The story behind the celebration
+ For centuries the people of Brazil have honored Mary Immaculate under the title of “Our Lady of Aparecida” (Nossa Senhora Aparecida).
+ Devotion to Mary under this title centers on a small clay statue that was miraculously caught up in the net of three fishermen in 1717.
+ The local people began to venerate the image and the first chapel housing the image was built in 1745. Many miracles were attributed to “Our Lady of the Conception Who Appeared.”
+ Today the statue is housed in the Minor Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, which is the largest Marian shrine in the world, accommodating up to 45,000 worshippers.
For prayer and reflection
“O woman uniquely to be wondered at,
and to be wondered at for your uniqueness,
By you the elements are renewed…
O woman full
and overflowing with grace,
Plenty flows from you
to make all creatures green again.”—Saint Anselm of Canterbury
On this day, the people of Spain celebrate the Mother of God under her title “Our Lady of Pilar” and the people of Western Mexico celebrate her under the title “Our Lady of Zapopan.”
O God, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, foremost among the poor and humble, to be the Mother of the Savior, grant, we pray, that, following her example, we may offer you the homage of sincere faith and place in you all our hope of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.