May is approaching, a month dedicated to the Mother of God. It's time to take a moment to look at Mary's journey through the world in Her copy of the Czestochowa Icon for the protection of the civilization of life.
Safe in Quito
The global coronavirus pandemic stopped everything, but Our Lady chose a safe place to wait out this crisis. She is still in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
Renovation is done!
Maintenance has already been performed. We are waiting for documentation. So you can say that Our Lady managed to visit the beautician before all beauty salons were closed due to an epidemic :) These conservation treatments were very much needed. Travel, hot equatorial, humid climate and being touched by many people are very dangerous for an icon. We were most afraid that the mold would attack the substrate, and yet the whole thing is made using only organic and mineral ingredients. Now the Icon has regained its splendor, but it is still under the care of the conservator, as no further journey can be continued at this time.
Turned over plans
This spring we planned Our Lady to visit the Galapagos Islands. The local bishop was very excited about this visit. Preparations were underway. The coronavirus, however, thwarted these plans. Colombia also has to wait.
The epidemic in Ecuador has reached its zenith
The virus was probably brought by fans from the match in Mexico. The authorities did not immediately appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Guayaquil was the worst. It is a large port city, the largest and richest in Ecuador. There is also a lot of poverty and slums around the alleys. People got sick and died in the streets. It got to the point where there was no one to pick up the dead, so the corpse was lying on the roads. Authorities introduced a curfew and strict isolation orders. Literally everything has come to a stop!!
What about our friends?
Veronica Vernaza, who has been an assistant and translator of Our Lady in Spanish-speaking countries for several years, works in a large school. Her parents went to the seaside for the weekend and were stuck there. She was left at home alone and did not know how and what to do. Literally at the last moment, determined, she got into the car and joined them. It was a good decision, because at the ocean the risk is much lower. Together, it is also easier to survive it all.
Fr. Leon with Veronica on the way with the Icon to WYD in Panama
The catastrophe of Fr. Leon!
Fr. Leon, who is the pastor of a large parish in the city of Santo Domingo, is stuck in the rectory. All he could do was go out to the poorly stocked grocery store across the street. Besides, he had to stay home. He claimed that it was a time of reflection and retreat for him, because he did not have time for anything on a daily basis. He is taking care of a school that has closed, which causes a lot of problems. Teachers' salaries have to be paid and somehow make ends meet. His optimism was enough for him until the thieves broke into the deserted school. The alarms and the security company didn't help. Professionals did it. They cut off the electricity and waited for the alarms to stop working. They took all the computers out of the school, all the equipment of the computer lab, for which Fr. Leon has been saving for years.
Preparations for further journey
The pandemic will fade over time, and we are already preparing to continue our journey with the Icon. Ahead of us is the Galapagos Islands, about which a lot has been said, but the expedition is still ahead of us. The pandemic is causing a great crisis in tourism, and the people there mainly make a living from it. The Icon's visit may inspire hope and be an impulse for activation.
Colombia is also waiting in line
There, everything was almost agreed in the summer of 2018. However, time is passing by, the Latin Americans are in no hurry and many contacts need to be renewed. We are hopeful, although the coronavirus is also raging in Colombia for the time being. During forced isolation, when people have to stay indoors, they have more time, and this is a good time to talk and plan.
Big victory in Brazil!
Our friends in Brazil are happy that they have managed to obtain a Supreme Court decision banning the abortion of children suspected of having small brain deformities because the mother was infected with the Zika virus. On Friday night, Talmir called to share this joy with us.
New YouTube Channel!
We, too, have to stay at home. So I used this time to go back to the origins and tell many amazing stories and adventures that I had the opportunity to experience while preparing this great pilgrimage through the world. Many people ask, what was it like? How did you come to that? How it all started. As a rule, there is no time for those stories. And few of these situations found their way to the media, because when doing something in the East, one should not boast, so that our work and contacts would not be blocked. It all started in the East, so at the beginning I am talking about these adventures. The second series will be devoted to the secrets of iconography and the creation of the pilgrim Icon. The third series - events from different countries during the peregrination. So there is a lot to tell! Unfortunately, it will only be in Polish.
Ewa H. Kowalewska - international coordinator of the "From Ocean to Ocean" peregrination