Fraters Juancho Castañeda Rojas and Justin Krenke are traveling with a group from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston to World Youth Day in Poland. Periodically they and others in the group, will share their experiences. From their first days in Poland Fraters Juancho and Justin write:
First Day in Warsaw
As we continue our pilgrimage in Warsaw, we had the amazing experience to visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum where he had the chance to learn about the history and the rebirth of a nation after WWII. As the tour guide said to us: “after this tour you will have a better appreciation for the architecture of the entire city but especially the old part of the city.” She was right!! Everybody had the same experience of amazement during our walk through the old part of the city after learning about the destruction and suffering the people of Warsaw went through. During our walk through the Old City we met a group from Hong Kong also going to World Youth Day and took some pics with them.
What an amazing experience visiting the Queen of Poland, The Black Madonna of Czestochowa at the Jasna Gora Monastery. It was a four-hour drive from Warsaw to Jasna Gora, and our driver Christofer made this drive very enjoyable. Once there we all were amazed by the size and beauty of the Monastery and the amount of people there… also we met some people who will participate in the World Youth Day from Mexico and we met again our friends from Hong Kong. We had a very exciting tour through the history and beauty of the monastery which is built as a fortress to keep safe the invaluable art work surrounding the Icon of the Black Madonna. We learned how important she is to the faith of the people of Poland because as our tour guide said: “the difference between the Black Madonna and other Marian shrines or devotions is that in comparison to places like Lourdes, Fatima, and Our Lady of Guadalupe no apparition took place here, it is just the people’s faith that makes this devotion.” We had time to pray in front of the Icon of the Black Madonna and be witnesses of this beautiful devotion from all the visitors. Another meaningful experience for us was to visit the chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We elevated our prayers by lighting a candle there. After our visit we had very good Polish food at the Hotel Gorski, no relation to our Mary LOL…
Fraters Justin and Juancho