Pope John Paul II expressed his devotion to the Black Madonna in August, 1991. Speaking extemporaneously in his first general audience after returning from the sixth World Youth Day—at Jasna Góra in Czestochowa, Poland, where he prayed before the original image—he recalled the 1 million participants in the event.

“These days were above all days of prayer and reflection, centered on the words of St. Paul, who says that those who are led by the Holy Spirit are children of God,” he said in Italian after he finished reading his prepared text. “We invited the young people to work with the Holy Spirit in this spiritual transformation which enables an individual, a young person, each of us, to become a child of God, in the likeness of the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

“At the Shrine of Jasna Góra, with its ancient image of the ‘Black Madonna,’ those present were able to experience together a turning-point of history and to recover, after the sufferings of our century and the collapse of ideologies, the Christian roots of Europe.

“At the threshold of a new spiritual season for mankind, I pray that young people from East and West will walk together along the path of freedom, working to overcome all conflicts between races and peoples, so as to build a world of authentic brotherhood and to carry the liberating message of the Gospel everywhere. Through the prayers of Mary, Mother of God, may the Church, united with her in prayer, come to experience a new Pentecost, and the dawn of the ‘civilization of truth and love’ for which we all long.”