✥ SHRINE HISTORY
The Shrine is open all year for personal prayers and meditations. The Rosarian priests are available at the Shrine for confession and spiritual direction. On Shrine Days Holy Mass is celebrated in the center of the Rosary Trail, on the site of the first church which was built in 1855. Each year Shrine Days are celebrated July 2, 13, 16, August 13-22, and September 12, 13, 14 and 15.
In 1995, three ladies of the parish were given permission by the parish priest to start a Rosary Trail in the wooded area behind the church and cemetery. Thanks to many donations, dedication of hours of work and prayer of numerous volunteers, what began as “Our Lady’s Garden” has now become the home to Our Lady of the Rosary London Diocesan Shrine.
The original Diocesan Shrine was located in St. Mary’s, Ontario, since it’s construction in 1954 and official dedication by Bishop Cody in 1963. At the close of the 1998 celebrations, Bishop Sherlock then moved the site to St. Patrick’s Church in Merlin.
“Our Lady’s Garden” began with the creation of the Rosary Trail. The Rosary Trail has been created in the shape of a rosary and includes all twenty mysteries. The Saints Trail leads you through the lives of over 90 saints. The statue of St. Philomena was the first to be added to this trail. To view the entire list of saints CLICK HERE for the Saints Trail Map. The Stations of the Cross Trail leads you to the Pieta statue. The Marian Dogmas & Approved Apparitions Trail represents some of the locations in the world that the Church officially recognizes as places where Our Lady has appeared. This trail includes dedication to Our Lady of Lourdes, Guadalupe, Knock, and Fatima along with others. The trails all will continue to evolve as more statues are donated. All that you see here at the Shrine, including the numerous gardens, are maintained by volunteers.
In the summer of 2008 a new entrance way was erected, along with the Stations of the Cross Trail being revamped and Grotto of Fatima re erected. The statues of the Stations of the Cross, the statues and Grotto depicting the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, and the two large Church Bells were treasured possessions of the parish of St. Matthew’s Parish in Alvinston, which closed in 2007. They in turn donated these to the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary at Merlin, and were dedicated by Bishop Fabbro C.S.B. on August 15, 2008. These treasures would be used even more as part of the Shrine of Our Lady which draws pilgrims from throughout the Diocese and beyond. It is hoped that through the generosity of pilgrims and donors a free standing tower for the bells will be erected to call pilgrims to this holy ground for the devotions to Mary and the Celebration of the Eucharist.
We pray that the Shrine be an instrument by which people will be led to a true devotion of Our Blessed Mother and to a deeper love of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lady of the Rosary, “pray for us”.
“While sitting on a bench to the side … the weather was perfect with the sun out bright and the wind calm … the trimmed trees were a nice back drop to the Holy Altar and Cross scene. The birds were chirping and butterflies flitting around. What a peaceful setting in southwestern Ontario! … Thanks for your work and care to give off the right Spirit for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!” (submitted anonymously)
✥ Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts: God’s Enablement to Do Your Part Serving God Effectively
Since there is a limit on the time we can serve, we need to structure our ministries around giftedness for maximum effectiveness. Knowing how we are spiritually gifted will help us identify where to put our focus, energy, and time. It will show us where we should plug in to ministry to do our part in serving God.
A Spiritual Gift is a special divine empowerment bestowed on each believer by the Holy Spirit to accomplish a given ministry God’s way according to His grace and discernment to be used within the context of the Body of Christ.
Spiritual gifts are part of God’s design for the growth of the church.
Spiritual gifts are God’s power source for us to do ministry.
Needs are met when we serve one another through the use of our spiritual gifts.
There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. (1 Cor. 12:4-5)