Chapel of Mary, the Grotto, Portland, Oregon

Churches worth driving to

St. Francis statue, The Grotto, PortlandName of Church Chapel of Mary, the Grotto

Address 8840 NE Skidmore Street, Portland, Oregon 97220

Phone number (503) 254-7371


Mass times Depends on the time of the year, call or check the website.  In

Church exterior

Church exterior

November, the Mass schedule is: Sundays, 10 a.m.  Weekdays, noon.  Saturdays, 8 a.m.  There are Masses for special events, such as first Saturdays at noon, St. Peregrine Mass.  Most Masses are celebrated in the Chapel of Mary, an old church on the lower level of the property, although there is an outdoor grotto area nearby with an altar where Sunday noon Mass is celebrated during the summer, weather permitting.

Confessions  Saturdays, 11 a.m. – noon.  (Additional confession times added in Lent.)

Names of priests The Grotto is cared for by the Servite order.  Fr. Jack Topper serves as executive director of the shrine.

Special activities There are seasonal activities; they are known for their Christmas Festival of Lights, which begin this Saturday, Nov. 29 and run daily through Dec. 30.  There are special devotions.  During the Fridays of Lent at 3 p.m. you may participate in Via Matris (The Way of Our Sorrowful Mother).  On first Fridays and the Fridays of Lent 12:30 -3:30 p.m. (except

Inside church

Inside church

Good Friday), they have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction at 3:30 p.m.

Fellow parishioners Serves the local community and tourists.

Parking Free, park in the lot on the lower level.

Additional observations  The Grotto is a 62-acre shrine operated by the Servite order in East Portland.  It was established by Servite Father Ambrose Mayer in 1923;



he built it in thanksgiving to the Blessed Mother for her role in sparing the life of his mother years before when she nearly died after childbirth.  He began by carving out a grotto and building a stone altar where outdoor Masses could be celebrated.  In 1955, the shrine’s church, the Chapel of Mary, was dedicated by the Portland archbishop.  The Grotto was designated a National Sanctuary in 1983.

There are two levels.  The entry/lower level consists of a gift shop (which helps fund the facility), the outdoor grotto plaza where Mass can be celebrated, and the Chapel of Mary.  The chapel contains works of art, including some  depicting the seven holy founders of the Servite Order.  For $4.50, you can take an elevator to the upper level, which has gardens, streams and ponds, hundreds of statues,

Chapel of Mary exterior

Chapel of Mary exterior

the Servite residence, and tall fir trees for which the Pacific Northwest is famous.  There’s a great view of the city from the upper level.  It’s a place to bring a rosary and prayer book, and spend the day walking around, enjoying the grounds and (mostly) traditional Catholic art.  There are unique and special pieces;  on the upper level, look for the bronze statue of Our Sorrowful Mother blessed in the Vatican by Pope Pius XI in 1934.  You can walk the Stations of the Cross, or see images of the Mysteries of the Rosary.

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  1. Father Karl says:

    I have been to this beautiful Marian shrine several times when I was in Portland, Oregon. The Servite Order did a tremendous favor for Catholics in the Northwest when they built this impressive shrine in the midst of the breath taking scenery. Making a pilgrimage to this magnificent sanctuary, or just by visiting it, one can gain many graces not only by praying to Our Sorrowful Mother, but also by meditating on the grandeur of God’s creation. The Servite Order is to be congratulated for maintaining this wonderful shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.

  2. Whenever I can get to the Pacific Northwest, I visit the Grotto. A great place for its beauty and spiritual benefits.

  3. The Grotto is a most special and sacred place. The description above is a good one, but one must experience The Grotto in person to fully appreciate the beauty and serenity of our Lord’s handiwork there. Pax

  4. none of the pictures actually show the en-caved shrine of Mary, which is beautiful all year around, but at this time of year is transformed into a life sized nativity with lighted angels rising high above the 3 story rock edifice above the nativity scene in the cave. If you have never seen the grotto at Christmas time go to their web site and enjoy or just go there if you can. the path from the parking lot is lighted with small scenes that light up as you pass with the corresponding Christmas passages audible when the lights come on. there are carolers all evening, a petting coral for children, puppet shows, hot chocolate and Christmas lights that are truly amazing. there is a small play near the nativity…”no room at the inn” which is repeated a few times each evening. Kneeing before the nativity is an awe inspiring Christmas gift for children of all ages. The Church is open each evening as well with various choirs and vocalists from the metro area and beyond who perform beautiful musical tributes to our newborn King. Our visits there with family are some of our best Christmas memories

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