Over the past months I have been racking my brain to come up with good “Mondays with Mary” articles for you all to read. And although I have lots of Marian books to choose from now in my personal library at home, finding the time to write has been difficult with marriage preparation and wedding planning with my fiancée. This is obviously the more important thing to do right now, but I still want to provide quality articles for you on Marian topics.
As I was flipping through the pages of the Dictionary of Mary, a recently acquired book and one that I have used in recent posts, I came upon the section focusing on the National Marian Shrines in different countries around the world. Although many of these would be considered international, since people from all around the world have visited them, they are still the National shrine(s) for each particular country. I have written on quite a few of these already over the years, but I think I am going to start with the first one listed and for the foreseeable future write about the different national shrines listed in this book. I will find other ones online since this book is from 1985.
Shrines are places that are sacred in nature often associated with a tomb or relic, an image or statue, or some form of religious event that took place in the location. Most shrines are developed by the people of the local Church and not by the universal Church herself. Prayer is often associated with shrines. The most common form of prayer at a shrine is called a devotion. Shrines and devotions can become part of the tradition of the people, however, the Church in her wisdom will involve herself in order to make sure that certain protocols are followed, such as the public liturgy that takes place, and that the theology of the private revelation is in union with the public revelation given to us in the Scriptures and Tradition.
Most shrines add to the beauty of the Church and they allow the faithful to pray more deeply in holy places. In the history of the Church, shrines have also been places that have interceded for the Church as a whole. They have assisted in the nurturing of the spirituality of the faithful. In the end, all of these shrines are really the work of the Holy Spirit.
The shrines we are going to focus on will be national, and in many cases, international, but shrines can also be local and regional. I hope that over the foreseeable future you will come to learn more about these important places in the life of the Church and their place in Marian theology. As I write about them individually, I will list them below. Here are the first three that I will focus on –
Bolivia: Our Lady of Copacabana
Our Lady, Mother of God…Pray for Us