It’s a beautiful day in São Paulo and we came all the way here to talk to you about the history of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida and give you some interesting facts related to the October 12 Brazilian holiday.
Three centuries ago on October 12
It all started in the town of Guaratinguetá, with three fishermen who were responsible for providing fish for a banquet thrown in honor of the Governor of the Province of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. On the morning of October 12, 1717, the three fishermen were not very lucky fulfilling their task. They had been fishing for several hours but hadn’t caught a single fish. They were praying for a change but kept finding their nets empty. By the time they were almost giving up, one of them decided to try it one more time, and when he did, he noticed he caught something, but it wasn’t fish, it looked like a piece of wood. When they pulled it out of the net, they saw that it was a statue of the Our Lady, but it had no head.
The fisherman tried yet another time, and when he pulled out the net, he found another piece of wood, that fitted perfectly in the place of the missing head. The net was cast for the third time and when he pulled it out of the river, it was filled with fish. and as his friends did the same they found themselves submerged by a large number of fish.
The fishermen restored the statue and placed it in one of their humble residences. The news about the miracle spread and every day more and more people came to worship the Virgin and pray for Her. They named Her “Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida”. As the crowd grew and there was no place in the cabin, a small church was built, to house the image and accommodate all the visitors. Soon, the witnesses began to tell about the many graces received from the Virgin and the many wonders that happened in that place.
Our Lady of Aparecida Church in Brazil
Between the years of 1846and 1888, was completed the construction of the first church. In 1955, Benedito Calixto began the construction of the new basilica and since then, people travel from all over the country to visit the place.
In 1904, the Pope ordered the coronation of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, and almost 30 years later, Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Aparecida to be the patroness of Brazil.
Basílica de Nossa Senhora Aparecida (The Basilica of The National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida), mostly known as Our Lady of Aparecida Church is located in Aparecida do Norte, a small city in São Paulo. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida. So when you go to Aparecida do Norte you will notice that there are two main churches for Our Lady. The present church was built next to the old chapel which housed the statue found by the fishermen in Guaratinguetá.
Brazilian religious customs regarding Our Lady of Aparecida
Tomorrow, October 12th is one of the days with the highest number of visitors in the church as it is a holiday in honor of Our Lady. People come to this church to make wishes and to fulfill their promises. Some of them walk on their knees from the old to the new church. It’s one of the ways to say thanks for having their wishes made true.
You’ll see lots of ribbons tied along the way that connects the two churches. It’s very common to tie a ribbon along the way and make a wish to Our Lady. Once your wish comes true, the ribbon will break. Another common thing to do is lighting a candle. There is a special room inside the church in which you light your candle. It’s another way to say thanks for something that happened to you.
- The Aparecida Cathedral is the second-largest church in the world, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and can accommodate up to 45,000 people.
- The Shrine had some special visitors: Pope John Paul II, that visited the Shrine in 1980 and blessed it during his visit. Pope Benedict, came and presented a golden rose to the cathedral. And Pope Francis on World Youth Day in Brazil in 2014.
- The vast majority of Brazilians are Catholics but Protestantism has made progress in recent years. In 1978, a fundamentalist Protestant tried to rob the statue of the Patroness of Brazil. But even though the man was caught before he got away, he let the image of Our Lady of Aparecida fell and it got broken in various places. Thankfully they were able to repair it.
- Another act of violence toward Our Lady was on the day we celebrate her apparition, 26 years ago when on the October 12 Brazilian holiday a fundamentalist TV preacher stepped on the replica of the statue and kicked it many times displaying a show of disrespect and religious intolerance.
Even if you are not religious, The Basilica of The National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil is a beautiful place to visit admired the architecture, and appreciate this huge part of Brazilian culture.
That’s it, guys. We hope you have enjoyed it.
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