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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, one of the sites Pope Francis will visit in Brazil

2013-07-23

Every day, hundreds of buses  with thousands of pilgrims flock to a very special Brazilian known as the  Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida. With over 11 million visits  per year, it is one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world. In fact, it  welcomes much more pilgrims than other famous sites like that of Lourdes  and Fatima.

On arrival, many pilgrims light a candle, to thank Our Lady for the graces they've received. Others spend hours praying in this room suited for over 70,000 people. In it, some leave personal items like letters and pictures to thank Our Lady or to make a special prayer.

Our Lady of Aparecida is the patroness of Brazil, and devotion to Her statue dates back to 1717. According to tradition, in October of that year, two fishermen prayed to Our Lady, asking Her to grant them a good catch for the day. As they dragged up their nets, they found this small clay statue of Our Lady and many fishes.

The name "Aparecida” comes from the Spanish word for 'appearing', since the fishermen were granted their wish, through the intercession of Our Lady.

Construction for the first Basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida, began in 1834. In fact, the site attracted so many people, that over time, a nearby town came to be.  A century later, a new 18,000 square meter sanctuary was needed to accommodate all the pilgrims. Now that site is a reality. It's a site that welcomes more than 200,000 pilgrims every single day.
 


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