This icon was inspired by the Holy Masses celebrated at the Cathedral among the Pines and the inaugural prayers of annual summer scouting activities. Boy and girl scouts marching to the beat of the snare drum, colours snapping in the breeze, the flag - raising ceremony at the commencement of our liturgies, the unforgettable sense of patriotic elation - this you have to experience to understand. Unforgettable also are the campfires in woodland clearings where a clump of white birch trees is never far away. That is why there could never be too many in the background of the icon. Birches are very much a scout thing—and very much a local Kaszub thing too.

Płonie ognisko w lesie, wiatr smętną piosnkę niesie, przy ogniu zaś drużyna gawędę rozpoczyna...

Same words. Same tune. Same forest. Even the wind sounds as it used to. And always the slender birches thrusting into the sky. As we listen in the quiet of the forest, we hear   echoes of bygone years, echoes inscribed on the trunks of the trees, imprinted on the leaves of the birches and oaks, traced on the needles of pines, both red and white.

Sometimes we seem to hear the voices of those who, years ago, first lit our campfires here and those who sang here in subsequent years, even as we sing here today. Many are no longer with us. Their memory echoes quietly throughout the forest.

Father Rafal Grzondziel, Franciscan, visionary-priest, blesses and directs our campfire singing from above. He is among us here today at this Holy Mass, in this beautiful, extraordinary, magical Cathedral among the Pines, praying here with us and blessing this Icon of Our Blessed Lady of Scouts, saying:

O Panie Boże, Ojcze nasz, w opiece Swej nas miej, harcerskich serc Ty drgnienia znasz, nam pomóc zawsze chciej . . .


Yours in Scouting, July 3, 2016.

          Janusz Charczuk