Since the Shrine of Aparecida is one of the largest in the world and the largest in South America, and since it is visited by tens of thousands of people each week, we asked Bishop Jose Darci of Aparecida, rector of the shrine, to build a Marian Evangelization Center "Mary of Nazareth" on the site, similar to the CIMDN inaugurated in Nazareth in 2012. This proposal was made to the local church officials at a crucial time when the shrines were looking for a project of evangelization adapted to the spirituality of the place. The magnificent accomplishment of Nazareth was seen as a gift from divine Providence.
The Foundation for Evangelization through the Media (FEM) was therefore commissioned to build the Marian Evangelization Center of Aparecida, on an ideal location between the basilica—as big as St Peter's in Rome—and the Place of Miracles, in a beautiful mountain setting where a high-speed rail line is planned. Brazil is the largest Catholic country, with 120 million faithful, representing 70% of the population.
Aparecida is situated between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It is there that a black statue of the Madonna was discovered in miraculous circumstances by three fishermen in 1717, in the Paraiba do Sul River. Her name, Aparecida, means "the woman who appeared." Our Lady of Aparecida is now the patroness of Brazil, attracting 11 million pilgrims each year. The National Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida can seat up to 45,000 faithful.
The Shrine is in charge of constructing the building, and MDN Productions has been commissioned to reproduce the showrooms of Nazareth, with an additional room especially dedicated to the story of Our Lady of Aparecida and her ties to the history of Brazil.