It all began with a small group of faithful people — and a shared vision.
Our Vision: To be a threshold for a prayerful encounter with the Lord.
Our Mission: To cultivate a Catholic environment of prayer, beauty and simplicity that allows the Holy Spirit to act in the hearts of all who visit.
Our Story: The story of the Holy Family Shrine begins with the intervention of the Holy Spirit within a small group of people – people from diverse backgrounds who had little chance to meet until the Holy Spirit united them spiritually with a vision of the Holy Family Shrine. Through a unique and divine series of events, they discovered they had been enlightened to the same idea: to create a place off of Interstate 80 for travelers to pray and discover the Catholic faith. These travelers would not only be of the road, but of a spiritual voyage on earth.
After two years of searching for a perfect site for the Holy Family Shrine, a site located off the Gretna exit, in the bluffs overlooking the Platte Valley, was secured.
The purpose of the Holy Family Shrine is to provide opportunity for all people to discover and develop their faith – a respite from the convoluted influences that camouflage and distort the origins of that faith.
The shrine intends to call the desire within people’s hearts through developments that do not distract, but are complementary to the Holy Spirit. The example of the Holy Family serves as the model for responding to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Our goal is to demonstrate these examples through contemplative environments and features: our Visitor Center, Chapel, Way of the Cross trail, and Crucifix spire.
Shrine Building & Ground Hours
Regularly Scheduled Mass
Saturday at 10am
Summer First Friday
Open until 9:00 p.m. on the first Friday of every month during the summer.
A Vision: The Introduction
At about the same time, in 1993, four people were inspired, each in different ways and in different places, to build a chapel for travelers of the road and of the spirit. Possessing only a vision, the four people – a priest, a wife and mother, and two architects – set out to make this dream a reality.
After two years of searching for a perfect site for the Holy Family Shrine, a site was secured, here in the bluffs overlooking the Platte Valley. The purpose of the Holy Family Shrine is to provide an opportunity for people to discover and develop their faith; an opportunity without the convoluted influences that camouflage and distort the origin of the Catholic faith.
The Mission, Continued
The Shrine intends to call the desire within the human heart through developments that do not distract, but are complementary to the Holy Spirit. For, “One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is.” It is with premise that the Holy Family Shrine relies solely on the intervention of the Holy Spirit to discover and develop the faith within visitors.
Over the next two years, the group expanded from four to seven people. After some logistical and financial setbacks, they finally found their current site – and the land was paid for entirely by a benefactor who felt “the vision read like a prayer.” He would be the first of many individuals to answer the call of the Holy Spirit and give without condition to assure God’s will be done.
After a pause in the design process, brought on by uncertainty as to whether the design was human will or God’s will, several events led the team to be cleansed with the confidence that the design was God’s will. The project began with the construction of the parking lot and visitor center in 1997.
The Design, Continued
In 1999 enough funding was secured to begin the chapel. Shortly after a windstorm collapsed the original chapel after only a week of work, consequently the team grew even stronger in their mission to see Gods vision realized.
Due to the intricacy of the design, only a three-carpenter crew could work on the project. As a result, two and half years were necessary to complete the Shrine. Finally, in July 2002, the visitor center and chapel were opened to the public.
Elements of Design
The Holy Family Shrine is situated on a 23-acre site overlooking the Platte Valley. The native blue stem prairie has been reestablished to the original form God presented, before man manipulated it. Likewise, the shrine challenges us to reestablish the godly origin in our lives.
Elements of Design
The Chapel features a limestone foundation, water, glass, metal and other organic materials imbued with meaning. The simplistic and modest design is purposeful to suggest how we may live to obtain the beauty and harmony of God’s will.
Elements of Design: Practical Facts
When viewed in our Visitor Center, this storyboard features helpful details on the construction, features and dimensions of the Chapel – helping to convey the thoughtful nature of its design.
Elements of Design: Practical Facts
The founding group was able to pool personal talents and resources together to serve as owner, designer, and contractor. Due to the need to be flexible with phasing, funding, and design, this approach served to allow God’s hand to be present always and guarded the project against any compromise.
Why build it?
Since the inception of the Holy Family Shrine many questions have been asked. Some of them have been practical, some curious, and some philosophical. The most challenging and complicated question has been “Why do anything?” The founders of the shrine faced this question continuously as they encountered adversity and challenges. They are drawn to the words of Mother Theresa, in explaining the importance of doing good in the face of evil and uncertainty.
More Helpful Answers
Our storyboard features more helpful answers and insight into the building process – from “Why the Holy Family” and “What is a Shrine?” to reasons for considering a pilgrimage the Shrine.
WANT TO VOLUNTEER
Find out how you can lend a hand in growing and sustaining our vision.
It is here that the Holy Spirit stirs the supernatural sense of faith to seek the truth.
Share your story
The unique beauty, peaceful and spiritual setting of the Shrine has drawn many people from all denomination to this Holy place, transforming their spirituality, and bringing them closer to Christ. This is why we have so many inspiring testimonials and the reason so many continue to support our mission.
“Such a beautiful testament to God's creation and The Holy Family. Thank you for providing a place of such simple, yet breathtaking beauty.”Ray Jackson
“While the world is stealing away our moral and ethical values - this Shrine is a place of refuge and hope.”Sam Murray
“Incredible experience! PEACE among the blur of human busyness - a stark reminder of what and Who is important in our lives.”Jake Smith
“My sister and i love to come here! Today we met Tom, a volunteer. He made my day. I think he was my gift from God.”Alice Johnson