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Tourism

St Pats group makes trip to Guadalupe Shrine

LeRoy Independent of LeRoy, Minnesota

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~ 22 individuals travel by vans to make pilgrimage to LaCrosse

We had a wonderful trip. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, although a small one, to tour the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe which is built on one of the many bluffs surrounding LaCrosse. It is located on 103 acres of beautiful woodland. But it takes some energy to get from the Welcome Center at the bottom of the hill, up and around the hill to get to the huge church built at the top ofthehill.lt is a $29 million church and it is beautiful. I only hope you take the time to go visit the place and see it for yourself. I used the golf cart to get from the bottom to the top, so I can't complain about walking. There are some 150 volunteers who do just about everything at the Shrine, from driving those golf carts to cleaning rest-rooms; to greeting visitors to working in the cafeteria and gift shop.

Greg Marco, the pilgrimage coordinator who I had talked to about us coming to see the Shrine, met us after the Mass in the church and provided us with much information about the Shrine. His tour was interrupted when many, many Hispanics invaded the church to attend a special service for the pilgrimage of Hispanics which happens once a year at this time, but was a first for Mr. Marco!

He had his schedule and didn't know about this great group of people coming to the Shrine until Thursday evening when he happened to hear about it. Actually, it was a delight to see these pilgrims who had come from all across Minnesota and Wisconsin, with two busloads coming from Minneapolis/St. Paul, all dressed in their best and most colorful dresses and headgear. When we came back to the church after lunch we were pleased to hear a band playing Mariachi

music up near the altar. They had their own priest with them, and at the beginning of the service had been welcomed to the Shrine by the Bishop LaCrosse. He also welcomed our group which was gathered outside the church.

It was a beautiful day weather wise. And the food was good at the restaurant which is part of the Welcome Center. Marco said that next year they hope to be able to keep the Shrine open for longer hours during the summer. Now it is only 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and he said it is because of the cost involved in a double shift. There are 8 to 10 paid staff, and two priests and a brother live in the rectory next to the church.

The Shrine is open every day except for five holidays. If they get dumped on by a heavy snow they have to wait until they can get up the hill to the church. It is a half mile walk, but I guess they

have a service entrance by the back way.

From the church, I did walk up to where the Memorial to the Unborn is located--a wonderful grotto dedicated to the unborn. Words cannot tell you how beautiful it is there, with a huge statue of our blessed Mother holding small babies. There is also a rosary walk as

well as the Stations of the Cross.

Everything there is paid for. Nothing was built until they had the money. The main site for the Shrine was donated by a local family who gave Bishop Burke 70 acres to start the Shrine, with more land bought by the Diocese.

It is well worth the miles

and the effort to make it to the Shrine and a very good reason to thank God for all his blessings.



Copyright 2010 LeRoy Independent, LeRoy, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

© 2011 LeRoy Independent LeRoy, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from DAS.

Original Publication Date: September 16, 2010



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