CHAMPION — The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is excited to announce its official name change to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion following the newly added Mass with the liturgical rank of “solemnity” on its grounds.
In 2023, the National Shrine received notification from the Holy See’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments confirming the ability to celebrate an annual solemnity day on the grounds of the shrine under the title of “Our Lady of Champion” every Oct. 9 – the established anniversary day of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s second and third apparitions to Adele Brise in 1859. The inaugural Solemnity Mass of Our Lady of Champion will be celebrated at the National Shrine this Oct. 9 at 11 a.m.
“It will be a day of highest honor at the national shrine,” said Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay. “This new Solemnity of Our Lady of Champion, although only celebrated on the grounds of the national shrine at this time, is a day to remember the profound messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her unique presence in the United States.”
Consistent with Champion shrine’s new solemnity under the title “Our Lady of Champion,” and in keeping with similar nomenclature used for other approved Marian apparition sites worldwide that take the name of the location where the apparitions occur, the Wisconsin Shrine will officially change its name to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion. It will begin its steady transition from Our Lady of Good Help to Our Lady of Champion this coming May and culminate with the solemnity on Oct. 9.
“We recognize that the title of Our Lady of Good Help is very close to many hearts, as it is for the shrine,” said Bishop Ricken. “For many, the title of Our Lady of Good Help has been attributed to an abundance of graces received. While these titles are helpful for us, the faithful, in remembering an association with a message or place, they ultimately all refer to the same Blessed Virgin Mary, whose only desire is to bring souls to her son, Jesus.”
For over 160 years, the chapel on the grounds of the Marian apparition site was dedicated under the title of “Our Lady of Good Help.” Its history dates to 1861 when Belgian settlers inscribed the phrase “Notre Dame De Bon Secours, Priez Pour Nous” over the chapel’s entrance. This is translated into “Our Lady of Good Help, Pray for Us” – a popular Belgian devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“While we will always have a deep devotion to the title and history of Our Lady of Good Help, we are excited to take this step to further identify Our Blessed Mother to the location and community in which she appeared,” said Fr. Joseph Aytona, CPM, rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. “Not only will this step align more closely with other beloved Marian Apparition sites around the world, but it will also help address any confusion that has existed in the past related to the Blessed Mother’s title in reference to the National Shrine, titles such as Our Lady of Good Health, Our Lady of Good Hope, Our Lady Help of Christians, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.”
The Solemnity of Our Lady of Champion will not be included in the Diocese of Green Bay liturgical calendar at this time, nor in the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America or General Roman Calendar. The solemnity will currently only be celebrated on the grounds of the National Shrine in Champion.
In 2010, Bishop David L. Ricken declared the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparitions to Adele Joseph Brise in 1859 as worthy of belief, making it the first and only approved Marian Apparition Site in the United States. At the time of the apparitions, the Wisconsin town’s name was Robinsonville. However, forwarded by the suggestion of the seer Adele, the town’s name changed to Champion – fulfilling a promise she made to the Blessed Virgin to serve in Champion, Belgium.
With this new solemnity and name change to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion, the Marian apparition site hopes to bring greater awareness to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s presence in Champion and to her remarkable message for the world today.