December 25

Gua Maria, Mojosongo, Jebres, Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia

Though little-known outside its area, the Grotto of Mary north of Surakarta attracts a good number of pilgrims every week, considering that Central Java is an overwhelmingly Muslim region, less than 1 percent Catholic. Perhaps the Grotto’s viability owes something to the value placed on public prayer in a culture where it remains an important personal and social activity. The shrine started out as a simple place of prayer where Catholics would go to say the rosary. In 1975, a shelter was added ― welcome in an area that gets over five feet of rain annually. In 1980, the parish of Maria Regina in nearby Purbowardyan began holding masses at the shrine, along with shadow-puppet plays on Christian themes. The parish priest raised money to build the Grotto, which Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, Bishop of Semarang, blessed at its inauguration on December 25, 1983. It hosts youth gatherings on Thursday nights and a public rosary on first Fridays at 8:00 pm, followed by confessions and mass. (Information from Henny Alit, Life Magazine, 9 February 2003, in “Gua Maria Mojosongo,” Marriage Encounter Indonesia, www.me-indonesia.org. Picture from "Gua Maria Mojosongo," www.guamaria.com.)

marian calendar     december

Also commemorated this date:

Christmas, Birth of Jesus, Western churches
Virgen de Andacollo, Famatina, La Rioja, Argentina. Pilgrimage.
Notre-Dame de Conception, Mons, Hainaut, Wallonia, Belgium. Pilgrimage to Nimy village chapel, vigil, night mass.
Panagia Iamatiki, Arakapas, Cyprus. Icon began weeping, 2000.
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly