OLGH shrine gains accessible entrance to oratory

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | August 10, 2016

CHAMPION — This year, when pilgrims attend the annual Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, they will notice some changes.

In the past, it has been difficult for people with mobility issues to get to the lower level oratory, at the spot where the Mary appeared to Adele Brise in 1859. However, earlier this summer, a new entrance with a ramp was added to give access to the apparition oratory from the north side of the shrine.

A new ramp will allow for easy access to the lower level oratory at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. (Patricia Kasten | The Compass)
A new ramp will allow for easy access to the lower level oratory at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. (Patricia Kasten | The Compass)

It is the latest in a series of accessibility issues that have been addressed over the past few years, since the shrine was designated as the only approved Marian apparition in the United States by Bishop David Ricken on Dec. 8, 2010.

Updates have included adding more parking in front of the shrine and ramps leading to the upper apparition chapel.

Additionally, according to Walt Fountain, operations manager at the shrine, the walkway around the outdoor Stations of the Cross received a paver-stone walkway. The procession route along the shrine’s perimeter — which will be used for the traditional rosary procession on Aug. 15 — was also updated to include a packed, gravel walkway.

“It gives a more solid surface for people in wheelchairs and walkers as well,” Fountain explained.

Another issue had been the temperatures at the apparition oratory, which is below ground.

“When it got hot and sticky, I can guarantee you it was over 90 degrees in that chapel,” Fountain said.

That issue has been dealt with and air conditioning was added in early July.

Also new this year will be the welcome center, which was completed earlier this month and is located in what was the caretaker’s house. Visitors will find information about the shrine in various languages.

According to Fountain, visitors have come to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help from 90 countries, including Central America, most of Western Europe and many countries in Asia and Africa. Visitors are able to place stars on a world map indicating how far they have come on their pilgrimage.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top