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Pakistan: Lahore archdiocese plans to build a new grotto 

The bishop and priests laid hands on Mariamabad's New Grotto's foundation stone. (Photo Supplied)

Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw of the Lahore Archdiocese laid the foundation stone for the National Marian Shrine's new Our Lady of Mercy grotto on May 13, 2024. 

Present were the residents of Mariamabad, members of the Zariat Committee, Emmanuel Author Julius, a member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, Fr. Asif Sardar, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Lahore, and Fr. Tariq George, the rector of the shrine. 

On the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the archbishop officiated a holy mass before laying the foundation.

The prelate explained the current grotto's continued state of decay despite several attempts at renovation. The structure's mud construction has rendered it unsustainable, prompting the construction of a new grotto.

The new grotto's large stage will be 20 feet wide and 34 feet long, angled specifically to allow pilgrims to see it.

The archbishop expressed hope that this new project will last and benefit the community for many years to come, while highlighting the significance of structural integrity. 

The National Marian Shrine's rector, Fr. Tariq George, thanked the archbishop for initiating the construction of a new grotto, saying it will help deepen pilgrims' faith.

He said, "We will create a stunning grotto that will act as a lighthouse of inspiration and hope for everyone who visits, with the aid and support of the public."

This new grotto will strengthen the relationship between our community and the divine by providing a calm and serene environment for prayer and meditation, he added. “We are appreciative of the kindness and zeal of our benefactors and eager to see how this beautiful grotto enhances the lives of our pilgrims.”

The new grotto construction marks a significant turning point in the history of the National Marian Shrine, a revered pilgrimage site for many generations.

The neighborhood surrounding the shrine has developed dramatically over time, and the new grotto will allow for a much-needed expansion of the current facilities. 

The archbishop wants to build a place that is both aesthetically beautiful and spiritually nourishing for the new grotto. 

The grotto's layout allows many pilgrims to enter and provides plenty of room for meditation, prayer, and contemplation. The new grotto will be an incredibly distinctive and motivational place of worship with exquisite artwork and architecture. 

The ceremony to lay the foundation stone was a happy occasion that included prayer, music, and gratitude. 

The community came together for a prayer of dedication, asking God to guide and protect them during the construction process, after the archbishop blessed the foundation stone.  


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