EMMITSBURG, Md. (AP) — A Roman Catholic landmark in Emmitsburg that attracts pilgrims from around the world is getting a $2.7 million visitor center.

Mount St. Mary’s University said Wednesday the 5,000-square-foot building will welcome hundreds of thousands of people a year to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes.

The 130-year-old shrine is a replica of a cave in Lourdes, France, where the faithful believe the mother of Jesus appeared to a French schoolgirl beginning in 1858.

University officials say the structure will house a conference room, gallery, gift shop and administrative offices. Completion is expected in early 2013.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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