Our Parish is blessed to have a beautiful shrine to Our Lady Of Guadalupe next to our church. This is a fascinating account of how the outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe came to be at our Parish. The following was written by Father Peter Mallin OFM CONV.
In the summer of 1964 a parishioner, Mrs. Eileen Webb, approached the pastor, Fr. Sam Bonikowski, and inquired about the possibility of donating something to the parish in memory of her late husband. The pastor readily agreed and asked her if she had anything particular in mind. “How about an outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe?” she replied. The pastor liked the idea but informed her that he would have to make some inquiries as to the cost of the shrine, the statues, stones, etc., and that as soon as he had some concrete information he would get in touch with her. Not long after Fr. Sam spoke to Frank Moreno about Mrs. Webb’s suggestion. Frank enthusiastically supported her idea and told the pastor: “I have a brother, Isaias Moreno, and a brother-in-law, Ignacio Estrada, that do this work. I am sure they could draw up a plan for the shrine and find out what the whole thing would cost.” Further meetings with Isaias Moreno and Ignacio Estrada and Mrs. Webb resulted in the following agreement: Mrs. Webb would pay for the statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego and all the other materials necessary for the erection of the shrine. Isaias and Ignacio would donate their time and labor without any cost to the parish. Here history repeated itself. Where Domingo Moreno, the stonemason and father to Isaias Moreno and father-in-law to Ignacio Estrada, would build his home only after work and on weekends, so also these two labored in building the shrine only after their daily work was finished and on weekends.
The shrine was completed and was to be blessed on December 12, the parish patronal feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The day before the blessing, Fr. Sam was checking the shrine with the parish gardener, Ernest Chavez. Mr. Chavez had transplanted some cactus on the sides and the back of the shrine and about a half dozen rose bushes in front. Fr. Sam lamented the fact that no roses were in bloom and Mr. Chavez assured him that he could do something about that. He brought about two dozen roses, inserted them in these little glass vials, watered them and wired them to the rose bushes They were in full bloom the next day, much to the delight of Fr. Sam and the parishioners. The Shrine was blessed that morning.
In grateful thanks to the donor of the shrine and to the workers who built it without cost to the parish, a bronze plaque is affixed to the flagstone kneeler at the front of the shrine. The plaque reads: In Memory of Raymond A. Webb, presented by Eileen A. Webb and In Memory of the Y. Estrada and E. Moreno families, presented by Ignacio Estrada and Isaias Moreno. The ‘Hail Mary’ is reproduced in two languages: on the left in Spanish and on the right in English.