Local shrine dedicated to Virgin Mary breaks ground on Prayer and Events Center

A rendering of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion's Prayer and Events Center. (Photo courtesy of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help)

CHAMPION (WLUK) -- Ground broke on an expansion for a Brown County shrine.

A new multi-purpose building will be added onto the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion.

The new Prayer and Events Center will be able to take its 300 chapel capacity to 1,200 people.

"Last year, our attendance topped 150,000 people and we are projecting that number to hit nearly 160,000 for 2018. We need this building now to be able to handle that growth," said Champion Shire chief operations officer, Don Warden said.

The Prayer and Events Center will feature additional conference gathering space, a kitchenette area and first-aid station. It will also house a life-size marble casting of Michelangelo's Pieta.

Construction is expected to be complete in spring of 2019.

According to the church, Champion Shrine is the site where the Blessed Mother appeared to a young Belgian immigrant in 1859. It is the only Catholic church-approved Marian shrine in the United States.

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