Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen Of the Universe
(1 Epinions review)
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen Of the Universe Another-Olando-Wonder but-with-Mass!
Jun 27, 2011 (Updated Oct 9, 2011)
Review by Phil Popsrocks
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Its beautiful and serene offering a place for prayer or meditation
Much in fine art.
Cons:In all our visits we didn't get to see everything...yet.
The Bottom Line:
This amazing church, now a tourist attraction, like no other, offers a serene and prayerful place to give praise, thanks, or reflection immersed within inspired art and design.
There was a time when Roman Catholics could celebrate Sunday
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Mass at Disney World. It was at the Polynesian Resort and alsot a few other hotels. There then came a time when, because of matters both of the church and lack proper venue, people were asked to go to mass at the "Tourist Church" the National Shrine of Mary, Queen Of the Universe. It was not yet given the honor of Basilica by the pope. Though I thank the Disney people for their help in offering places to worship on Sundays, the new venue offers so much more.
In time this iconic structure has become a home for the hundreds of thousands of Catholics that go to Orlando attraction however, it's mission, beauty and spirit have also made this an Orlando tourist attraction on its own.
This Didn't Just Happen, There's a Story To Be Told
As the saying goes, Behind every great man is a woman. After Disney World opened and more attractions followed Disney into the area millions of people started coming to and staying in the Orlando area that was building full speed ahead. For a dozen or so years Mass was held at local hotels, including Disney's Polynesian Hotel, that we had gone too one year, but the growing number of tourists made it impractical to use that facility or others tried. Father Harte the pastor of a nearby parish who was given the assignment of the Tourist Mass along with the Bishop worked on getting funds to build a dream building that would be open to locals and especially the tourists.
As Catholics we believe in Jesus as our God and savior yet we give devotion to His mother Mary. From their web site...
...As Catholics we look to Mary, Mother of God, for inspiration, encouragement and help in our lives. Her words in the first chapter of Luke's Gospel - "My Being proclaims the greatness of the Lord" - provide motivation in our Christian daily living to place God above and beyond all else.
It was the Mother of Jesus, Mary, that they honored giving the name of this newly planned structure, The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. The church, that is on 8300 Vineland Ave, a few miles out of the Disney complex, has seating for 2,000 with almost the same amount of standing room. It's huge.
It became an immediate success as tourists flocked to the church and locals volunteered to give support in the many ways needed fo traveling believers.
Not only did it become a prayer-filled building of the faithful, it now attracts tourist. This was not just a building to offer seating and a roof out of the sun and rain so people could just go to mass. Much thought, prayer and design was put into it.
A Tourist Attraction of Its Own!
The design was to give it a restful feeling for those traveling and doing the sun-up to sundown tourist attraction. They met that goal. The entrance area from the parking lots allows a restful stroll through a large boulevard that has floral plantings and water pools. It is serene walking those paths, even when with hundreds of others. Well done!
The modern sculptures inside draw attention. Upon entry is the Holy Water Font that is so different, impressive and inspiring to look at.
It's important, I believe, to take time to appreciate all the building and the grounds offer. The artist Jerzy Kenar created the Crucifix that hangs seemingly unsupported in the air above the altar. In the rear of the church is another of his works of Jesus rising in glory.
Their web site answers many questions as to the artists, design and reasons. The stain-glass windows are like none I have ever before seen. Beautiful!! Inside the church after mass were two woman who were knowledgeable of the church and gave pamphlets guiding through its many special places within.
A Separate Museum!!
This church also has a museum that displays works of art from around the world. This is relatively new. They have Paintings, Sculptures and Relics for viewing.
Its a beautiful structure with well designed rooms displaying so much history. I also read that they are trying to get Vatican works to travel to Orlando so those who can not make it to Italy may still see artistic wonders.
Outside are other sculptures in the Rosary Garden and elsewhere. A favorite by the chapel is Mary and a young Jesus perhaps 8-10 years old in a playful setting enjoying each other. It's masterful!
My wife always spends some time and a little bit of money in the church store getting gifts for the grand children. It gets bigger every time we visit and it offers most everything imagined and as with the rest of the complex of tranquil surroundings , well designed and comfortable to walk through.
It Becomes A Basilica
Because of its beauty of design but more so for its witness to evangelization and good works the church building and complex has been elevated to a basilica status. From the web site ... On June 3, 2009 the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments forwarded the Decree granting the title of Minor Basilica to The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. What this means is that the Shrine has been recognized by the Pope for its outstanding ministry and environment.
pops Last Thoughts
This is a place that offers serenity for those seeking a prayerful place to give praise and thanks for all they have. I know for me, being able to travel and enjoy Orlando attractions like Disney World, Sea World, The Holy Land Experience, the Studios and more is a gift from God. The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. complex keeps growing in how it offers even more space for prayer meditation. Inside the church is a Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Outside are the Rosary Gardens and the outdoor chapel that has that Mary and Jesus sculpture that's a must to see. Be sure to take a tour to see everything if you can.
We didn't get to the new Pilgrimage Center on our visit there earlier this month. Ha, I suppose like all the Disney things to do, we can't get to everything. This place though does offer so much and even if not Catholic or Christian, the artful design and tranquil settings can help revive the body and soul when doing Orlando.
This basilica and complex has become a huge tourist draw of its own. I know why.
This is an entry into the Texas-Swede Celebrate America Write/Off
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