The immense complex has been the home of Brazil’s patroness for centuries. Located between the cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, a visit to the Shrine is also available online.
The sanctuary’s website, www.a12.com allows visitors to check out video and photos, as well as a 360 degree “virtual pilgrimage” of the large complex.
The tour starts off at the new Basilica, which ranks second in size to St. Peter’s Basilica. With the sounds of a choir in the background, users can choose from seven points throughout the building. They include a few of the chapels on the wings of the church, dedicated to Jesus Christ, as well as St. Joseph.
However, the main draw is the small statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, which is perched at the head of the Basilica, surrounded by the Chapel of the Apostles. According to tradition, fishermen came across the statue on the sea. Soon after, locals began venerating it. Aparecida, eventually became the Patroness of Brazil. The image, which resembles the Immaculate Conception, differs in that it became the first Marian apparition with dark skin.
But the pilgrimage would not be complete without visitng the old Basilica. For nearly 200 years, it housed the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, until the new one was completed more than 30 years ago. The old Basilica, which is much smaller in size, was build in barroque style, and is much more ornate than the new one.
RR / www.a12.com