Orlando’s Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen ofthe Universe is highly recommended not only for its internal and external beauty but also for the fact that this Shrine makes one proud to be Catholic.
Primarily the church was built for the spiritual needs of millions of visitors from around the universe who travel to Orlando theme parks each year, the Shrine being 3rd in popularity of 196 places of interest in the area. Thus the Orlando Diocese “reaches countless thousands of Catholics each year, providing them a spiritual oasis”, and oasis it truly is.
Inside this gloriously beautiful church is an enormous white marble sculpture of Mary, Queen of the Universe, “the world’s great love and model of humility”. There are mosaics, sculptures (the large bronze statue of St Peter sitting on his Chair with the Keys to the Kingdom in one hand and pointing to Heaven with the other is superb), and stained glass windows depicting saints, the Rosary, and stories from Sacred Scripture. The paintings of the Stations of the Cross were brought to the Shrine from a villa in Spain and are magnificent.
There is a Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Confession is available all day until 5:00 p.m. The Basilica Choir, the professional choir-in-residence, features world class performers as well as talented local artists in their Concert Series.
Outside the Shrine there is a Rosary Garden and Mother and Child Outdoor Chapel. In a separate building there’s a Pilgrimage Center, Museum of Christian Art and an delightful gift shop of myriad religious articles and hundreds of books.
Orlando’s Bishop John Noonan has designated the magnificent central bronze door at the Basilica of Mary, Queen of the Universe to be the Holy Door for the Orlando Diocese during the Year of Mercy.