HISTORY – Visit – Shrine
SHRINE TO THE HOLY GHOST 
written by Father Richard Ober
As these are in the base of the massive towers that flank its noble, we shall walk up into the transept of the Church and like the pious pilgrim in some ancient Gothic Cathedral we shall reverently adore our Eucharistic Lord present on the altar. Above, to the rear of the spacious tabernacle, we notice the nearly decorated niche that incloses a large statue of our Blessed Mother, patron of the Church. To either side stand the statues of St. Alphonsus and St. Aloysius. Our prayer of adoration over, we rise and pass into the presence of the altar in the left sanctuary to view the shrine – the first we ever saw – dedicated to God the Holy Ghost. While it is all but last in chronological order, it is the first in prominence. Special devotion to the Holy Spirit had been long established in the parish and the confraternity of the Holy Ghost was continually recruiting new members. This growing interest in a vital devotion justified the erection of a shrine that should give material expression to its purpose and inspiration. In the year 1922 a state renowned artist and parishioner put his brush to the canvas, and in conjunction with Father Wuest erected the present shrine. The upper portion of the altar, richly carved and surmounted by a glided cross, serves as a fitting frame for an artistically wrought picture that eloquently portrays inspiring and guiding influence of God the Holy Ghost in the evangelization of the African continent. In the heaven of His pictured glory, Almighty God the Holy Ghost, symbolized by the dove wings His flight from the dazzling splendor of the Godhead and appears in the created heavens of time. On an eminence of rock, the shadowy outline of the Vatican rising majestically beyond the rolling sea, stands the vicar of Christ in the reflected glory of the celestial Spirit. Clothed in the habiliments of his high office, the Holy Father bids God-speed to the Vicars Apostolic, Priests, Brothers and Nuns – missionaries all – as they pass by wending their way to the distant shores of pagan Africa. Like the Crusaders of old, the laymen take up the cry of the Apostolic Church: “God wills it”, and by their offerings and prayers share in the modern Apostolate. This vast army of earth’s noblemen in their onward march, gaining in number as they pass through the home land to board the vessel that is coming into port is sighted on the far horizon by the evil spirit hovering over the benighted souls of a people in bondage. In the guise of the serpent of old, he coils his slimy form about the trunk of a fallen tree, and spews the venom of his better spleen o’er the people he would possess. Beneath it all, an angel inviting the worshipper to enlist in Apostolic service unfolds the scroll bearing the mandate of the Divine Master: “Go teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the holy Ghost”.
In what was formerly the baptistry, we now find a shrine to the Mother of Sorrows. On a stand, its surface adorned with the semi-circular formations of pebbles and shells, its base proportioned to the width of the sanctuary grouping, is seated the Mother of Sorrows. Resting on her bosom is the body of her dead Son. The cross, shorn of its Precious Burden, its upper portion draped with folded winding sheet, stands mute testimony to the price of Redemption. To either side, wood-carved angels reverently bear in extended arms the instruments of the Sacred Passion. Five panels, a dedicated lace work of shell and stone, are traced in the weighty foundation. In the central panel and protected by a covering of glass, is a picture of the blood-stained Countenance of the Crucified Savior. Several prie-dieux and a votive stand find place in the entrance. Our visit over, we make an offering and bid the lighted candle extend our vigil. But a few steps and we kneel again at the altar rail.
Before leaving this renowned edifice, we reverently adore the Giver of all good gifts within the shrine of His tabernacle. From His life and work has come the inspiration that surrounds His holy house with the external glory that loving hearts and hands would offer Him. To the foot of His throne, like some ethereal, oriental fragrance, are wafted the praise and prayer of the thoughtful many who keep their daily vigil in St. Mary’s, the “Church of the Grottoes”.