cardinal Krol contributed significantly to the construction of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Czestochowa in this place.
For the eighth time, Pawel Siek organized a bicycle pilgrimage. It ran under God’s care, that is, there were no accidents and other bad adventures, with the small exception of when it rained abundantly at night and several tents were flooded and several participants “floated on mattresses.” However, this experience had a penitential dimension and did not change the joyful atmosphere.
Our pilgrimage was attended by 20 men from the group of St. Joseph. The oldest participant in our group was 62 years old, and the youngest 18 years old. We traveled about 180 kilometers in two days. After each stage, which was an average of 20 mils, we prayed the rosary, and at 3 pm the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. At the end of the prayers, I spoke about mini-spiritual conferences, supplementing them with short examples from my missionary experiences in Uganda. Finally, several participants asked for the sacrament of Penance.
Before Our Lady Shrine, we joined a bicycle pilgrimage that came from Boston (over 350 mils) and together we entered American Czestochowa on Sunday at 11.30 am. We were welcomed by the superior of the Pauline Monastery, Father Marcin Ćwierz, OSPPE. He said, among other things, that he is glad that the pilgrimage movement to Czestochowa is returning after the pandemic. We participated in the Eucharist at midday, which was also attended by motorcyclists from Chicago. The sermon was about Saint Christopher the patron saint of travelers. After the Holy Mass, all vehicles were blessed. The atmosphere on the pilgrimage was joyful and there was kindness and understanding among the participants of the spiritual purpose of the pilgrimage.