Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida

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Cathedral Basilica National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Catedral Basílica Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida
Basilica of Aparecida - Aparecida 2014 (4).jpg
Basílica do Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida
ProvinceArchdiocese of Aparecida
RiteRoman Rite
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusMinor basilica
Year consecrated4 July 1980
LocationAparecida, Brazil
Architect(s)Benedito Calixto Filho
StyleRomanesque Revival
Length173 metres (568 ft)
Width168 metres (551 ft)
Height (max)100 metres (330 ft)
Dome height (outer)70 metres (230 ft)

The Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida (Portuguese: Catedral Basílica Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida) is a prominent Roman Rite Catholic basilica in Aparecida, Brazil. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida, (a variant of the Immaculate Conception) as the principal Patroness of Brazil. Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida roughly translates to Our Lady of Conception Who Appeared. It is the second largest church in the world, after St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.


The site has its origins in the finding of a statue of the Virgin Mary.[2] According to local tradition, three fishermen were attempting to catch a large amount of fish in the Paraíba River for a banquet honoring the visit of São Paulo Governor, Pedro de Almeida in 1717.[3] Despite their prayers, their attempts were fruitless until late in the day, one of the fishermen cast his net and pulled it back to find the statue of the Virgin Mary.[4] Upon his next cast, he found the head.[4] The group cleaned the statue, wrapped it in cloth, and returned to their task to find their fortunes had changed and they were able to obtain all the fish they needed. The statue is believed to be the work of Frei Agostino de Jesus, a monk residing in São Paulo.[5][6]

The statue was originally housed at the home of Felipe Pedroso, one of the fisherman who found it. This became a popular site for visitors wishing to pray to the statue, leading Pedroso's family to build a small chapel to house the statue.[2] This was replaced in 1734 by a larger chapel, and then in 1834 by the first basilica on the site.[2] In 1955, with pilgrimage numbers still growing, work began on the present building.[7][2] It has room for 45,000 people and competes with Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro for the title of the world's second largest church, after St Peter's Basilica.[2]

The old wooden chapel was originally built in 1745. The old shrine is a modest church in the colonial style built between 1834 and 1888. Since that time, pious worshippers have termed it as a basilica.[8]

Due to the following conflicting accounts on dates, the Vatican has enumerated the following recorded Papal documents:

New Basilica[edit]

Original image of Our Lady of Aparecida in its permanent exhibit inside the Basilica.

In 1955, Benedito Calixto began the construction on the new basilica. The structure is in the Romanesque Revival style and takes the form of a Greek Cross with arms 188 m (617 ft) in length and 183 m (600 ft) in width.[citation needed] The dome is 70 m (230 ft) high[11] and the tower reaches a height of 109 m (358 ft).[12] The basilica contains 23,000 m2 (250,000 sq ft) of space.[11] The main church hall can accommodate 30,000 people, which can expand to 300,000 during external celebrations.[13] The grounds contain a shopping mall, medical clinic, restaurants and a 272,000 m2 (2,930,000 sq ft) parking lot that can hold 4,000 buses and 6,000 cars.[9]

On 4 July 1980, Pope John Paul II consecrated the sanctuary under the name Our Lady of Aparecida while the building was still under construction.[14] The feast day for Our Lady of Aparecida is 12 October.[6]

Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica of the Shrine of Aparecida on 12 May 2007, during his Apostolic Journey to Brazil on the occasion of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean.[15] During his visit, the Pope awarded the Shrine a Golden Rose.

On the occasion of World Youth Day, Pope Francis visited the basilica on 24 July 2013, venerating the image of Our Lady of Aparecida and celebrating mass there.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Basilica of Aparecida waits 160,000 people (in Portuguese)". Terra Networks. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e J. Gordon Melton; Constance A. Jones (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. 2. ABC-CLIO. p. 42.
  3. ^ "OUR LADY OF APARECIDA". Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b M.J. Ryan (2000). The Fabric of the Future: Women Visionaries of Today Illuminate the Path to Tomorrow. Conari Press. p. 206.
  5. ^ "Our Lady Aparecida - History". Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Our Lady of Aparecida – Patroness of Brazil". Archived from the original on 1 March 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Stanley D. Brunn (2015). The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics. Springer. p. 588.
  8. ^ "Brazil's giant basilica is backdrop for Pope visit". Reuters. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  9. ^ a b William Thomas (19 July 2009). "Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil". Catholic Voice. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "Brazil's giant basilica is backdrop for Pope visit". Reuters. 6 May 2007.
  12. ^ "Santuário em números". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Santuário em números". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Prayer of John Paul II in the Basilica of Aparecida" (Press release). 4 July 1980. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI" (Press release). 12 May 2007. Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ "In First Public Mass In Brazil, Pope Francis Urges Humility, Charity". NPR. Retrieved February 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°51′01″S 45°14′02″W / 22.8504°S 45.2338°W / -22.8504; -45.2338