In January 2001, the first month of the new millennium, The Association for The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and International Shrine of the Holy Innocents, a not-for-profit New York corporation, was formed in Buffalo, New York. As described in detail in our Prospectus, the Association’s purpose is to build a truly world-class, globally significant shrine, to be located on the shore of Lake Erie adjacent to downtown Buffalo. The shrine will feature primarily a monumental, ascendable, golden triumphal arch, The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to be the world’s tallest monument measuring 700 feet to the tip of the golden Cross that will surmount its peak (seven being the mystical number of perfection, as Mary represents the perfection of humanity).
The great and evident promise of this vast undertaking, for promoting the Culture of Life and the New Springtime of the Church, so ardently hailed by our beloved and prophetic Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, has won for it the support of a distinguished National Advisory Board. These experienced Catholic leaders firmly believe, as do the Association’s founders, in the great value of shrines as instruments for the spiritual renewal of both individuals and society. The special character of this shrine, including as it does a beautiful monument of vast proportions, moves it into that rare category of culture-shaping architecture, shared by only a handful of edifices in each quarter of the globe.
This grand triumphal arch will hail the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Mary predicted at Fatima, Portugal on July 13, 1917, as following upon Russia’s worldwide propagation of atheistic communism (predicted by Mary prior to the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917), persecutions of the Church, and numerous wars of the 20th Century. At that time, Mary told Lucia, Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco:
But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph, the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, Russia will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.
Directly below the Golden Arch of St. Mary, The International Shrine of the Holy Innocents (described more fully in the Prospectus), will feature a large, central mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady’s appearance in that personage to Blessed Juan Diego in Mexico City on December 12, 1531, precipitated millions of Indian conversions to Christianity, ending the Aztec practice of human sacrifice. Due to this historic ending of the Aztec “Culture of Death” through her intervention, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the International Pro-Life Movement. Thus Pope John Paul II, preaching before her image in January 1999, proclaimed:
“May the Continent of Hope also be the Continent of Life! This is our cry: Life with dignity for all! The time has come to banish once and for all from the Continent every attack against life. Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of Peace, save the nations and people of this Continent!”
It is the spiritual sons and daughters of Jesus and Mary who, uniting, will make possible this astounding tribute to Our Lady and Our Queen; this unprecedented and bold initiative against the Culture of Death’s encroachments upon the lawful domain of the Culture of Life, and Civilization of Love—which is this world, created by God and found by Him to be good.
The mystery of God’s plan in bringing His Son’s Blessed Mother to the fore in recent times (Pope Paul VI said that the Marian Era began with Her apparitions to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830, probably cannot be fully penetrated. A few reflections on it may, however, be safely stated.
In the deep wisdom of God’s plan of salvation, as Adam and Eve collaborated in the Fall of Man, so a woman’s collaboration with His Son shall restore the world to grace. Mary’s virginal, stainless Heart, especially created for this unique role, triumphed first at Nazareth. There, vanquishing fear and doubt and with total faith, Mary immediately accepted the Angel Gabriel’s perplexing message. Replacing Eve’s disobedience with her complete submission to the will of God, Mary thus allowed Christ to enter the world as its Savior. Her Immaculate Heart triumphed next at Calvary where, again with perfect faith and, like Abraham the “man of faith,” overcoming the strongest natural impulses, Mary offered her divine Son to God.
The coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will therefore either coincide with, or perhaps in some manner presage, the Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus her Son, and of His Holy Cross, beneath which Mary stood sorrowing as only a mother can. Mary joined in Christ’s own self-offering as none else could, for she understood His mission as none else did. United with Him in His final agony as no other was (as foretold by the prophet Simeon at the Presentation, who predicted, “A sword shall pierce through thy heart also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” Lk 2:35), Mary will likewise share especially in the Triumph of His Cross for undeniably, it is her Triumph as well.
The Holy Innocents Shrine will center on a tall, pure white marble column supporting Mary, who holds aloft the Infant Jesus as the coming Prince of Peace. Mary ever presents her Son to the world, imploring that it heed her direction to the wine servers of the Wedding at Cana: “Do whatsoever He shall tell you.” The site will include also a large statuary grouping of the Holy Family engaged upon the Flight Into Egypt, emphasizing St. Joseph’s role as Guardian of the Redeemer, and Protector of the Holy Family.
Approximately 40% of visitors to conventional Catholic shrines are non-Catholic. However, the sheer appeal of The Arch of Triumph, not only for its enormous spiritual significance and its great aesthetic merits, but as a marvelous tourist attraction suitable for the entire family, will draw millions of visitors annually, of all faiths, and of no church affiliation at all, making possible an extraordinary societal effectiveness for its profound spiritual message.
Moreover, The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will rank among the man-made Wonders of the World. It is destined quickly to become an international icon, boldly though silently proclaiming the dignity and sanctity of human life, born and unborn, while also uniquely extolling the near-forgotten virtues of purity and holiness.
This awe-inspiring and exciting Project, therefore, will sound a global signal call to repentance and conversion, to a renewal of faith, and to ever-deepening respect for unborn human lives, and a concomitant rejection of impurity, immorality and abortion. Mary’s golden Arch of Triumph, truly stunning in its beauty, majesty and splendor, will quietly call hearts to again admire and long for fellowship with our awesome Maker; it will “cultivate … a sense of God’s beauty revealed in Mary,” a requisite for Marian shrines stated in a Vatican instruction letter for the 1988 Marian Year.
The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and International Shrine of the Holy Innocents will likely cost in the range of 40 – 75 million dollars US. However, in the United States and Canada alone, there are certainly at least a million faithful people, who long for a renewal of respect for the sanctity of human life, and for society’s return to sound morality. We firmly believe that these faith-filled people will gladly each sacrifice $100, a smallish sum today, and some even much more as God calls and enables them, to help realize these goals, and to demonstrate their deep love and devotion for Jesus and Mary.