Day 6 Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Czestochowa and Visit to Auscwhitz-Birkenau

Today after breakfast we went to the Basilica of Our Lady of Czestochowa for Mass in one of the side chapels. Mass came to a quick end after communion as our tour guide, one of the Pauline priests from the Basilica arrived to give us a tour of the Basilica. 

The Pauline priests staff the Basilica of Our Lady of Czestochowa and were founded in the 13th century. There name is derived from the hermit Saint Paul of Thebes (died c. 345), canonized in 491 by Pope Gelasius I. 

Because our tour guide kind of came in and disrupted the end of our Mass, our pilgrimage guide, Kasia, came up to me and said, "I know this priest and he is very hard to control. I can get you another guide." I laughed and said he would be fine. He was quite a character, constantly throwing out one-liners as we walked around the busy basilica listening to him with our single headphone devices. It was noisy and quite chaotic throughout the church as it was a Saturday and many activities were going on including a concert in the main church with young people. The chapel we celebrated Mass in was off to the side and isolated from other areas of the basilica which was greatly appreciated. 

After our tour we had lunch at one of the outside restaurants. I saw the word "zupy" on the menu and assumed it meant "soup" but when our food came we ended up with two pieces of kielbasa, which was quite a surprise. I looked up the word on Google translate and it says it does mean soup. I'm not sure what happened, bu I guess that's how things work when you don't speak the language. 

We traveled by bus for the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. I don't have a lot to say about the visit except it was incredibly sad (as I expected) and it was raining and the ground was muddy and uneven making travel a little challenging for some of our pilgrims. We were able to go to the starvation bunker where St. Maximilian Kolbe was put to death and also see the execution wall, where many people were lined up naked and shot in the head. It is so hard to imagine that people were subjected to this treatment but the one thing that really got to me was seeing a display with children's clothes and then a pile of hundreds of children's shoes. Young children were sent off to the gas chambers immediately as they could not work and had no value for the Nazis. We got to walk into the gas chamber and crematorium which was really eerie. What a sad visit.

We got back on our bus and went to Birkenau which was gigantic compared to Auschwitz. Our tour there was very short and we visited a replica of a bathroom and a barrack since all of the wooden buildings were destroyed as the Nazis tried to cover up their crimes right before the liberation of the camp. 

We then headed to our motel in Wadowice and had dinner. After dinner I tried to make a cup of hot water for tea in my hot pot and blew out a fuse. I am so grateful for the flashlight function on the Iphone. I dreaded having to call downstairs to get someone to reset the fuse.  Upon further examination of the room, I found out that the fusebox was in my room to the left of the door way up high. I reset the fuse which turned the hot pot back on and then quickly blew the fuse again before I could turn it off. It was late and I was tired, so this routine went on several times (like scene from the "Three Stooges") before I realized I could use my flashlight to get back to the hot pot and turn it off. By the time I figured this out, I had a cup of hot water! I'm not willing to go through that routine again for a cup of coffee in the morning. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed day. We have a hot spot on the bus and I was checking the news and saw the awful accident with a power pole in Tukwila. Thank God the couple who had the power pole go through their car are going to be all right. It looked by the photo that someone would have surely been killed. What a bizarre accident. I wonder if the power went out at St. Thomas?

Here are some photos from the day. 

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