A mass celebrated on Saturday, September 15, by Archbishop of Bratislava-Trnava Ján Sokol at the Basilica of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Šaštín-Stráže (Trnava region) was the culmination of events to mark the Roman Catholic feast day of Slovakia's patron saint - the Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows.
The mass was attended by bishops, priests and thousands of worshipers, along with representatives of the President's Office, the Government and Parliament.
The Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows was proclaimed Slovakia's patron saint by the Holy See in 1927, and her feast day, September 15, has been a national holiday since 1994. Šaštín has had a strong tradition of veneration for the Virgin Mary, with pilgrimages to her statue here dating back to 1564, when Angelika Bakič, the wife of Count Imrich Czobor, had the image built in gratitude for an answered prayer. In 1764, a new shrine to hold the statue was consecrated, with Austrian Empress Maria Theresa in attendance.
The Seven Sorrows refer to the following events in the Bible and Catholic tradition: Simeon's prophecy foretelling the fate of Mary's son; the flight to Egypt; the loss of the 12-year-old Jesus when he ran away to sit in the temple; the meeting with Jesus on the way to Calvary; the crucifixion; the delivery of Jesus' body into Mary’s arms; and his burial. In 1964, Pope Paul VI upgraded the national sanctuary in Šaštín to a Basilica Minor, making it the first basilica in Slovakia. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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18. Sep 2007 at 7:00