Thursday, 01 September 2011 12:45
VATICAN CITY (CNA) – Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect for the Congregation for Clergy, stated in a recent letter to all Catholic shrines around the globe that they provide a crucial opportunity to evangelize the thousands of tourists who visit them each year.
“Shrines maintain an extraordinary attraction for the faithful, shown by the growing number of pilgrims that go to them,” the cardinal said. “To visit a shrine can be for them a valuable opportunity to encounter Christ or to rediscover their sense of baptismal vocation and to hear its saving call.”
“Frequently one finds men and women of every age and condition, with complex human and spiritual situations, sometimes removed from a sound life of faith,” he added.
In an Aug. 12 letter to priests and rectors of shrines, Cardinal Piacenza first expressed his gratitude for the “attentive dedication” they give in addressing the pastoral needs of the pilgrims “who approach the places of worship entrusted to your care in ever greater numbers from every part of the world.”
He then outlined several ways in which shrines become an opportunity for visitors to be touched by God, specifically through the Scriptures, the sacraments of Reconciliation and of the Eucharist, adoration, prayer vigils and the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the saints.
Cardinal Piacenza said that presenting the depth and beauty of the Church through its sacraments will challenge “the pervasive sense of relativism that currently reigns” and enable shrines to “become places that facilitate a renewed dynamism directed towards the greatly desired new evangelization.”
Want to visit a shrine?
National shrine in Oklahoma
The National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague is located in Prague, Okla., east of Oklahoma City.
About 60,000 persons visit the shrine every year. The Shrine hosts monthly novenas on the 17th and 25th of the month. The Sunday between those dates is Pilgrimage Sunday. A Mass is celebrated at 11 a.m. with a Blessing of the Children and a Blessing of the Sick. Lunch is provided free of charge for all pilgrims. After lunch novena prayers are recited, the Litany is prayed and adoration is held. The day ends around 2:30 p.m.
For more information call (405)567-3080 or go to www.shrineofinfantjesus.com.