Welcome to the website for the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle. This beautiful Shrine is dear to my heart because on May 31, 1985, the Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to her cousin Elizabeth, I was ordained here. The graces I received from God that day are multiplied a hundredfold every single day of the year for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who come to visit the Basilica. It is a tremendous blessing that persons who have gone before us had the vision, more importantly the faith and trust in God, to build this place of worship.
Early on in our history the Shrine was closely associated to the thousands of migrant farm workers who called our Valley home, but out of necessity left here every year to work the fields up north and out west. Entire families came to the Shrine built by Fr. Jose Aspiazu, O.M.I. to say goodbye to the Virgen and seek her protection and intercession. Upon returning, once more, they came to see the Virgen and say thank you for their work in the fields, and for their safe return. Our pilgrims have been largely poor, humble people who have no other recourse but to turn to God for their livelihood. Their faith, and the traditions they pass on from generation to generation, have been the lifeline of this Church. When the original Shrine was destroyed in October of 1970 it was, as Bishop John J. Fitzpatrick was fond of saying, the contributions of God's poor that allowed us to build the magnificent place that now houses the image of Our Blessed Mother.
We hope that this virtual visit will fill you with a desire to want to visit our Basilica. It is a peaceful place of prayer where heaven and earth meet every day during the Eucharist. It is a beautiful Church that elevates our spirit to God. It is the place where thousands of people come every week to return to the Father's house through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Thank you for visiting us, and may Our Lady of San Juan del Valle lead you to the loving presence of her Son.
In Jesus' Name,
Fr. Amador Garza