THE WORLD AROUND US
 
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida, Patron Saint of Brazil (In Portuguese)      
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Today’s The World Around Us will be presented in Portuguese, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

Welcome to today’s The World Around Us, noble viewers. In this episode, we’ll visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil, a place of many miraculous stories since 1717. The National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida, located in the Paraíba Valley between the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, is the world’s largest Marian shrine.

This valley, divided by the waters of the Paraíba River, is the site of the appearance of Our Lady. In 1717, the image of Our Lady mysteriously was found at the Port of Itaguaçu to three humble men in a boat: Domingos Garcia, Filipe Pedroso and João Alves.

Since this inexplicable appearance, the image of Our Lady of Conception came to be known as “Aparecida” which means “Appearing.”

A very important information is that it wasn’t the city of Aparecida that gave the name to the image of Our Lady, but it was this apparition of the image in the river that gave the name Aparecida to the city. When we go to Fatima, we venerate the image of Our Lady of Fatima.

Here in Aparecida, we pay homage to the image of Our Lady Aparecida, that is, Our Lady who appeared in the waters of Paraíba River, giving the name to the city and making this city of Aparecida a grander place.

Later, many miracles relating to the image of Our Lady occurred in the lives of local people. Devotion further grew among them, and many prayed before the image. The fame of the extraordinary powers of Our Lady grew throughout Brazil.

Later, we had many other miracles, like the miracle of a blind girl who came from Jaboticabal who was blind and after walking a long way to arrive here at the Sanctuary, the girl turns to her mother and asks: “What church is that?” And the mother is overjoyed as her daughter can see now the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida as well. Another miracle we can tell is about a horseman who boasted that he would enter the church on horseback.

But when the horseman tried to enter, the horse was unable to open the church doors with his hoofs. A hoofprint of the horse can be seen at the churchyard, in a stone that has been preserved in the museum. News of such miracles made through the intercession of Our Lady were shared far and wide. A group of visionary German priests decided to build a new sanctuary.

The first church to Our Lady of Aparecida was built in 1745. The construction of the second began in 1845 and today is known as the Old Basilica. The New Basilica, also known as the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Conception Aparecida, is the third largest Catholic church in the world.

It was inaugurated on July 4, 1980 when John Paul II visited Brazil for the first time. In 1931, Our Lady was officially proclaimed Queen and Patron Saint of Brazil. Last year, over 9 million pilgrims from all corners of Brazil and abroad visited the image of Our Lady to thank her and feel elevated in her presence.

Many groups, more than thirty, that, every year, come to the Sanctuary all the way from the cities they live. We also have the famous on foot pilgrimages. People who come from their cities walking very long distances, more or less 300 kilometers, 400 kilometers, to arrive here at the Sanctuary. Pilgrimage means going to a sacred place, go in search of what is sacred.

And those people who organize such pilgrimages, through those walks or those bus trips, they aim at reaching a spiritual experience. And how do we nurture this spirituality? We do it through prayer. And those who come here in a such a special way to the city of Aparecida, they come with this feeling of prayer. They don’t come just for tourism. They come to fill a void that they feel inside, to leave here replenished, full of God, to be a witness of God to the people.

No, it is the third time.

Where do you come from?

Poços de Calda, Minas Gerais.

How long did the trip take? Three hours and a half, four hours.

And why did you come to the Sanctuary?

Oh, it is a point of reference for any Catholic. We feel good coming here. And wish to thank and have faith.

What does Our Lady represent in your life and how, and why did you come here to thank her, and not thank her from your city for example. How does it work for you?

Oh, it is because this is a special place, it is a temple, a differente place. So, we wish to thank Our Lady for the blessings bestowed and come here to have faith, have hopes and pray a little. Here, we feel good.

We’ll continue our visit to the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida when we return. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Halo, joyful viewers, you’re watching The World Around Us on Supreme Master Television. Let’s continue our visit to the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida. Father Rodrigo explains that people don’t just come here to admire an image of Our Lady, but that they bring a deeper spiritual intention upon entering this Sanctuary.

People who come to the Aparecida Sanctuary, they are attracted in a very special way by the image of Our Lady. They visit the image of Our Lady. They talk to Our Lady. They establish a very tender dialogue with Mary.

But this message spread by Aparecida does not mean that Our Lady, through a image of hers, want to attract these people to her, to make these people adore an image. We, as Catholics, we don’t adore any image. But we have her as a representation of those who gave their witness of faith.

One visitor expressed the importance of this sanctuary to her.

For me, the sanctuary has always been my point of reference. I came here ten years ago and this time, I really wanted to come because I dreamed about coming with my mom and dad, since for me, Our Lady of Aparecida accompanies me my entire life. Even if I am afar, I feel that this image is very dear to me. I feel very touched, very happy in my heart.

I feel that as if Our Lady has told me that she has always been with me because even if I am far, and many times, I mentally see her image or dream about her. So, when I entered here and saw the image, I felt like crying of happiness.

One of the most touching miracles I have seen and I have heard, was about a child, a 13-year old teenager. When he knew that his father had cancer, his father was hospitalized, already at the gates of passing. And he made a promise: if Our Lady blessed his father and cured him from cancer, he would cross, on his knees, the Passage of Faith that goes from the old Sanctuary to the new Sanctuary. And, indeed, he had this blessing and he came here to fulfill his promise here in Aparecida.

And, when we talked to this child, he said to us: “Father, I cannot explain to you how blessed I was. What I am suffering now to pay for my promise is way too insignificant compared to the grace I was given. My father was cured. Now, he is with us, helping us in everyday life. He is raising us, allowing us to study. So today I came to the Sanctuary to thank for the grace that Our Lady bestowed upon us.”

Like this miracle, we have many other miracles that the pilgrims who come here to the Sanctuary make it their duty to record.

Having observed many moments of emotion at the Sanctuary, father Rodrigo told us about the sacred atmosphere here.

The best moment to see the joy of the pilgrim who comes to the Sanctuary, the joy of being here in the Sanctuary, is when a pilgrimage is arriving, especially the pilgrimages made on foot. These pilgrimages, there is a special spirituality in them, a long walk all the way here. I would say that this walk that is the pilgrimage, is also a walk of purification since people who decide to walk until here, they put themselves, as well, in a state of mind of people who want to learn, who want to change their lives.

Therefore, when the pilgrim arrives here at the Sanctuary, he witnesses the peace that the Sanctuary offers him, but it is a “restless peace.” Why is it so? Because, being here, the pilgrim is invited to leave here as a different person. He is not called to return home exactly the way he was when he arrived.

Instead, he is invited here to drink from the spring which is the Christ and return to his town, to his family and home, to live the virtues preached in the Gospels. So, it is a whole life which is renewed by being here at the Sanctuary.

With its grace-filled atmosphere, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida soothes many a pilgrim’s heart. May it continue to be a place on Earth for finding divine peace.

Thank you for being with us on today’s The World Around Us. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for more constructive progams. Coming up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News. May Heaven shower you with miracles each and every day.

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