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Masses on Saturday are 6:30 a.m. in Spanish, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. bilingual, 5:30 p.m. in English; Sunday 7 a.m., 1 and 7 p.m. in Spanish, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. bilingual, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in English; weekdays 6:30 and 11:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. bilingual. The basilica even schedules regular Masses with mariachi music on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Photo: A replica of the Jalisco statue of Our Lady of Los Lagos sits in a niche behind the altar in the Texas basilica.
Why to go: The veneration of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos is spreading in the Rockford Diocese thanks to the growing numbers of Catholics with roots in Mexico. The original statue from Mexico drew hundreds at four parishes in the Fox Valley in late September and early October. But this Texas basilica is among the first to be dedicated in her honor on what is now U.S. soil.
The miracle of the statue is the reason for its importance. According to the shrine website, it took place in 1623 at San Juan de Los Lagos in Jalisco, Mexico. A daughter of a traveling acrobat fell during practice and was killed. A native woman who was caretaker at the church urged the parents to place the image of the Virgin Mary over their daughter’s body and pray for Mary’s intercession. They did so and the child came back to life.
In 1949, the pastor at St. John the Baptist Parish in San Juan received permission from the bishop to promote the veneration. He commissioned a copy of the original statue (top of column) from a Guadalajaran artist. While its first two homes were destroyed, it now sits in a niche above the altar in the shrine, which was dedicated in 1980.
Amenities: Pilgrim services include a hotel, cafeteria and retreat center. Check the website for details.
(Grand) Kid friendly: Of course.
Info: Address — Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle National Shrine, 400 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd., San Juan, Texas 78589
Phone — 956/787-0033
Website — http://www.olsjbasilica.org//
— Sharon Boehlefeld compiled this story.
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