By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published October 27, 2011
Members of the local Brazilian Catholic community gathered at St. Jude the Apostle Church for a Mass commemorating the feast day of Brazil’s Our Lady of Aparecida (“Our Lady Who Appeared”) Oct. 12.
Her feast day has been observed as a public holiday in Brazil since the late Pope John Paul II consecrated the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in 1980.
An uncrowned image of the Our Lady of Aparecida rests on the altar during the Mass celebrated in her honor at St. Jude the Apostle Church. Depicted as a dark-skinned image of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Aparecida is known as the patron saint of Brazil. The Mass brought Brazilian Catholics together from the Sandy Springs parish and Holy Family Church, Marietta. Photo By Michael Alexander
Like a number of Brazilian cities that have taken the name “Aparecida” before the name of their respective towns, the basilica resides in Aparecida, São Paulo, where it is one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world.
The original apparition dates to 1717 when three fishermen recovered the statue, the body and later the head, of the Aparecida Virgin while fishing. Even after the statue was cleaned off, the face retained its dark-skinned appearance.
Nine-year-old Isabela Rocha of Holy Family Church, Marietta, crowns the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida as the clergy and congregation look on. Photo By Michael Alexander
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was the main celebrant and homilist for the festive Mass at St. Jude. He concelebrated with a diverse group of priests that included two American priests, two Latino priests, one African priest, one Brazilian priest, one Irish priest and one Polish priest.
The is the fourth year the Brazilian Catholic commmunity in the Atlanta Archdiocese has gathered to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Aparecida. The annual liturgy alternates between St. Jude the Apostle Church and Holy Family Church, Marietta. Father Rosenilton “Roger” do Carmo Araujo serves as parochial vicar for the Brazilian community in both parishes.