Our Lady of Three Rivers - Matka Boska z Trzy Rzeki
Our Lady of Częstochowa, the Black Madonna (Czarna Madonna), is venerated by Polish people throughout the world. She is the Queen and Protectress of Poland.
Legend has it that her image was painted by St. Luke on the table of the Holy Family. In 326 A.D., the painting was found in Jerusalem by St. Helena. After changing hands several times, Our Lady came to Poland. Since 1384, Our Lady's image has been venerated at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland. Jasna Góra is the largest Marian shrine in Poland and the third largest Marian shrine in Europe, after Fatima and Lourdes.
In 1975, Fr. Robert Ceckowski, then-pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, announced his plans to install an icon and a painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa at Mary's altar within our church. Fr. Ceckowski saw the installation of this altar as a way of bringing a visit to Częstochowa to the people our parish, many of whom grew up in Poland, but never visited (or ever would visit) Jasna Góra Monastery.
Fr. Ceckowski commissioned a Polish artist to fashion the icon and painting of Our Lady. Before these images made their way from Poland to our church, they were blessed by Venerable Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw, and Primate of Poland. Cardinal Wyszyński blessed the icon and painting of Our Lady, as well as a painting of St. Maximilian Kolbe (which is now displayed in the Kolbe Chapel in the lower level of our church).
In 1976, Our Lady's altar was built and the icon and painting were installed. The formal unveiling and dedication of the Our Lady of Częstochowa altar took place on May 23rd, 1976. Since then, Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, has continued to shower down abundant blessings upon our parish. Her altar is decorated beautifully especially for Marian feasts, and her icon is exposed every Saturday morning for the votive Mass of Our Lady.
1976: Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, above, blesses the Our Lady of Częstochowa icon, O.L. Częstochowa painting, and portrait of St. Maximillian Kolbe before their shipment to Sts. Peter and Paul Church.
May 23, 1976: Eight elderly parishioners were honored to participate in the formal unveiling ceremony of the altar of Our Lady of Częstochowa. These included: Mrs. Agata Frydryk, Mrs. Franciszka Bukowska, Mrs. Teofila Kostrzeba, Mrs. Józefa Gryszówka, Mr. Feliks Misiaszek, Mr. Władysław Gruszczyński, Mr. Antoni Kempesty, and Mr. Wojciech Wójtowicz.
1976: The shrine of "Our Lady of Three Rivers" with the icon exposed.