Welcome, Pilgrim, to the 

Festival of Lights

The Festival of Lights is a beautiful family oriented event started in 1991 by our Rector Rev. Julio M. Ciavaglia, CRSP.  Fr Julio, throughout his over 40 years of priesthood, has been famous for his Nativity scenes.  His devotion for Jesus and the Blessed Mother inspired him to use the Shrine's 15 acres as the "canvas" to honor Jesus, the true Light of the World, with a wondrous display of color and light.

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Dome Basilica during Festival of Lights

Almost all of the items on display have been designed by Fr. Julio and manufactured by the Maintenance Staff here at the Shrine.  The first items to be presented was the giant Nativity Scene which features a nine foot angel hovering over the Holy Family.  Every year new features are added to the display.  Recent additions have included the Fatima 9/11 Madonna, the Mysteries of the Rosary, an Immaculate Conception Shrine and in 2007 - a landmark Star to guide you here at the corner of Swann and Creek Roads.

In all there are over 75 displays to be viewed, the Basilica itself is gorgeously illuminated on the outside; inside warm candlelight glows to reveal a fabulous Nativity Scene behind the Main Altar.

During the Festival the Lights are on from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm every night.  The Shrine Gift and Book Shop are open until 9:00 pm and the Cafeteria is open until 8:00 pm.  The Festival runs from the Saturday before American Thanksgiving until the Epiphany.

Click here for a brief explanation of the various Christian symbols you see here in the Festival of Lights.

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