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Marian Traditions: Skaro Shrine

August 15, 2012
Just as the faithful of Vancouver have a pilgrimage to celebrate the feast of Assumption, Catholics in Edmonton have their own shrine to visit on this feast.
The Skaro shrine, located 80 km northeast of Edmonton, was built at the turn of the 20th century by residents of the Polish settlement there. In 1904 residents worked together to build a small chapel to Our Lady of Good Counsel. However, there was definitely a need for a proper church and under Fr. Antoni Sylla that church was built. Fr. Sylla still wanted a small chapel nearby, preferably a chapel dedicated to Mary. The community decided to build a replica of the grotto of Lourdes.
The replica grotto was built by hand using horsedrawn carriages to carry the rocks to the site of the shrine. The Polish parishioners of Skaro provided the manpower to build the shrine, and as a result the shrine is a site of special significance for Polish Catholics of Alberta.
The first pilgrimage to the Skaro shrine took place in 1919, with 4,000 people coming from Edmonton area.
Since then, there has been a pilgrimage every year. The 2012 pilgrimage begins Tuesday evening with an 8pm Mass, followed by a candlelight procession with the Blessed Sacrament. Wednesday morning there is a special Mass for the feast of the Assumption, followed by the anointing of the sick, and a procession with the Blessed Sacrament.
Photo from Archdiocese of Edmonton

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