They wrapped a statue they found in cloth and continued to fish. Then their nets were full. That was exactly how Our Lady of Aparecida was named by a few fishermen in Brazil. Blessed be Our Lady of Aparecida, who is our latest WYD 2013 Patron Saint.
You may be wondering – What sort of impact on Catholic spirituality does Our Lady of Aparecida have on the people of Brazil?
In October of 1717, Dom Pedro de Almedida, travelled from Sao Paulo to Minas Gerais. During his journey, he passed through a small city in the Paraiba river valley called Guaratinqueta.
During his time there, the local people had decided to put together a great party that would require an incredible number of fish. Gathered together were three fishermen who had a special devotion to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Prior to fishing, all three men plead to God that they would be blessed with more than enough fish.
At that time, one of the men named Felipe Pedroso got on his knees swiftly and prayed saying, “Mother of God and our Mother; we need to find fish!”
Lone and behold, after not being able to find anything for hours, they cast their net out for a final time near the Port of Itaguagu. To their amazement, they hauled in the body of a statue, as well as the statue’s head. After cleaning the statue, they discovered that it was Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. They named the statue Our Lady of Aparecida. They wrapped a statue they found in cloth and continued to fish. All of a sudden, through the grace of God, their nets were full.
Our Lady’s feast is celebrated in the Universal Church on October 12, which is marked as a national holiday throughout Brazil. Blessed John Paul II, during his pontificate, blessed the shrine that was dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida in 1980. Today, her shrine is visited by more than five million visitors.
Through her intercession, we pray that Our Lady of Aparceida will continue to be at the heart of every Catholic in Brazil and intercede for the millions of pilgrims that will soon travel to Rio in 2013.
Stay tuned to WYDCentral for your next WYD Patron Saint, in our lead up to Rio de Janeiro.