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    Marches of thanksgiving for the pontificate of John Paul II to pass in many Polish cities

    On the 18th anniversary of the death of John Paul II, marches of thanksgiving for the pontificate of the Polish Pope will pass through many Polish cities today. Prayer vigils, debates, concerts and artistic performances recalling the Pope’s teachings are also planned.

    John Paul II died 18 years ago on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday on 2 April 2005 at 9.37 pm at the Vatican. He was 84 years old. This year, on the anniversary of the Pope’s death, marches of gratitude will pass through the streets of many Polish cities and prayer vigils will be held.

    Main celebrations in Wadowice

    They will begin at the Wadowice market square at 5.30 pm with a joint prayer. Half an hour later, music will sound. There will be an artistic performance entitled “No one can replace you – commemoration of St John Paul II on the anniversary of his death”, said Małgorzata Targosz-Storch of the Wadowice magistrate’s office.

    It will be possible to listen to traditional songs and religious songs associated with the Pope, including ‘Black Madonna’ and ‘Abba, Father’. The commemoration of the anniversary will culminate at 8 p.m. with a solemn Mass in the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The events in Wadowice will be attended by representatives of the highest state authorities, including Marshal of the Sejm Elzbieta Witek, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and head of the Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

    National Papal March to take place in several Polish cities

    In Warsaw, it will set off at 11.00 a.m. on 2 April from the Roman Dmowski roundabout, and then proceed along Marszałkowska and Królewska streets through Piłsudski Square to the Archcathedral Basilica of St John the Baptist on Świętojańska Street, where a mass will be held at 12.30 p.m.

    In Krakow, the marchers will follow the same route taken by the white march in May 1981 after the assassination attempt on John Paul II. It will begin at 1.30 p.m., setting off from under the John Paul II stone on 3 May Avenue. It will march along Mickiewicza Avenue, Karmelicka Street, and Szewska Street to the Main Square. During the march, excerpts from John Paul II’s homily will be played from loudspeakers. The rosary will also be recited. At 3 p.m., a solemn Mass will be celebrated at St Mary’s Basilica.

    A papal gratitude march will go through the streets of Lublin, ending with a Mass in the academic church of the Catholic University of Lublin. The event will start at 2.15 p.m. Participants will set off from the Holy Family Parish in Lublin, near the papal cross. They will walk along Filaretow, Gleboka, Sowinski, Radziszewski, Lopacinski streets to the Academic Church of the Catholic University of Lublin, where a mass is scheduled for 3.30 pm.

    In Opole, the march will start at 12.00 with a eucharist in the Franciscan Church. Afterwards, the march will proceed towards Plac Wolnosci.

    In Szczecin, the march will be inaugurated by Holy Mass at the Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at 3 p.m. After the liturgy, the faithful will set out from Zwyciestwa Square to the statue of St John Paul II on Jasne Blonia.

    In Gdansk, the March of Gratitude for St John Paul II will begin at 3 p.m. at St Mary’s Basilica and end at the Three Crosses monument at Solidarności Square.

    In Wroclaw, the march will set off at 1 p.m. from the Garrison Basilica, and at 9 p.m. a rosary prayer is planned under the stained-glass window on the square in front of the church, to be attended by Bishop Jacek Kicinski, Bishop Maciej Malyga and Bishop-designate Piotr Wawrzynek. The service will conclude at 9.37 p.m. with the singing of the ‘Barka’.

    In the Archdiocese of Poznan, on the 18th anniversary of the Pope’s death, a passion concert will be held at the parish of St John Paul II in Luboń at 16.00. At 9 p.m., there will be an expiatory Mass for the destruction of the authority and attacks on the sanctity of the Polish Pope and service for the intention of the homeland.

    In Rzeszow, the march will begin at 6.00 p.m. at the Church of St Jadwiga the Queen. Its participants will proceed to the Rzeszow Cathedral, where a eucharist will be held at 19.00. Afterwards, all will march to the statue of St John Paul II in Pope’s Park. Participants in the march are asked to bring a white item of clothing (e.g., a white headdress, scarf, cotillion or plain ribbon.

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