“Opieki” – Virgin Mary in my life

In front of the holy picture of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn almost everybody bows down. Photograph by Marian Paluszkiewicz

Traditionally, as every year on 11th-18th November in Vilnius in the Gate of Dawn the services called “Opieki” of Our Lady of Mercy start (Opieki, pl. of opieka which means protection). This year they begin on 11th November and they will last through the whole octave up to 18th November. 

Obviously, every parent remembers that the first clearly articulated word which their child said was the word “mama”. It was our mother to whom we ran when we got hurt or hit. She hugged us, bandaged wounds and wiped away tears. There is nothing surprising about that. She carried the baby so the biological and spiritual contact between them is extremely tight.

But why is the Mother of God also our Mother? Because when Jesus was dying on the cross, he gave us his Mother Mary and entrusted her humankind all over the world, as he said to John: “Behold, your Mother”. Those words meant that Mary is a Mother of us all. That is why she is so dear to us and we all want to cling on to her.

Once again we have Her feast in the calendar. Once again the cult of Virgin Mary revives. In the Catholic calendar the majority of feasts are dedicated to the Mother of God. Also, the greatest part of songs and prayers is dedicated to Her. There are three very important periods devoted to Mary in our country. This is May when we have May services, October – rosary services and November – “Opieki” of Our Lady of Mercy in the Gate of Dawn. During those periods every catholic, even a cold one, turns to Her. Each of us have a very intimate relation with Her and we have our own preferences when it comes to different Marian services and prayers. Everyone has a room for Her in our hearts.

This time we traced people who maybe have not experienced miracles through the Mother of God but they have experienced great graces.

Mary – a Vilnius woman, a construction painter by profession.

I remember when we lived in one of the villages near Vilnius. We turned on an electric samovar to boil the water. We all forgot about it and we left home for a couple of hours. When we returned, we saw that the samovar was all black. It could have burn the house. When the tragedy was about to happen, suddenly, there was a failure in the power supply and we lost electricity for a few hours. At first, we did not understand what had happened. Our mum somehow knew and she instantly ran towards the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, which we all worshipped, and she kissed it. From that moment we believed that our house survived thanks to the Mother of God.

During the service “Opieki”, church cannot hold all the faithful. Photograph by Marian Paluszkiewicz  

Fate would have it, I have recently made a pilgrimage to Lourdes and I had an opportunity to thank the Mother of God for the miracle and ask Her for protection of my family. Since that moment in my childhood, the Mother of God is my first Advocate to whom I turn in joy and sorrow.

Josephine – a Vilnius woman, a pensioner.

I think that I sucked with my mother’s milk that great love and respect for the Virgin Mary. The figure of Mary was always in the first place in my home. It does not mean that our life was all roses, no. There were a lot of “thorns” but we somehow got through them safely.

I remember well that I used to go to the Gate of Dawn on every Marian feast. Every month, every 16th day, on the day of Her Mercy, I go there to thank for all and to ask for grace.

Recently, I have experienced probably the greatest pain in my life as I had to bury my only daughter. She was very young. She fell ill with an incurable disease – cancer. Doctors did everything in their power, I heartily prayed to the Mother of God for a miracle. In spring this year, I learned that there is nothing more doctors can do because the disease attacked almost the entire body. Then I started to ask Mary to spare my child that severe pain which usually accompanies the disease.

At some point, doctors suggested morphine but my daughter that she felt no pain. Nobody could not believe that, even me. I saw my daughter fading slowly away day by day, but she was still smiling and she did not complain of any pain. A priest came in the evening and administered all the necessary sacraments to her. The next day, in the early morning, a smile appeared on her face and she went to the Lord’s House. It was October then, a Marian month. I thank God that I could endure that much. It is the most terrible thing that may happen to a mother – to lost her child. I thank the Mother of God that the death of my daughter was light to me and I believe this was through Mary. She takes care of my child now.

Audronė – a nurse.

We lived in a little cottage in a village near Šiauliai. In our house we had a small altar and there was a statue of the Mother of God standing on it. We prayed every day in front of the statue. I was six at that time and I used to put flowers near the Mother of God. On morning I ran to a meadow to gather flowers. It was a big meadow, a huge empty space and no people around. Suddenly, I saw a big black dog running towards me. I saw his big teeth and terrifying appearance. There was no one around me and there was nowhere to hide. And then I cried: “Mary, save me!”. The dog instantly stopped and ran in a different direction. Since that day, the Mother of God is the most important Protector for me and my family in all situations.

Radosław Pazura – a famous Polish actor.

About a month ago he said to a journalist: “I most often worship Mary through the rosary. I say it every day, since I can remember, even when I am tired after work. I believe that my need to say the rosary is a gift from God and I am thankful for that. It is not true that the rosary is only for old ladies. Real men need it, too.”

A SCHEDULE OF CHURCH SERVICES DURING “OPIEKI”

10th November

13:00 – the eve of the service Opieki, an inaugural Mass in the chapel by the open window.     The mass will be celebrated by Rev. T. Jasiński.

15:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. S. Grigas and others.

17:00 – Holy Mass celebrated in the chapel.

19:00 – Holy Mass for the city of Vilnius.

11th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. W. Michajłowski.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. A. Szuszkiewicz.

13:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel by the open window. Celebrated by bishop A. Poniškaitis.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. E. Merkys.

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Franciscans.

12th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. J. Matusewicz.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. R. Pieciun.

13:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. M. Grabowski.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. O.P.P. Jachimec.

15:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. T. Jasiński.

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. W. Wołodkowicz.

13th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. H. Naumowicz.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. St. Maciukiewicz.

13:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. J. Aszkiełowicz.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. A. Barelli.

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. M. Gładki.

14th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. E. Dukiel.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. T. Aleksandrowicz.

13:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. T. Matulaniec.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. F. Boria Armada.

15:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. M. Butkiewicz.

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. M. Butkiewicz.

15th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. St. Walukiewicz.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. A. Byliński.

13:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. M. Balcewicz.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. P. Gedroić

15:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. A. Peškaitis

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. J. Latawiec.

16th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. A. Dilys.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev.  R. Kuczko.

13:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. J. Czerniawski.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. J. Czerniawski.

15:00 – Holy Mass in church in army’s presence (in Lithuanian)

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. A. Andrzejewski.

17th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. A. Bogdziewicz.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. T. Švedavičius.

13:00 – Holy Mass in church in teachers’ presence. Celebrated by Rev. W. Górlicki.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. H. F. Fischer.

15:00 – Holy Mass in church for families.

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. W. Kisiel.

18th November

6:30 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. J. Mackiewicz.

9:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. P. Chudzik.

13:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel by the open window. Celebrated by bishops of Lithuania and archbishop E. Ozorowski.

15:00 – Holy Mass in the chapel. Celebrated by Rev. Petemal.

17:00 – Holy Mass in church. Celebrated by Rev. W. Bogdziewicz.

Every day of the octave the Mass at 13:00 will be broadcasted on the radio “Znad Willi”.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2012/11/09/opieki-maryja-w-moim-zyciu/

Tłumaczenie Marta Dubiel w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Marta Dubiel the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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