More than 40 million people are visiting Orlando each year. They are coming from every state, and from across the world. Some five million of these annual visitors are Catholic. Hence the need for an appropriate – and unifying – place of worship. And no place could be more appropriately unifying than a shrine dedicated in the name of Mary, Queen of the Universe.

As Catholics we look to Mary, Mother of God, for inspiration, encouragement and help in our lives. Her words in the first chapter of Luke's Gospel – “My Being proclaims the greatness of the Lord” – provide motivation in our Christian daily living to place God above and beyond all else.

But equally important – the area's teeming tourist population gives us a marvelous opportunity for evangelization and witness for Catholicism. And the Basilica provides the facilities needed for worship, teaching and witness. Indeed, vacationers may come simply to pause in tranquil surroundings and commune with their Creator and Lord.