Our Lady of Aparecida: History, Prayers, Feast Day, Miracles and More 

An image of Our Lady of Aparecida

Our Lady of Aparecida Table of Contents

Our Lady of Aparecida: History, Prayers, Feast Day, Miracles and More 

Our Lady of Aparecida is the patron of Brazil, and her feast day represents a national holiday in the country of more than 200 million people, many of whom are Catholic.

The Virgin of Aparecida has been associated with many miracles spanning centuries. She remains an important part of the faith of Brazilian Catholics as well as believers scattered throughout the world.

“Her face is the face of the Brazilian people,” said Father Jose Arnaldo Juliano dos Santos, a Catholic historian. “She’s the great unifier of Brazil, who reaches across all sorts of divisions of race, class, region, and religion, and brings us all together as a people.”

Learn more about Our Lady of Aparecida (which means: Our Lady Revealed) and how she might inspire your faith today.

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Described as Brazil’s Lourdes or Fatima, Our Lady of Aparecida’s story begins more than 300 years ago in the waters of the Paraíba River.

Three fishermen–Domingos Garcia, Filipe Pedroso, and João Alves–were having little success bringing in fish. It was not a peak season for fishing, so the trio prayed for the intercession of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

While pulling in their nets at the end of a long day, they realized they had “caught” a headless wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, which had somehow ended up in the river–and the nets of the fishermen.

Throwing the nets back in the water, they pulled in a wooden head that they quickly realized belonged to the body of the statue they previously netted.

Tossing their nets into the water once more, they suddenly had more fish than they could handle.

Mary didn’t appear that day the same way she appeared in Guadalupe or Fatima, but her presence was clearly felt and word of the miraculous occurrence rapidly spread throughout Brazil.

Growth in Popularity

Word of the statue’s discovery–and subsequent miraculous fishing hauls–spread quickly throughout Brazil.

People traveled to see the statue, held in a small hut where one of the fishermen lived. A small chapel was built to house it more properly, but by 1737, a larger chapel replaced it, to better accommodate its growing popularity.

By 1888, a larger cathedral, now known as the Old Basilica, was finished after 50 years of work. For Latin America’s most popular shrine, it was still not large enough.

In 1930, Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Aparecia the Patroness of Brazil. In 1955, work began on the current Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida.

Pope John Paul II visited and inaugurated the current basilica, the second largest basilica in the world, beind only St. Peter’s in Rome, in 1980.

“Devotees of Our Lady and pilgrims to Aparecida present here, and you who follow us on radio and television, preserve jealously this tender and trusting love for the Virgin, which is characteristic of you,” he said during his address that day. “Never allow it to become lukewarm! Let it not be an abstract love, but an incarnate love.”

Pilgrimages to Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida

Millions of people from around the world make the trek to Aparecida each year, inspired by Our Lady and to visit her shrine.

It’s become such a popular destination that it spawned the creation of a massive religious theme park that opened in 2000.

Groups like Society of Saint Vincent de Paul plan large trips there each year. In 2007, Pope Benedict chose Aparecida as the site of the Fifth General Conference of Bishops.

In the middle of February each year, a group of men gather to pray the Rosary at the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida. The gathering began in 2009 with 600 men but exploded to more than 80,000 men in 2019, before the pandemic.

Our Lady of Aparecida Feast Day

The Feast for Our Lady of Aparecida occurs each year on October 12.

It is a national holiday in Brazil, as Our Lady continues to influence the daily lives of Brazilian Catholics. 

A recent example of this is the trend of Brazilian brides choosing to have images of Our Lady of Aparecida sewn into their wedding gowns.

The design is a common tattoo choice, and the hymn associated with Our Lady of Aparecida is also a popular tune.

Our Lady of Aparecida Prayers

The most popular prayer asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Aparecida goes as follows: 

Prayer to Our Lady of Aparecida

O incomparable Our Lady of Aparecida, Mother of my God, Queen of Angels, Advocate of sinners, Refuge and Consolation of the afflicted and troubled.

O Most Holy Virgin, full of power and kindness, cast a favorable gaze upon us, so that we may be helped in all our needs.

Remember, most clement Mother Aparecida, that it is not known that of all those who have turned to you, invoked your most holy name and begged for your singular protection, any one was abandoned by you.

Encouraged by this confidence, I turn to you: I take you from this day forward forever as my Mother, my protector, my consolation and guide, my hope and my light at the hour of death.

So, Lady, free me from everything that could offend you and your Son, my Redeemer and Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed Virgin, preserve this unworthy servant of yours, this house and its inhabitants, from pestilence, famine, war, lightning, storms and other dangers and evils that may plague us.

Sovereign Lady, deign to direct us in all spiritual and temporal affairs; deliver us from the temptation of the devil, so that, walking the path of virtue, through the merits of your purest Virginity and the most precious Blood of your Son, we may see you, love and enjoy eternal glory, for all ages of ages.


Pope John Paul II offered the following prayer at Mass in the Basilica of Aparecida on July 4, 1980: 

Lady Aparecida, a son of yours

who belongs to you unreservedly— totus tuus!—

called by the mysterious Plan of Providence to be Vicar of your Son on earth,

wishes to address you at this moment.

He recalls with emotion,

because of the brown colour of this image of yours,

another image of yours

the Black Virgin of Jasna Gora!

Mother of God and ours,

protect the Church, the Pope, the bishops, the priests

and all the faithful people;

welcome under your protecting mantle

men and women religious, families, children, young people and their educators!

Health of the sick and Consoler of the afflicted,

comfort those who are suffering in body and in soul;

be the light of those who are seeking Christ, the Redeemer of man:

show all men that you are the Mother of our confidence.

Queen of Peace and Mirror of Justice,

obtain peace for the world,

ensure that Brazil may have lasting peace,

that men will always live together as brothers,

as sons of God!

Our Lady Aparecida,

bless this Shrine of yours and those who work in it 

bless this people praying and singing here,

bless all your sons,

bless Brazil. Amen.

Pope Francis offered the following prayer during a homily at the basilica in 2013:

Mary Most Holy by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in your beloved image of Aparecida, spread infinite favours over all Brazil.

I, unworthy to be counted among your sons and daughters but full of desire to share in the blessings of your mercy, lie prostrate at your feet. To you I consecrate my intentions, that they may ever dwell on the love that you merit; to you I consecrate my tongue that it may ever praise you and spread your devotion; to you I consecrate my heart, that, after God, I may love you above all things.

Receive me, incomparable Queen, you whom Christ Crucified gave to us as Mother, and count me among your blessed sons and daughters; take me under your protection; come to my aid in all my needs, both spiritual and temporal, and above all at the hour of my death.

Bless me, heavenly helper, and through your powerful intercession, give me strength in my weakness, so that, by serving you faithfully in this life, I may praise you, love you and give you thanks in heaven, for all eternity. Let it be!

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