The Grotto was built in 1944 by members of the US 895th Engineering Regiment with the first service therein on Easter Sunday of that year. Built to serve military personnel, the original chapel was constructed from lava rock and recycled army hut materials. While there was a stone wall surrounding the altar area sandbags were used for the outer walls and kneeling pads. The statue of Our Lady was imported from the United States. The Grotto remained in use until the US base closed in 1947.
It reopened in 1967 following the re-opening of the US base though, given 20 years of neglect, it had to be extensively renovated. This and later improvements has brought the chapel to its present look. While it now has a full roof and partial walls, the Grotto has maintained its open air atmosphere. The Grotto is now a US historical and cultural site.
The Grotto remains a functioning church, part of the Roman Catholic diocese of the South Atlantic Ocean. In the absence of a resident priest, services are conducted by lay persons.
I especially like the “stations of the cross” – rather different to what one normally sees (pictured above).
Address: Close to Wideawake Airfield
Directions: On the main road just past the main entrance to the US Base.