Basilica of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (Lewiston, New York)
Shrine or Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston New York
Church in NY, United States
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is a Modernist Minor basilica and US National Shrine of the Roman Catholic Church, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima, the Patroness of the United States. The shrine is directed by The Barnabite Fathers. It is located at 1023 Swann Road in Lewiston, New York, USA, north of Niagara Falls.
In the mid-1950s the Catholic Polish and Italian communities in the Niagara Falls region joined together. They sought to support the Barnabite Fathers, a missionary order working the area. The group set out to create a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.
First among the many Shrine benefactors were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Ciurzak who, in 1954, donated 16 acres (65,000 m2) of their farmland for the construction of the Shrine.
in Lewiston. At that time, the shrine began with just one humble statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Later, in 1960, the shrine that exists today was founded.
The church was started in 1963 and dedicated in 1965.
On October 7, 1975 Pope Paul VI conferred the title of Basilica upon the church. Thousands of pilgrims from around the country and the world visit the basilica each year.
The basilica is located on 16 acres of land. The Basilica is highlighted by a magnificent dome that measures 100 feet (30 m) in diameter and 55-foot (17 m) high. The dome is covered with two layers of glass and acrylic glass depicting a contour of the Northern hemisphere. On top of the dome, there is a statue of Our Lady of Fatima which is 13 feet (4.0 m) high and weighs 10 tons, sculpted from Vermont granite.
A 48-foot (15 m)-tall bell tower was built during the 25th anniversary year, 1981, and is dedicated to the memory of Barnabite Father Charles M. Barlassina, who served at the shrine.
Other highlights include:
In 2008, a $6 million renovation was undertaken. It was the first major renovation and addition in over fifty years. The rector, Father Julio Ciavaglia of the Barnibite Fathers, collaborated with architects for the design of 7,400 sq.ft. of additional space. The overall focus for this work brings the old world artisan experience with the use of granite stone walls, arched doorways, stained glass windows, structural wood beams and copper roofs to the shrine.
The renovation included a new ambulatory space around the front entrance to provide a separation between the main domed basilica and the exterior. This space provides an area for visitors to experience the basilica and the adjoining chapels without interrupting an ongoing service. The existing Sacristy along the rear of the building was removed and replaced with a 2,260 sq. ft. addition for small gatherings and to show the historical compilation of religious relics that have been collected by the Barnibite Fathers.