Pope Francis recognises Our Lady of Perpetual Help as Patroness of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, before God and the Church around the world, with one request: ‘in the hope that this patronage will help to awaken in the faithful a deep desire for holiness’. The news was given by the archbishop of Campo Grande, Bishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, to the rector of the Shrine on August 4th. The concession is another milestone in the history of the State Shrine of Perpetual Help and Mato Grosso do Sul, as well as the result of the efforts of the religious and parish community in recent years.
This unique moment is a commemoration of the blessings destined to the Shrine and the devotees of the Mother of Perpetual Help. In view of this, this moment will be celebrated with a future programme, in communion with the bishops of Mato Grosso do Sul, but above all with the thousands of faithful and devotees who glorify their attachment to Christ, our Perpetual Help, from the spirituality manifested by the Miraculous Icon, venerated only in the State Shrine of Nossa Senhora del Perpétuo Socorro, in Campo Grande.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help was established as the civil patron saint of Mato Grosso do Sul by a State law. The law was approved by the Legislative Assembly of Mato Grosso do Sul on December 20th, 2017. Seven days later, the governor of Mato Grosso do Sul, Reinaldo Azambuja, sanctioned the law during a 9am novena on December 27. 2017.
The law included June 27, the day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the official Calendar of State Events, as a holiday in honour of the civil patron saint. According to the law, this date is not a public holiday.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help became the patron saint of Mato Grosso, thanks to the great devotion to the Mother that spread throughout the state. The parish was founded in 1939 and became a shrine in 1999. Throughout its history, blessings and miracles have been announced through letters written by the Mother’s devotees, recounting with joy and enthusiasm the graces obtained. Every Wednesday, 18 novenas are held, the largest number of celebrations in the world, gathering some 25,000 devotees during the course of the day. Our Lady of Perpetual Help is also the patron saint of five cities in the state: Antônio João, Bodoquena, Caracol, Itaquiraí and Sete Quedas.
Ninety years ago, in 1930, two Redemptorist missionary priests from the Baltimore Province of the United States arrived in these lands. Francis Mohr and Alphonse Hild disembarked in Aquidauana/MS and started the Redemptorists’ permanent presence in Mato Grosso do Sul.
The mission was entrusted by Pope Pius IX, in 1866, when, handing over the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, he said to the Superior General of the Redemptorists: “Make her known throughout the world! And today the Mother of Perpetual Help is one of the most popular Marian titles in Brazil.
Here you can read the complete Decreto of the