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5 Places to Pray at the Basilica During Lent

One of the most significant observances in the liturgical calendar, the Lenten season is a time for repentance as we contemplate Christ’s sacrifice and strive to follow His example. For those seeking a quiet place to retreat during Lent, the Basilica provides a peaceful environment to reflect and pray. As you examine your heart and meditate on God’s great mercy and love in preparation for Easter Sunday, we invite you to explore these five places to pray at the Basilica.

1. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel

The place of repose for the Eucharist at the Basilica, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is an inspiring place to pray, drawing one’s attention to Christ’s body, broken for us, and his blood, shed for us. At its center, a cascading golden baldachin representing manna falling from heaven covers the Eucharist and reminds the faithful that God supplies our needs for each day, as He did for the Israelites in the desert. The dome overhead shows the crucifixion, with Mary at Christ’s feet and nineteen figures representing a universal offertory procession. The pendentives of the chapel depict key miracles in Christ’s earthly ministry.

2. The Sorrowful Mysteries Chapels

At the Basilica, each of the Sorrowful Mysteries is portrayed in a series of chapels in the Great Upper Church. Traditionally prayed as part of the Rosary, the Sorrowful Mysteries help the faithful meditate on the events leading up to Christ’s death and reflect on His fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy revealed in Isaiah 53:5: “But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.” The Sorrowful Mysteries include the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. Ultimately, they demonstrate Christ’s faithful submission to His Father: He was willing to suffer and die for us, that we might cast aside all sorrows and dwell with joy in the glory of the Father.

3. The Rosary Garden

The peaceful Rosary Garden at the Basilica features marble sculptures of Our Lady of Fatima and Christ Crucified, as well as the Mysteries of the Rosary depicted in vibrant mosaic detail. The walkway of the Rosary Garden is designed to resemble a rosary strand with beads. Its path winds to five different granite arches, with each arch containing a set of one decade of the Rosary. Each set of mysteries has a different-colored border: the Joyful, blue; the Sorrowful, purple; Luminous, white; and Glorious, gold. At the lower west side of the garden, a sculpture depicting the crucified Christ forms the beginning and end of the Rosary. Walking the garden provides the faithful the opportunity to reflect on Christ’s ministry and sacrifice through the magnificent colorful mosaics.

4. The Our Mother of Sorrows Chapel

The Chapel of Our Mother of Sorrows features a life-size marble sculpture of La Pietà, depicting the sixth of the Seven Sorrows: Mary holding Jesus as he is taken from the Cross. The other sorrows are sculpted in bronze and flank the Pietà. Inscribed in Slovak above the altar is the text: “Our Mother of Sorrows, Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Slovak People, Pray for Us.” As we find ourselves struggling with earthly burdens, we can turn our eyes to Jesus, knowing that He felt the full weight of our sorrows as He bled and died for us, and He gives us strength to endure through the Holy Spirit.

5. The Crypt Church

The Crypt Church is brimming with the unique Pewabic tile designs of Mary Chase Perry Stratton, bringing to life important biblical figures throughout its chapels and ceilings. Stratton’s art in the Crypt Church also includes depictions of the 14 Stations of the Cross, which portray the events of Christ’s Passion. We encourage you to pray the Stations of the Cross with this beautiful artwork to guide you.

Looking for Prayer Inspiration?

As you spend time in prayer and devotion this Lenten season, we encourage you to find inspiration in our Prayers for Lent post.

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