Catholicism: literature and architecture

The architecture of São Paulo Catholic churches is admired by many passers who walk before them. On the outside, many of them maintain a classical architecture and interior decorations include several black and white saints, including the statue of our Lady of Aparecida – one of the most acclaimed saints in Brazil. Her image is represented in several Catholic churches of São Paulo.

Devotees of Our Lady of Aparecida. Photo: José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

The saint, popularly known as Our Lady of Aparecida, is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and is present in many Catholic temples and in the  homes of paulistanos who are grateful for the fulfillment of a favor. She is considered the patron saint of Brazil. The devotees of Our Lady of Aparecida are everywhere. On buses, in the metro and trains you can spot many believers with some ornament with the saint’s image; it may be a pamphlet with a prayer or a rosary tied in a bag, stickers on helmets of motorcycle couriers or on taxis that take paulistanos to various points of the city. Her day is celebrated on October 12th. 

Traditional church in the São Paulo downtown. Photo: José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

In the downtown, Sé Cathedral is the destination of many tourists that pass through the region and are astonished by the beauty of the great temple.

In São Bento Monastery , decorated in detail, masses  – with Gregorian chant and classic instruments (such as the organ) – and weddings are held, besides offering music classes and a library with important titles.

The monastery is an important building of the Beuronese style. Photo: José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

Paróquia São Francisco de Assis (Parish Church of St. Francis of Assis) was inaugurated in 1647 and has the most esteemed collection of images of the Franciscan order in Brazil.

Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo (Third Order of Carmo Church), Igreja de Santa Ifigênia (St. Iphigenia Church) and Igreja de Santo Antônio (St. Anthony Church) are other beautiful and historic churches located in the downtown. Make your plans and attend the masses.

The book “Aparecida: Devoção Mariana e a Imagem Padroeira do Brasil” (“Marian devotion and the image of Brazil’s patroness”), by José Cordeiro, João Rangel and Denílson Luís, tells in details the history of the statue of our Lady of Aparecida since its emergence, here in São Paulo, in the 18th century.

São Paulo received four times the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida. During the Constitutionalist Revolution, the statue arrived in the capital on September 25th 1932, secretly brought to Palácio São Luis, former see of the Archbishopric of São Paulo. Religious people feared the destruction of the Church of Aparecida, since that city was under air attack launched under federal forces. The image would return two other times for public celebrations and a “visit” to Masp, in 1978, during a difficult restoration process.

The popular exhibitions took place at Praça da Sé, on July 14th 1945, in a religious act and in honor of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) and, on September 7th 1963, for the local Marian journey. In Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand – Masp (São Paulo Museum of Art), the sacred sculpture of Our Lady of Aparecida was “reconstructed” by an artist, after the image was broken by a mentally unbalanced person. After a month of restoration in the museum studio, the Image of Aparecida would be presented to journalists on August 18th 1978. For more information about the book, click here.


Catedral da Sé 

Address: Praça da Sé, s/nº – Downtown – São Paulo – SP.
Opening hours: open on weekdays from 8 am to 7 pm, Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from 8 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. Mass: Mondays and Fridays at 9 am, noon and 5 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at noon and 5 pm Saturdays: open from 8 am to 5 pm Mass: at noon. Sundays: open from 8 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm Masses: at 9 am, 11 am and 5 pm. Guided tours from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 11:30 am and from 1 pm to 4:30 pm, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 9 am to 11:30 am and from 1 pm to 3 pm.
Price: guided tours: R$5 per person, children up to 7 do not pay.
Phone: (11) 3107-6832

São Bento Monastery 

Hours of operation: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 6 am until the end of the 6 pm mass. Saturdays and Sundays from 6 am to noon and from 4 pm to 6 pm. On Thursdays the church closes at 8 am and reopens at 11:30 am. Masses: from Monday to Friday, at 7 am – with Gregorian chant –, 1 pm and 6 pm. Saturdays, 6 am – with Gregorian chant. Sundays, 8:30 am – with organ–, 10 am – with Gregorian chant and organ.
Phone: (11) 3328-8799

Paróquia São Francisco de Assis

Opening hours: from Monday to Sunday, from 8 am to 6 pm. Masses: Mondays at 7:30 am and at noon. From Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 am, 10:30 am, noon and 3 pm. Sundays at 7:30 am, 9 am, 10:30 am and noon.
Address: Largo São Francisco, 133 – Downtown – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3291-2400/ 3291-2403

Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo
Opening hours: from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm. Masses: from Monday to Friday, at 12:15 pm. Saturdays and Sundays, at 9 am.
Address: Av. Rangel Pestana, 230 – Center – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3242-8361.

Igreja de Santa Ifigênia
Mass schedule: every day, from 7 am to 8 pm.
Address: Rua Santa Ifigênia, 30 – Downtown – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3229-6706.

Igreja de Santo Antonio

Mass schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 7 am and 7:30 pm. Tuesdays, 7 am, noon and 7:30 pm. Saturdays, 7 am and 4 pm. Sundays, 8 am, 10 am, 5 pm and 7 pm.
Address: Praça do Patriarca, 49 – Downtown – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3242-2414

Book “Devoção Mariana”

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