Random Religious Procession

Six out of seven of the countries that we have been posted to have been Catholic to varying degrees. But none of the others can compare to Poland in this regard. This country is really, really Catholic.

The Catholic church has always played a large role in Poland’s history, as it has elsewhere in Europe. However, Poland used to be much more diverse, with a large population of Jews and Protestants. Today, after the Holocaust and flight of any remaining Jews from the country during WWII, as well as the expulsion of the German Lutheran population after the war, there are simply no significant numbers of any other religion left.

The dissenting role of of the church under communism further cemented the loyalty of a couple of generations of Poles to the church. To be Polish is to be Catholic, for at least 90 percent of the population.

They really mean it, too. Though declining, rates of church attendance are still very high. I regularly see nuns and monks in traditional clothing on the streets. The churches have worshippers in them all the time—and spilling out of the front doorways on the many days that have religious significance for one reason or another. Though I am not Catholic (and could never be Catholic, because I have some major problems with church doctrine) I do appreciate that Polish people are so sincere about their religion. They really walk the walk.

And speaking of walking, sometimes I run into a random religious procession! If not actually official, then officially sanctioned, as demonstrated by a considerable police presence, the shutting down of a major thoroughfare, and the diversion of many buses.

Of course, it wasn’t really random. I am sure there is some reason for it, I just couldn’t find one in English. If this is a holy day, Google doesn’t know about it. According to one source, this is the “procession of the holy painting.” Well, OK, then.

procession (1 of 9)
The banner reads “Queen Goes to Parliament.” And this road, through Nowy Swiat, does indeed lead to Parliament. Note the cool, swashbuckling outfits on the guys in the lead. I have no idea if they are priests or just really lucky.

procession (2 of 9)
I believe this may be the painting in question. Followed by the Polish national flag. Emphasizing, one supposes that Polish = Catholic.
procession (8 of 9)
Not a painting, but a large poster of the Virgin Mary as Queen.
procession (7 of 9)
More banners saying “Rule us Christ.”
procession (6 of 9)
Behind all the men, the women and children, of course. Everyone was chanting a call-and-response kind of thing.
procession (5 of 9)
More banners and a statue of the Virgin Mary. This was a really loooong procession. I never saw the end of it!

One comment

  1. Kelly, I enjoyed and apprediated this post very much. Wonderful to have all this first-hand info. love, Nanny


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