Cornelio Procopio, Brazil (Monday, 10/13/2014, Gaudium Press) Bishop João Manoel Francisco, of the Diocese of Cornelio Procopio, State of Parana, Brazil, wrote an article on Our Lady Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, whose feats was held on Sunday, October 12.
The bishop starts narrating the story of this devotion which began in 1717 when three humble fishermen ,Filipe Pedroso, Domingos Garcia and João Alves, were send to the river Paraiba to fish in order to prepare for a banquet in honour of the vice governor of the province, who was coming in an official visit to the town??.
After a complete failure the fishermen were willing to give up, but they decided to cast their nets one more time. Instead of fish a body of a statue appeared in their net. Impressed by this they throw the net once more and then the head of the statue came out fitting perfectly on the body of the statue. It was made of dark terracotta and looked like Our ??Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
“From then on the catch was plenty getting more fish than needed. Filipe Pedroso took the small picture home. Residents began to visit her, asking Our Lady to intercede for their needs. In 1732, Filipe Pedroso’s son, Athanasius, built an oratory for the statue that by the time became known as Aparecida, having appeared in the river” the bishop continues.
Devotion spread throughout Brazil, and the sanctuary, located in the city of Aparecida, in the state of Sao Paulo, is the second largest basilica in the world with capacity to hold up to 70 thousand pilgrims. He points out that every year, about 10 million pilgrims visit the shrine even though this is not the only place where the faithful express their devotion to the Mother of God.
“Throughout Brazil there are thousands of churches dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida. In our Diocese of Cornelio Procopio alone, three parishes, the one in Leópolis, in Uraí and the one in Congonhinhas, have Our Lady of Aparecida as their patroness” he added.
Pope Francis, in his trip to Brazil, on the occasion of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, the first contact he had with the Brazilian people was in the Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida. He began his homily by saying, “What a joy it is for me to come to the house of our Mother of Aparecida…Who could imagine that in the same place where a fruitless fishing happened, all Brazilians could feel themselves as children of the same Mother.” (FB)