ASIA/PAKISTAN - The "City of Mary" in Mariamabad, a new home for the Virgin Mary

Saturday, 18 May 2024 catholic church   marian devotion  

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - Our Lord of Mercy, venerated in Mariamabad in the Archdiocese of Lahore, will have a new "Grotto of the Virgin Mary" where the faithful can pray in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, inspired by the Grotto and Our Lady of Lourdes. The Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Francis Shaw, laid the foundation stone for the construction of the grotto on May 13 at the National Marian Shrine in Mariamabad. In this small village in the heart of Punjab, Franciscan missionaries built a place dedicated to the Blessed Mother at the end of the 19th century. Since then, Mariamabad ("City of Mary") has been one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage sites in Pakistan, a pilgrimage destination visited by Christian and Muslim believers who entrust themselves to the Virgin Mary and ask for her graces. In the village of Mariamabad, inhabited by Catholic families, Belgian Capuchin missionaries built a grotto modeled on Our Lady of Lourdes and a church that is now a national shrine. On September 8th, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, a major three-day pilgrimage takes place there, attracting hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country. The residents of Mariamabad, priests and religious, as well as Father Tariq George, the rector of the shrine, and representatives of the authorities were present at the laying of the foundation stone. In the new, large structure, designed to accommodate the large flow of people, "pilgrims will be able to pause, pray and ask for graces, which will help deepen their faith and devotion to the Virgin Mary," said the Rector. “It will be a beacon of inspiration and hope for all who visit, a place that is aesthetically beautiful and spiritually enriching.” "The abundance of blessings," writes 'The Catholic Lahore focus', the diocesan magazine of the Archdiocese of Lahore, "is also evident in the recent inauguration of two new Catholic chapels and a home for catechists in the parish of St. Roch in Pasrur." Archbishop Shaw, during a visit to the parish, celebrated two masses for the inauguration of the places of worship, which were received with gratitude and joy by the residents, who rejoice in the new "holy places of faith and community". The first chapel is dedicated to Saint Vincent and is located in Kotli Haji Pura village, the second is the Church of Saint Augustine in Chovinda village. In his address, Archbishop Shaw emphasized the importance of cultivating faith and spiritual life not only in the liturgy in Church, but in every moment of daily life. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 18/5/2024)