By Sean Delaney
The Marian Shrine of Gratitude, located at 3100 Weston Rd., behind the Carmine Stefano Community Centre, holds significance for the Emery Village community. The Shrine has served as a place of worship, prayer, and spiritual solace for individuals who practice various faiths. It has provided a sacred space for community members to connect with their religious beliefs, find comfort, and seek guidance. Shrines often have a rich history and cultural significance, as in the case of the Marian Shrine, it’s said to be associated with important events, visitors, and, yes, even miracles. Perhaps this may be the time to ask for another.
The Marian Shrine of Gratitude has a unique history and tradition that is important to many in the Emery Village community. The shrine allows individuals to reflect, express gratitude, and find inner peace. The shrine often drew visitors from outside the immediate community and Canada, even occupying a prominent listing and comment section on Trip Advisor.
Since the announcement of the Marian Shrine closure, hundreds of concerned residents have gathered daily in prayer, hoping to hear words of direction and show their concern for the shrine’s future.
I recently spoke with Anthony Perruzza, Toronto Councillor of Ward 7.
“The community has a strong bond with the Shrine and finds solace and positive energy there. Many have gone to the Shrine and received divine intervention there. They have invested their resources and time into developing and maintaining the Shrine for 18 years. The folks that go to the Marian shrine congregate peacefully to pray and spend a minute with their God. All of that is good and should be allowed to continue, as it has been for nearly two decades. Considering the building is still being used as a community centre and permitted for public use, there seems to be no valid reason to lock the community out of the Shrine. The public should be allowed to continue their peaceful congregation and prayers at the Shrine. Allowing them to do so respects their rights and acknowledges their effort to nurture the Shrine as a spiritual and communal space,” he said.
MPP Tom Rakocevic recently told concerned visitors he was shocked and dismayed to see worshippers being tearfully ejected from Marian’s Shrine of Gratitude.
“People have come to this special place for years seeking hope, peace, and a connection to their faith,” he said.
Both gentlemen have said that they, and their offices, will try to do whatever they can to seek information and perhaps bring closure to the community concerns.