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December 11. 2013 9:56PM

'Black Madonna' icon Masses in Manchester

MANCHESTER — Hundreds of Christians are expected to welcome the Black Madonna, an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Poland, to Saint Joseph Cathedral Dec. 14-15 and to Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church on Monday, Dec. 16.

The icon, a replica of the famous "Black Madonna" of Czestochowa, has traveled more than 40,000 miles from the Pacific coast of Russia, throughout Europe, and has been seen and venerated by millions of Catholic and Orthodox faithful.

The Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage, an unprecedented effort for the international pro-life movement, is being presented by Human Life International, the world's largest grassroots pro-life organization, whose European leaders launched the pilgrimage in the summer of 2012.

Eventually, the icon will continue throughout the Southern Hemisphere before returning to Poland, where it was blessed by the bishop of Czestochowa.

"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.

A Holy Mass and public procession for the icon will be held at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukranian Catholic Church, 54 Walnut St. in Manchester.

The Mass will be celebrated with the organization, Helpers of God's Precious Infants. After Mass there will be a public procession to Planned Parenthood on 24 Penacook St.

The icon will be displayed at the celebration of Masses at St. Joseph's Cathedral, 145 Lowell St., Manchester, on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

On Monday, the icon will arrive at Our Lady of the Cedars Church, 140 Mitchell St., Manchester, at 11 a.m. The icon will be displayed there for the service of Akathist at noon and 3 p.m., and for a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 7 p.m.


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