The anecdote behind the Virgen de Guadalupe Grotto for Holy Name Catholic Church begins with Father Martin Parayano coming across a parishioner who he would regularly find praying to the Virgen on a small shrine adjacent to the school building. Father Martin Approaches the man one day and asks him “…what do you think of the Virgen de Guadalupe…” to which the man replied, “…Father, why do we have the Virgen tucked away in the vegetation along the walkway? We should be celebrating her, and put her in a location where people can come pray to her…”. Understanding the importance, of the Virgen de Guadalupe, to the parishioners of Holy Name Catholic Church, Father Martin decides to commission the construction of a grotto.
In a collaboration between Father Martin, a committee of parishioners, and our design team at GNA, the program for the space was successfully determined. The goal was to erect an altar where outdoor masses could be held, and people could go pray to the Virgen. The goal was to exude a feeling of serenity and calm, achieved through the use curvilinear forms and appropriate landscaping. The construction of the double wall of the altar symbolizes the scene of the virgin as she appeared to Juan Diego in the Cerro de Tepeyac in Mexico. The front wall symbolizes the grotto where the Virgen appeared, and the back wall, the rocky hillside of the landscape beyond. The back wall is curved in a soft flowing form to emulate the mantle of the Virgen as she welcomes you under her protection and envelopes you with her love. Along the perimeter of the space and beginning at the existing crucifix is rosary embedded into the ground.
The project was ultimately very successful due to the participation and close working relationship of the parish committee and Father Martin with our design team.