St. Lucy’s Church was built in 1937 after Msgr Pasquale Lombardo was commissioned by the diocese on June 24th, 1927 to begin a new parish in the Bronx.
After traveling to France to visit the famous grotto in Lourdes, Msgr Lombardo set out to build a replica of it on the church grounds.
The stones for the grotto were hand-cut by an Italian craftsman named Gino Brandolini. He immigrated from Italy and his family lived for three generations in the Bronx. The grotto was completed in 1939. Msgr Lombardo hoped it would provide parishioners and outside visitors the possibility of experiencing the intimate and spiritual nature of the Lourdes grotto without making a transatlantic pilgrimage. Gated within the churchyard, though easily visible from the street, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto is comprised of field stones stacked together forming a 30 foot high cave.
Steps lead up to an altar filled with candles, which are prayerfully lit by visitors. A large memorial plaque is affixed to the back wall with a list of names of some of the parish’s deceased.
Opposite the grotto are a few benches providing an area for those who wait to collect water or sit for some quiet prayer or reflection.
The Hall of Saints, a small chapel complete with various statues and pictures of the Virgin Mary is immediately adjacent to the grotto where many visitors go to continue their prayer.
Also in the chapel is a small gift shop where one can purchase various religious items including candles for use at the grotto. Each Sunday, the bell at St. Lucy’s is rung, creating the same D natural tone as the church in Lourdes, France. The grotto is open daily, morning to sunset, though may be closed during inclement weather. Behind the grotto is a replica of the Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) which are the 28 steps that Jesus Christ ascended in Jerusalem to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate.