A Celebration at Chantagone Shrine

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(left) Shrine main gate; (right) sign for the Church

Myanmar is a land of numerous pagodas. Everywhere you go, it is almost certain that you will see pagodas either on hilltop, mountainside, near villages or within cities. As pagodas are well known in Buddhism, so too our Marian Grotto is one of the recognizable trademarks of Catholicism in our country.

In almost every parish church compound you enter, it is also almost certain that you will see a grotto of Our Lady. The devotion to Our Lady is very popular among Catholics in Myanmar. Praying in front of the grotto of Our Lady is a common sight.

Grottos are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under her various titles. One of the most popular title of Our Lady is that of Lourdes. As a result, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated acros our country.

 

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(left) The Shrine Grotto of Our
Lady of Lourdes; (right) Closeup of statue

The Marian Shrine at Nyaung Lay Pin in Yangon Diocese is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and is celebrated by tens of thousands of devotees during the month of February. It is one of the most popular shrines in the country.

The Marian Shrine at Chantagone in Mandalay Diocese is dedicated to Our Lady of Holy Rosary and its main feast is celebrated during the month of October. Many Catholic faithful travel from all corners of our country for our celebration. The second minor feast (Our Lady of Lourdes) is celebrated on the evening of Feb. 11th and on the morning of Feb. 12th at our Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our shrine was established in 1890. At the outbreak of World War II, the statue of Our Lady was buried underground for fear of losing it. After the war, when the villagers returned and went to unearth it, they could not find it anywhere. Then Our Lady revealed in a dream to a woman named Daw Phan where the statue was buried. Eventually they followed her instructions and miraculously unearthed the statue. To their amazement, the statue they had buried lying down was found upright within a cave-like enclosure with no earth touching it.

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Coadjutor Bp. Nicholas Mang Htang of Archdiocese
of Mandalay presides at our Shrine on Feb. 12, 2014

This Marian Shrine was designated a Diocesan Pilgrim Center in 1985 and entrusted to the care of the La Salette Missionaries in 2005. As the years have passed, the daily number of pilgrims has significantly increased.

In 2014 the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Feb. 12th was celebrated with Mass was celebrated by Coadjutor Bishop Nicholas Mang Htang of Archdiocese of Mandalay with nineteen concelebrants and about six hundred faithful.

This Marian shrine has been serving as a Spiritual Renewal Center and offers retreats, Days of Recollection and workshops for various groups of people coming from all corners of the country.

Above all it is a place where the prayers of the devotees of Our Lady are answered by her incessant prayer for us. As Mary mentioned at La Salette, “How long a time I have prayed for you…”

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(left) 16-square mile Bagan plain with its 2,200 temples and pagodas in
Mandalay region; (middle) Shwedagon's “Great Dagon” Pagoda in Yangon;
(right) Kuthodaw in Mandalay with its 729 stupas or caves.