Wrocław Walking Pilgrimage, Poland

<Religious Destinations

Wrocław Walking Pilgrimage – an annual walking pilgrimage from Wrocław to Jasna Góra held in August. It leaves Wrocław in August and after nine days of walking approximately 230 kilometers enters Częstochowa.

History

Wrocław’s Archbishop Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz decided to create the Wrocław Walking Pilgrimage to Jasna Góra in 1981. Before this occurred, groups of pilgrims from Wrocław had already been walking to Jasna Góra since 1956. Between 1977 and 1980 many inhabitants of Wrocław participated in the Warsaw Pilgrimage to Jasna Góra. The Rev. Stanisław Orzechowski, who was responsible for pastoral ministry to university students of the Wawrzyny community, and the Rev. Andrzej Dziełak, minister of the CODA student ministry group, were formally invited to organize this “walking retreat” for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Wrocław. They organized the first “pilgrimage bureaus”, which gathered people and necessary equipment as well as disseminated relevant information to parishes.

The first pilgrimages experienced huge difficulties because of a lack of experience as well as new laws and surveillance by the Communist government’s intelligence agency, the Służba Bezpieczeństwa.

The first Wrocław Walking Pilgrimage modeled itself with regards to organizational issues after the Warsaw Walking Pilgrimage. Gradually, however, the Wrocław Walking Pilgrimage worked out its own style and organization, which allowed it greater independence.

Structure

Each year, the pilgrimage begins on August 2.  Pilgrims sleep in tents. Only the sick and elderly are allowed to sleep indoors.

The pilgrims primarily travel across villages, forests, and rural roads. The pilgrimage covers approximately 230 km. It is divided into nine phases.  Below is a list of the places of the pilgrimage route:

Wrocław – Trzebnica Pielgrzymka Wrocławska
Trzebnica – Oleśnica
Oleśnica – Wilków
Wilków – Włochy
Włochy – Kluczbork
Kluczbork – Borki Małe
Borki Małe – Borki Wielkie
Borki Wielkie – Puszczew / Węglowice
Puszczew / Węglowice – Częstochowa Zacisze

The epilogue of the pilgrimage is an annual one-day autumn pilgrimage to Trzebnica to the Sanctuary of St. Hedwig of Andechs, the patron saint of Lower Silesia. The autumn pilgrimage also celebrates the election of John Paul II to the Papacy on October 16, 1978.

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