The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
is a Catholic basilica
located in the Brazilian city of Aparecida
. According to local tradition, a group of fishermen caught a statue of the Virgin Mary
in their nets in 1717, a find which considerably improved their subsequent catches. One of the fishermen kept the statue at his home, which became a popular site for pilgrims. A small chapel was built to house it, but was replaced by successively larger churches as the statue's popularity grew. The present building was built from 1955, and houses 45,000 people.Photograph: Valter Campanato, Agência Brasil.