Argentina is celebrating a National Marian Year – and one diocese has come up with a distinctive way to honour Our Lady.
Parishioners at Our Lady of the Rosary in Hualfín, in the north-west of the country, suggested building 400 Marian grottos, since it is the 400th anniversary of the devotion to Our Lady of the Valley.
The devotion began in 1620, when an Argentine discovered a statue of Our Lady in a remote hillside niche. This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the first Mass in Argentine history.
The Hualfín parishioners’ proposal was taken up by the local bishop, and approved by other parishes in the province of Catamarca, where the original statue appeared.
Each parish will build 13 grottos. The first was completed last month.
There are some dilemmas for which no seminary provides training. “I spent years preparing for priesthood,” tweeted Fr Cassidy Stinson of St Bede’s in Williamsburg, Virginia. “I’ve studied philosophy, theology, all kinds of practical skills and disciplines.
“But I still have no idea how to get these cows out of the parking lot.”
One Twitter user suggested: “Tell them you need volunteers for something and I’m sure they’ll all run away.”