‘Black Madonna,’ symbol of defending life, to make stops

A replica of the ‘Black Madonna’ icon will make stops in Iowa City, Dyersville and Rock Island, Ill. next month.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — In a traditional religious ceremony, hundreds of Catholics are expected to take part in welcoming the “Black Madonna,” an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, to Sacred Heart Church on April 8 at 7 p.m. and St. Mary Church on April 9 at 7:30 a.m.
The Madonna also will be at St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Church in Iowa City on April 4 at 7 p.m. and the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville from April 5-6.
According to Pam Swim of Rock Island, the icon, a replica of the famous “Black Madonna” of Czestochowa, has traveled from the Pacific coast of Russia, throughout Europe, and to the United States. It has been seen by millions of Catholic and Orthodox faithful.
Human Life International (HLI) is sponsoring the Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage of the Black Madonna.
“This pilgrimage is intended to awaken the faithful about the urgency of defending life from the moment of conception,” said Father Peter West, vice president of HLI and chairman of the pilgrimage committee. “Hundreds of thousands, in venerating the image, have recommitted to restoring a culture of life, while hosting discussions, lectures and contests around the visitation of the icon. Truly, our Blessed Mother, as Mediatrix of all grace, is interceding on our behalf with her Son, the Lord of Life, and we will see a return to respect for life and family.”
“We are so very blessed to welcome the icon to our Quad-City community and we pray that the event of the icon’s visit here will be a moment of renewal … will strengthen our local efforts to proclaim the truth of the sacred character of human life from conception to natural death in every condition of need or dependence at all stages of development,” said Father Jerry Logan, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Mary parishes.
In addition to a special right of welcoming for the icon on April 8, Fr. West will also offer Mass and a holy hour beginning at 7 p.m. The icon will be at St. Mary’s for Mass April 9 at 7:30 a.m.
This event is free and open to the public. Voluntary donations to support the pilgrimage will be accepted.
For photos and more information on Human Life International’s Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage, visit www.hli.org/oceantoocean. For more information contact Pam Swim, (309) 786-3097 or rpswim@mchsi.com.

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