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Experience the Shrine

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A vision inspired by
the Holy Spirit.

Individually, our Chapel and Visitor Center provide places to learn, gather, reflect and pray. Together, they make up the Holy Family Shrine experience. Learn more about the design and symbolism behind our buildings, as well as the artistic features and peaceful location that set us apart.

The Chapel

When you exit our Visitor Center, you will enter a courtyard that features a path and stream leading to the Chapel, as well as a path to the grotto dedicated to our blessed Mother Mary. You will also notice the Chapel entry façade, which is made of western red cedar and glass. The upper web members of the trusses interlace like waving wheat in a field, thus reminding us of Jesus, who is “the Bread of Life.”

Inside the chapel, the stream continues to cut through the floor, but splits to each side of the aisle, increasing in volume and velocity. Limestone “bridges” over the water allow you to enter each pew, recalling our baptism. The water culminates and flows into a pool beneath the altar, symbolically joining our spirituality with the Eucharist.

Glass windows between columns serve as the Chapel walls. Above the altar, the largest window of the Chapel shows an image of the Holy Family gently etched in glass. Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament, is always present in the tabernacle behind the altar.

Visitor Center & Gift Shop

Upon arrival to the Holy Family Shrine, you’ll notice the colorful landscape highlighting the entrance to the Visitor Center. Designed in the shape of a cross, the Visitor Center is carved out of the side of a hill to evoke Christ’s tomb.

In the middle of the room, hanging from a skylight, is a sculpture representing the shroud of Christ as it fell to the tomb at the Resurrection. From the sculpture, water appears. Symbolic of the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the source is perceived to be invisible. As the pool fills with water and exits the Visitor Center, we, with the presence of the Holy Spirit, are led back to the Church – and the Body of Christ.

Twelve storyboards displayed on the walls of the Center provide the story of how the Shrine came to be. Additionally, a conference room is available for quiet study and may also be rented for retreats and meetings and can accommodate up to 25-30 people.

The Gift Shop carries a variety of religious and inspirational items and gifts, including Holy Family Shrine ornaments and t-shirts.

The Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross trail is a testament to Jesus’s sacrifice that saved us from our sins. It provides travelers with an opportunity to strengthen their faith and pays homage to Jesus for His passion, suffering and death.

The entire trail is about the same distance that Jesus carried the cross. Located at the beginning of the trail, the statue of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane was blessed by Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss on March 28, 2013. Along with a cross, a bench and kneeler are positioned at each station. The fourteenth station of Jesus’s tomb is nestled in the trees at the end of the trail.

A printed guide is available in the Visitor Center to take with you on the trail. In the future, permanent directional signage and prayer plaques will be installed at each station.

Way of the Cross


The outdoor steel Crucifix was designed to proudly proclaim the Holy Family Shrine’s Catholic identity to the public, and to draw pilgrims and travelers in from the highway.

We die with Christ in the tomb and rise with him in the chapel. He leads us out into the landscape. We follow him, carrying our crosses into the world and reaching out to others. The Crucified Christ faces the interstate to embrace all who gaze upon it. The Cross, made of stainless steel tubing, is approximately 40 feet tall (one foot for each day of Lent), and weighs 2,820 pounds. The figure of Christ is just over 8 feet tall, made of cast bronze, and weighs 528 pounds.

Bronze recalls the staff of the bronze serpent that Moses held up in the desert so that all who looked at it could live (Numbers 21:4-9). In the same way, as it says in John 3:14-15, “so the Son was lifted up so that all who look upon him with the eyes of faith might be saved.”

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Tour the Grounds

If you are planning a visit to Holy Family Shrine, or if you’re unable to visit in person but would like a more in-depth perspective, our video tour of the grounds is the perfect way to walk the same path so many of our pilgrims have traveled.

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Location & Contact

Holy Family Shrine
23132 Pflug Road, PO Box 507
Gretna, NE 68028


Shrine Hours

Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
Sunday noon-5pm

Mass every Saturday at 10am except Holy Days.

Closed Easter, Thanksgiving and the day after, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Closes early at 3pm Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.