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The Call of Jasna Gora: A daily Polish tradition

Lady of Częstochowa

Grabowski Foto | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 08/26/21

Many Poles pause at 9:00 p.m. every day to declare their love of Our Lady of Częstochowa.

In Poland, and throughout the world where Poles are gathered, there is a tradition of pausing at 9:00 p.m. each day to declare one’s love of the Virgin Mary, specifically under her title of Our Lady, Queen of Poland.

It is called in English, “the Call of Jasna Gora,” or in Polish, “Apel Jasnogórski.”

The basic text of this prayer in English is as follows.

Mary, Queen of Poland,
I am close to you, I remember you,
I keep watch.

The exact origins of this prayer have many influences, and Aleteia’s Polish Edition explains the sources in an article by Eryk Łażewski.

What is certain is that this daily prayer to the Virgin Mary gained more popularity as an appeal to free Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.

According to the Marian Library Newsletter, the prayer was recited during his imprisonment.

During the Communist occupation, when the primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski was imprisoned by the Communists in 1954, the custom arose of a short prayer at 9:00 p.m. Each evening since 1954 crowds gather in the chapel for this service of prayer known as the “Call of Jasna Gora.”

After Wyszynski was freed, the daily appeal remained a staple of Polish piety.

St. John Paul II reflected on the prayer during a visit to Jasna Gora in 1979.

How greatly these words correspond to the invitation which we hear so often in the Gospel: “Be watchful“! By answering this invitation of Christ himself we desire today, as every evening at the hour of the call of Jasna Gora, to say to Mary: “Mary, Queen of Poland, I am close to you, I remember you, I watch”.

To be watchful and to remember in this way is to stand next to Mary. I am close to you! I cannot be close to you, to Our Lady of Jasna Gora, unless I am watchful and I remember in this way. If I watch and I remember, then I am close to her. And because she has so penetrated into our hearts it is easier for us to be watchful and remember what is our heritage and our duty, standing next to Mary. “I am near you.”

John Paul II desired that this daily prayer be a tradition practiced in every Polish family.

The call of Jasna Gora has not ceased to be our prayer and our program! The prayer program of all! May it be in particular the prayer and the program of Polish families!

The prayer has been adapted into various songs and hymns, and continues to be a daily part of the prayer schedule at the Jasna Gora Shrine in Poland.

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