Road Trip to Aparecida do Norte

Trip Start Oct 04, 2011
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Saturday, December 17, 2011

We visited Aparcedia do Norte which is the Catholic Mecca of Brasil, with Marcelo's relatives. We left Concecao das Alagoas at around 7pm and arrived at about 4am. It was a proper family bus road trip.

I have never seen so many bus loads of people in my life! We arrived for the early morning mass at 5am and finished around 8am and the masses continued all day long with thousands and thousands of people. This is an average Sunday for the Chruch of Aparecida. The mass ended with a procession behind the figurine of Aparecida and a blessing of holy water which is sprinkled on the crowd. Aparecida's blessing is one of plenty from what I gathered. If you are needing help with something in your life, she will petition the Lord on your behalf to help you acheive your goal.

Every home I have been in up until now has had a figure of Aparecida - which is a statue of Mary which was found in a river.

If you are interested in the story of the area you can read the following which I pulled from Wikipedia. 

Aparecida  is home to and named after the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil, declared so by Pope Pius XI in 1929. It now depends exclusively on tourism generated by the devotees surrounding the statue of the Virgin. Aparecida receives more than 7 million tourists a year making it the most popular religious pilgrimage site in Latin America.These pilgrims come to visit the Basilica containing the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida. This statue, thought to have been found in the Paraíba River in October 1717, is made of clay and measures 40 centimenters in height. The dark colour was produced by the years of exposure to candles and lamps around the altar. In 1978 it was attacked and reduced to hundreds of fragments which were meticulously put back together by specialists from the São Paulo Museum of Art.The city has other attractions besides the religious buildings such as a theme park, aquarium, and museums.The official account of the Aparecida apparition took place in October 1717, when Dom Pedro de Almeida, Count of Assumar and Governor of the Province of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, was passing through the area of Guaratinguetá, a small city in the Paraíba river valley,during a trip to Vila Rica, an important gold mining site.The people of Guaratinguetá decided to hold a feast in his honour, and though it was not fishing season, the fishermen went down to the Paraíba waters to fish for the feast. Three of the fishermen, Domingos Garcia, João Alves, and Filipe Pedroso, prayed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and asked God's help.They were unable to catch any fish, and after several hours in the river, they were ready to give up when João cast his net once more near the Port of Itaguaçu. Instead of fish, he hauled in the body of a statue with a missing head.They cast their net again, and brought up the statue's head. After cleaning the statue, they found that it was a black version of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Legend has it that when the fishermen recovered the body, then the head, the slender figure of the Aparecida Virgin became so heavy that they couldn't budge it.After that, according to the official account, they named their find Nossa Senhora da Aparecida Conceição (English: Our Lady of the Appeared Conception), wrapped it in cloth and continued to fish; now their catch was so great that they returned to port because the weight of the fish threatened to sink their craft. This was the first miracle attributed to Our Lady of Aparecida. 
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