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Pilgrimage draws thousands to Šaštín

MORE THAN 50,000 people gathered at the National Pilgrimage on the Feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, the patron saint of Slovakia, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Šaštín (Trnava Region) on September 15. They were transported by two trains, more than 250 buses, but some also came by foot.

MORE THAN 50,000 people gathered at the National Pilgrimage on the Feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, the patron saint of Slovakia, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Šaštín (Trnava Region) on September 15. They were transported by two trains, more than 250 buses, but some also came by foot.

“This year there were many pilgrimages; in Šaštín we reported 316 registered pilgrimages and 54,421 pilgrims by the end of August,” said Ján Čverčko, administrator of the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that this is a 400-percent increase.

The September 15 pilgrimage included a mass celebrated by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, who stressed that Slovakia is remembering the 450th anniversary of paying homage to Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows by pilgrimages to Šaštín.

“We have come to plead for spiritual restoration and power to put up with the hardship of life with respect to personal and national sins,” Tomko said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Let’s not forget that the battle between good and evil continues in our hearts and outside of us.”

Bratislava Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský welcomed Apostolic Nuncio to Slovakia Mario Giordana to the ceremony, who extended greetings from Pope Francis and an apostolic blessing imparted by the Pope. Bishops from Slovakia and the Czech Republic as well as Slovak President Andrej Kiska and a number of MPs attended the Holy Mass.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows is a reminder that the Virgin Mary was proclaimed patron saint of Slovakia by the Holy See in 1927. The long tradition of Slovaks worshipping the Virgin Mary is well-documented by the existence of many paintings and sculptures where Our Lady is featured either alone or in company. Also, numerous churches consecrated to Our Lady of Seven Sorrows can be found all around the country, TASR wrote.

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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