– There are 900 priests and almost 100 seminarians in the Archdiocese of Czestochowa. But the people of this Polish diocese are praying that more young men will answer a call to the priesthood. This summer, their priests have taken those prayers to the streets.
“The prayer of priestly hearts and feet for vocations” is a prayer pilgrimage chain- a kind of pilgrimage relay- through the parishes of the archdiocese, begun on July 16, and concluding August 20. Each day of the pilgrimage chain, priests from one deanery, or region, of the archdiocese will walk from parish to parish, while praying the rosary and fasting for vocations to the priests.
Each day’s journey is a walk of between 12 and 25 miles, according to the archdiocese, during which a priest carries a wooden cross inscribed “Jesus, I am looking for you,” along with relics of Pope St. John Paul II or St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
Lay Catholics have joined those priests who have already completed a day’s journey, walking along between towns and joining in the recitation of the rosary.
Bishop Andrzej Prsvbylski, an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, spent July 19 walking and praying for vocations.
“This is a humble pilgrimage for vocations,” the bishop said. “We want to go from church to church and pray for vocations.”
The image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also called the “Black Madonna,” is greatly revered by Poles and is a pilgrimage site for Catholics from across Europe.
In 1717, Our Lady of Czestochowa was crowned Queen and Protector of Poland by Clement XI.
Archbishop Waclaw Depo of Czestochowa has offered a daily blessing to the pilgrimage, according to the archdiocese.