The Pope at Rio - Visit and Holy Mass at the Aparecida
The city of Aparecida do Norte in São Paulo, Brazil, is known for having the most important Marian shrine in the country, where pilgrims from every nation come to visit. In this city, one can find the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, which is the second biggest basilica in the world and which contains an image of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patroness of Brazil. The story behind Our Lady of Aparecida relates that, in 1717, fishermen discovered a headless statue in the Paraiba River. They threw the net into the sea again and this time they brought out the head. This is said to be the statue of the Black Virgin, which is made of terracotta, a type of clay that is baked in a particular kind of oven after being molded. The distinctive characteristic of this style is the form of her smile and the structure of her chin and dimples. She also has flowers in her hair, a hair piece with three pearls, and her head is titled backwards. The statue was believed to have been made by a 17th century Benedictine monk named Frei Agostinho of Jesus. The statue was later restored by experts. She is the patroness of pregnant women and newborn babies, and is also called Our Lady of the Rivers and Seas. The shrine to Our Lady of Aparecida is also a pilgrimage place for workers on the national holiday, which takes place annually on September 7th. "Our Lady of Aparecida, Dearest Mother,You who love us and guide us every day,You who are the most beautiful of all mothers,Whom I love with all of my heart,I ask you once again to help me attain the grace that I seek.I know that you will help me And that you will always be with me until the hour of my death."