Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mary, Queen of the Universe, Orlando, Florida

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, is the large Catholic church in the middle of the tourist maelstrom of Disney, Universal, Sea World, etc, in Orlando, Florida. I went there for Sunday Mass after the Dice Tower Convention.

The church is unusual because the typical congregation is mostly out-of-towners. The priest at our Mass was aware of that and talked about the history of the church. The 17 acres were bought in the 1970s and construction began in the early 1980s when enough money had been raised. Improvements have been made on and off throughout the years.

Courtyard and main church

The area includes several large outdoor statues, an impressive bell tower, a 7000-square-foot gift shop, and a museum. 

St. Michael statue by the parking lot

Statue of David (?) and the bell tower

 The church has many features reminiscent of famous churches in Rome, especially St. Peter's Basilica. The metal doors have panels depicting stories from the Bible.

Inside, on the left is a Pieta (just like St. Peter's, but not by Michelangelo). On the other side is a statue of St. Peter like the famous one where his foot is worn down by all the visitors touching it.

Pieta (not Michelangelo)

Saint Peter

The nave of the church has a classic basilica look, open and airy.


The sanctuary and the cross above it are more modern in style.


Crucifix above the altar

As an interesting counterpoint, above the exit is a similar statue that represents Jesus rising from the tomb.

He rose from death

The church has several other fine works of sacred art. The stained glass is expressive and the Stations of the Cross are detailed paintings.

Scenes from Scriptures and saints lives

Last Supper with other Eucharistic moments from history

First Station of the Cross

Madonna and Child

One of the evangelists?

Since the Mass was at 6 p.m., we didn't get to see the gift shop or museum, we just headed out for a quick bite and more relaxing at the hotel.

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