A Place of Sanctuary
Bringing The Grotto to You
Daily Spiritual Reflection

In today’s Gospel Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah when he says “it is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’”

What does our faith in God teach us? It teaches us to be grateful because God is faithful.

These last six weeks have caused us to stop what we considered a normal life. Our work places and habits have changed. Many of us desire a haircut. We need to wear masks when going to the store. We are spending more time with family. Much has changed. But, what has not changed is that God remains the constant of our lives. His love surrounded us in great and small and consistent ways. While mostly confined to our homes when can still get food, medicine and communicate with our loved ones.

The former pace of our lives has slowed allowing us to experience life and family in a refreshed way. Maybe all of this is actually making us more compassionate, kinder and loving to others. Maybe we are caring for ourselves a better. These six weeks have been tough in many ways. Yet, in many ways we have experienced blessings. Maybe in the midst of these uneasy days we are returning to the better version of ourselves. This is something to be grateful for. 

F r. Don Siple, OSM, Rector of The Grotto
Light a Candle at The Grotto

Purchase a candle to be lighted at The Grotto. Your candle will burn for seven days in the outdoor cradles by The Grotto.

Your support will help The Grotto continue its ministry through this difficult time.

Bringing The Grotto to You

We will continue to share a piece of The Grotto with you each day until Masses resume and our gardens open. We hope this feature brings you joy.

Please share our emails with friends and family. Help spread the word that The Grotto is here, and looking forward to the glorious day when we can reopen our gates.
Day 46: Music at The Grotto
The Gift of Music

Gracious God, thank you for the gift of music.

The melodies are a language all their own.

When words are added we can sing your praises, or express our sorrow, embrace your forgiveness, or discover your faithfulness.

Thank you for the gift of song writers, musicians, singers and choir directors; through their God given gifts they share - each in their own way - your hope, joy, peace and presence with the world.

Music at Mass

Music is an important part of the celebration of Mass at The Grotto, whether inside the Chapel of Mary, with its cathedral-like acoustics, or outdoors in the Plaza.

Above: Brian Haskins, director of music at The Grotto, sings at an outdoor Mass.
Acoustics in the Chapel of Mary

The acoustics in the Chapel make it a magnificent place to sing. There is a strong echo effect, which is clearly conducive to a wonderful choral sound, as testified to by the choirs who perform there throughout the year.
Listen to the Acoustics
For a real treat, listen to local singer Haley Johnsen sing "O Holy Night" in the Chapel of Mary.

Recorded December 2017.

Chanting in the Chapel
Enjoy Irish singer Dermot Kiernan chanting inside the Chapel. The single voice really showcases the incredible acoustics. Recorded March 2016.

The Christmas Festival of Lights

The Grotto's annual Christmas Festival of Lights is full of music, with choirs, carolers and musicians performing throughout the evening, every night of the Festival.

The Festival is known to be the World's Largest Christmas Choral Festival. Five different choirs perform each night inside the Chapel of Mary.

Last year, 6,194 performers from 157 choirs generously shared their talent with Festival guests.

Below: The Northwest Harmony Chorus performs at the Festival in 2019.
Festival Choirs
Enjoy the Portland Christian United Choir as they perform the "Hallelujah Chorus" at the 2016 Christmas Festival of Lights.

The Grotto Carolers

A long with choirs, the Christmas Festival of Lights also features the popular Grotto Carolers.

The Grotto Carolers have been performing at the Festival since the beginning in 1988. Seven separate quartets sing every hour, every night at the Festival. On opening and closing nights, they come together and sing in the Chapel as one choir. It is truly a treat to hear.

The Grotto Carolers sing “Here We Come a Caroling” while processing in the Chapel to introduce choirs and while moving around the grounds. It’s estimated that the Grotto Carolers have, over the years, performed this song more than 30,000 times!

Below: The quartets combine for a special performance on Festival's final night.
Listen to The Grotto Carolers
Wesleigh Ogle of KATU joins The Grotto Carolers for a rendition of "White Christmas" during a live news segment.

Recorded very early in the morning in December of 2019.

Musicians at the Festival

Visitors to the Festival enjoy a variety of music around the grounds, including a regular rotation outside The Grotto Gift Shop.

The hammered dulcimer players are fun to watch, as well as listen to. You may also find a violinist, guitarist, or flutist performing.

Below: Hammered dulcimer player John Keys. When asked what he likes best about performing at the Festival, he said " The people, especially the children. I have met people from around the world who have shared their stories of how music has touched them. We sometimes share a song together."
Below: Tricia Fairman performs at the 2019 Christmas Festival of Lights.
Spring Alleluia Concert Series

This annual event begins the weekend after Easter and continues through Mother's Day. Choirs from around the region perform in the Chapel of Mary on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

This event is free to all.

Below: The Corner Children's Choir from West Linn performs.
Portland Boychoir Performs
The Portland Boychoir performs each year as part of the Spring Alleluia Concert Series. The video quality isn't great in this, but the sound is beautiful.

Concerts in the Upper Gardens

Local pianist Michael Allen Harrison has been a great friend to The Grotto for many years, generously performing at benefit concerts and at the Christmas Festival of Lights.

Below: Michael Allen Harrison performs on the lawn in the Upper Gardens.
Calling on Angels
Listen to Michael Allen Harrison perform his original song "Calling on Angels" at The Grotto Concert on the Lawn.

Concerts in the Plaza

With the cliff backdrop, The Grotto Plaza is a great spot for concerts. The natural acoustics are wonderful, and the atmosphere is spectacular. The sounds of the symphony seem to call the birds, including hawks who are frequently seen soaring above.

Below (and headline photo at top): The Portland Wind Symphony performs outdoors in The Grotto Plaza.
Fr. Jack Topper on Bass Drum
When the Portland Wind Symphony visited in 2014, they asked Fr. Jack Topper, OSM, Executive Director of The Grotto from 1991-2014, to play the bass drum in the finale of the 1812 Overture.

Visiting Choirs

The Grotto enjoys hosting school choirs who are visiting Portland and have come to the Chapel of Mary to prepare for an upcoming event or competition.

Visitors who happen to be at The Grotto at the time of one of these short practice concerts are in for a real treat. It is always fun to watch the faces of the choir members when they hear themselves enhanced by the amazing acoustics.
Mt. View High School
After their concert in the Chapel of Mary, the Mt. View High School Choir treated everyone to a song in front of The Grotto.

Recorded in 2016.

The Music of Nature

At The Grotto, our 62-acre sanctuary in the middle of the city is home to thousands of birds and other wildlife.

Listening to the sounds of nature is one of the many things that adds to the peace and tranquility of the gardens.
Listen to the Birds Singing
Enjoy the sounds of birds singing on a lovely spring day in The Grotto Upper Gardens.

This was recorded April 28, 2020. Do you think they are wondering where all the people are?

We can't wait to welcome you all back to hear their joyous sounds.

Sing of the Lord's Goodness

By Ernest Sands

Sing of the Lord’s goodness, Father of all wisdom,
Come to him and bless his name.
Mercy he has shown us, his love is forever,
Faithful to the end of days.

Come, then, all you nations,
Sing of your Lord’s goodness,
Melodies of praise and thanks to God.
Ring out the Lord’s glory,
Praise him with your music,
Worship him and bless his name.

Praise him with your singing,
Praise him with the trumpet,
Praise God with the lute and harp,
Praise him with the cymbals,
Praise him with your dancing,
Praise God till the end of days.
Mass Enrollment Cards
Perpetual Enrollment in The Grotto’s Guild of Masses and Prayer honors yourself, your family or your loved ones, and provides support for The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.

Music at The Grotto Gift Shop

The Grotto Gift Shop is open for curbside pick-up or online shipping during our closure. You can shop online, or check out our Curbside Shopping page on our website.

If you do not see what you are looking for, feel free to contact our director of retail operations by  clicking here .

The Grotto Gift Shop has many music CDs available for purchase, including a live performance recording of Michael Allen Harrison at the Christmas Festival of Lights. Check out our curbside shopping page for more information.
Mother's Day Shopping

Looking for something for Mother's Day?

How about a Gift Certificate to The Grotto Gift Shop? They are available online or for curbside pickup.
The Series

We hope you are enjoying our daily feature A Place of Sanctuary: Bringing The Grotto to You.

Week 1
St. Francis of Assisi
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
St. Anne's Chapel
St. Joseph's Grove
The Marilyn Moyer Meditation Chapel
Spring in the Garden
Our Lady's Grotto

Week 2
St. Jude Thaddeus
Statue of Mary, Our Mother
The Pollinator Garden
St. Philip Benizi's Retreat
Pathways of The Grotto
St. Peregrine Shrine
The Servites

Week 3
Here Light Shines
The Peace Garden
Looking Up
Feast of Our Lady at the Foot of the Cross
The Rose Garden
Palm Sunday, The Christus Garden

Week 4
Crosses and Crucifixes
Sacred Heart Statue
Angels of The Grotto
Holy Thursday of The Lord's Supper
Good Friday, Stations of the Cross
Holy Saturday, Via Matris
Easter Sunday

Week 5
The Forest
Blessing of the Animals
Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine
Colors of The Grotto
Mysteries of the Rosary
Lighting a Candle
Chapel of Mary

Week 6
Come to the Water
Our Lady of Lavang Shrine
Celebrating God's Creation
Our Lady of Lourdes
The Labyrinth
Looking Out a Window
How The Grotto Began

Week 7
The Cliff and Elevator
Lithuanian Wayside Shrine
The Grotto by the Numbers
Today: Music at The Grotto
Tomorrow: May Flowers
The Grotto
The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother

NE 85th & Sandy Blvd.
Portland, Oregon