A Pictoral Walkthrough of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Well, at long last, here are my impressions and pictures (click the link for a full album) of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. (Unfortunately, the weather wasn't that great, so I have few outdoor pictures). We arrived after a good night's sleep at the Shrine for Morning Prayer and a reflection (one of two for our Day of Recollection) from Archbishop Burke. We then attended Holy Mass, ate lunch at the wonderful Shrine restaurant, and returned to the Church for Daytime Prayer, a Holy Hour, the Rosary, another reflection from Archbishop Burke, and the Stations of the Cross (the Shrine has a beautiful and contemplative hillside walking path with the stations and mysteries of the Rosary).

Our day was fairly packed, but I was able to spend a few minutes taking pictures of the Shrine and the beautiful artwork contained within. (As an aside, this Church is living proof that there are still artists alive that can produce works of actual beauty and not just all the modern ugliness that typically goes into modern Church buildings!).

First, an overview of the whole Shrine—notice the traditional cruciform layout of the Church, with a transcept in the middle, and the altar and tabernacle in the top/front area. The pews are all polished wood, and there is marble almost everywhere:

The Interior of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  

Now, here's a picture of the Baldaccino and sanctuary—notice especially how everything directs the eye towards the altar of sacrifice. This is the focal point of the Church (as it should be), and, as Archbishop Burke reminded us today, "the purpose for the building itself."

Baldaccino of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  

And you may notice the angels on the four corners of the Baldaccino—these are styled a little differently than most of the angels I've seen in other similar Churches, as they have grapes, wheat, and something else, and are in a very 'organic' pose (rather than the rigid pose I'm used to seeing). Here's a detail picture of one of the angels:

Angel on the Baldaccino at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  

To support the singing of sacred music, a mighty and beautiful organ was constructed for the Shrine. It covers the entire back wall of the church, and includes another set of ranks directly in the front of the choir loft. (Also note the words underneath—these are words Our Lady spoke to Juan Diego):

Pipe Organ at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  

Also towards the back of the Shrine are six large devotional areas with depictions of many saints, including St. Maria Goretti, Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Thérèse of Liseux, St. Faustina, St. Peregrine and St. Gianna (detail of her painting below).

St. Gianna at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine  

There is no area of the Shrine (including the staircases and even the basement, which will soon be a crypt church!) that was not made to worthily support the worship of the pilgrims who come to visit the Shrine; indeed, here is a detail picture of one of the many columns around the Shrine:

Column Cherubim Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  

The Shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to commemorate her apparitions to St. Juan Diego, there is a very beautiful bronze statue of the scene of Our Lady's image appearing on Juan's tilma for the first time in front of the Church (just in front of the heavy solid bronze doors!):

Statue of Juan Diego at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine  

The Shrine is one of the best places to make a pilgrimage to in the United States, in my opinion. The facilities are well-maintained, the staff is friendly, but most importantly, the presence of Our Lord and Our Lady can be felt throughout the Shrine's grounds. I wish I could write more on the Shrine, but for now, a full album of all my pictures from the Shrine will have to do (each picture deserves a long caption, but I simply don't have the time!).