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|The celestial basilica
The sacred grotto was chosen centuries ago as the destination of pilgrimages,
a place of prayer and above all of reconciliation with God.
|various heads of government and ministers; some were saints (Anselmo, Bernardo of Chiaravalle, Guglielmo of Vercelli, Francis of Assisi, Brigid of Sweden, Bona of Pisa, Alfonso de Liguori, Gerardo Maiella, the Venerable Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and many others) but above all thousands of pilgrims who have come from all the nations, attracted by the extraordinary fascination of the Celestial Basilica, where they find hope, forgiveness and peace, through the intercession of Saint Michael Archangel.|
Having entered the Romanesque portal that frames the bronze doors we
find ourselves inside the celestial Basilica, in the place chosen by Saint
|At the entrance we are struck by the majesty of the Angevin nave but
looking immediately to the right we find ourselves before a small altar
erected in honour of Saint Francis; it is a reminder of his visit to our
shrine in the distant 1216.
As tradition tells us Saint Francis arrived at Monte Sant'Angelo to obtain the angelic pardon, feeling himself to be unworthy to enter the grotto, he stopped in prayer and recollection at the entrance, kissed the ground and carved on a stone the sign of the cross in the form of "T" (tau).
In biblical language the sign "T" is the symbol of salvation.
From this account we can understand the importance the Poor Man of Assisi attributed to this grotto for the special dignity of the holy place and for the salvation of souls.
A few steps further on from the altar of Saint Francis a unique spectacle of its kind is unfolded before our eyes: the grotto, with an irregular rocky vault, which has received millions of pilgrims over the centuries and the place where many sinners have found again forgiveness and peace.
Here, each one of us feels like the prodigal son who goes back to his father's house, led and protected by Saint Michael.
The interior of this grotto, not consecrated by human hand gives witness to its centuries-old history by its various elements.
The variety of styles creates a single harmony which gives glory to God almost expressing in the perfection of its art the very name of the Archangel: Who is like God!