WEST HARTFORD – Children were among more than 100 Catholics who welcomed the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa to the Archdiocese of Hartford with a Mass celebrated Dec. 18 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.
Members of several Children’s Rosary groups and Knights of Columbus from West Hartford led the opening procession, during which the 75-pound icon was carried into the church. Following the procession, children led those gathered in reciting the rosary before the Mass that was celebrated by Father Peter West, vice president of Human Life International, who is traveling across the United States with the icon.
The Children’s Rosary is a lay prayer movement for children that was started at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in 2011. Currently, there are more than 40 Children’s Rosary groups across the United States and around the world.
This was one of several stops within the archdiocese that the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa made during its journey that began in Russia last summer. The icon, also called the Black Madonna, has traveled more than 40,000 miles and has been venerated by Orthodox Christian and Catholics throughout 27 countries.
The icon is a copy of an original that is believed to have been painted by Saint Luke on cypress wood that was the top of a table used by the Holy Family and was perhaps made by the carpenter Saint Joseph or even Jesus. Several legends about the icon offer theories about the coloring of Mary and the Christ child in the image. Some say the original icon was charred in a church fire, while others believe soot from candles burning near the image over the centuries darkened the paint pigments. Still others believe Mary was painted to reflect her heritage, while others attribute the hues to a painting style used in the era it was created.
“Those present at St. Thomas were moved by this beautiful icon of Our Lady,” said Blythe Kaufman, founder of the Children’s Rosary. “It was a wonderful evening of coming together in prayer with our Blessed Mother.”
For more information about future sites the icon will visit, go to www.fromoceantoocean.org.
Information about starting a Children’s Rosary group is available at www.childrensrosary.blogspot.com.