In advance of World Youth Day, travel and Church devotees who cannot take the trip to Brazil are being treated to a “virtual tour” of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. According to Wikipedia:
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida is a prominent Roman Catholic Latin-rite Basilica located in Aparecida, Brazil. It is dedicated to Our Lady Aparecida, (a variant of the Immaculate Conception) as the principal Patroness of Brazil. Its official title in Portuguese is Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, roughly translated as Our Lady of Conception Who Appeared. Since 2011, it has become the greatest Marian pilgrimage center in the world, ranking above Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Lourdes.
At the Shrine’s website, visitors can take a stunning three dimensional tour of the Basilica’s interior and exterior grounds. Rome Reports shares on this unique look at the Shrine:
To take your virtual pilgrimage visit http://www.a12.com/santuario/multimidia/tour/tour_virtual.asp. The tour has an audio track that is rather loud, so if you’re browsing in a quiet spot, be sure to silence your computer speakers before hitting the site. Additionally, you may want to use your browser’s translate feature for English versions of much of the site’s content.
A bit of additional information from Wikipedia offers some background on Our Blessed Mother’s apparition in Aparecida:
Our Lady of Aparecida (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora Aparecida or Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida) is a celebrated 18th-century clay statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the traditional form of the Immaculate Conception. The image is widely venerated by Brazilian Roman Catholics, who consider her as the principal patroness of Brazil. Pious accounts claim that the statue was originally found by fishermen, who miraculously caught many fishes after invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary. The dark statue is currently housed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Aparecida, São Paulo. The cult is not to the image, but for the first apparition of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil, for the first time ever in a black skin color. The image is considered a symbol of this event, and the apparition as a blessing to Brazil.
Your turn: Have you visited any special “virtual” tourist sites? Please share your favorites in the comments section below.