Brazilian Bishop dedicates new shrine with large cross and Our Lady of Lourdes statue

By CNA Staff

Denver Newsroom, Jul 21, 2022 / 15:52 pm

Bishop Onécimo Alberton of Rio do Sul, Brazil, on July 15 dedicated and blessed a new Marian shrine with a large statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and a metal frame cross. The statue is larger than the iconic image of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

The new Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and of Praise is located in Ituporanga in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

“On this mountain, the artistic work portrays a passage from the Gospel of St. John, of Mary next to the cross of Jesus. Now, it is presented to the city that is before us, to all those who pass by and to the whole world,” the prelate said.

The shrine’s Facebook page said that local authorities, professionals who participated in the construction project, and other guests attended the inauguration. The next day the complex was opened to the general public.

The Marian shrine complex is located on a mountain overlooking Ituporanga, where there is an old grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes that pilgrims have visited since 1949.

At the top of the new complex is a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, which along with the pedestal is 130 feet tall, weighs 300 metric tons, and is illuminated at night. At the base is a 120-seat chapel, which serves as a place for prayer and worship.

Visitors can reach the top of the shrine complex by car or climb the nearly 500 steps of the pedestrian walkway. At the base of the steps is “the largest suspended rosary in the world, which is 130 feet high” and is illuminated at night, the shrine said on its website.

Along the entire way up the stairs there are smaller statues of the Twelve Apostles that accompany the pilgrims until they reach the 40-foot statue of St. Bernadette, the Lourdes visionary, who is kneeling with her arms outstretched toward the imposing Marian statue.

Next to the statue of the Virgin there is a 164-foot-high cross that also lights up at night. The structure includes an elevator that allows visitors to ascend 115 feet and view the city and the Itajaí do Sul River from a glass platform.

The shrine’s website explains that businessman Silvio Prim, who has a devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, designed the place to pay homage to the patroness of the sick. From the platform of the cross, visitors can get a closer view of the face of Our Lady of Lourdes.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

By Today's Catholic Newspaper

Be an informed Catholic by subscribing to Today's Catholic Newspaper online! Save time by renewing or purchasing for yourself, friend, or family member. Click here to find out more information. #iamTodaysCatholic