The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal arrived in Matagalpa in 2008, establishing their residence and eventually constructing the Convent of Saint Anthony. From this base, they attend to the evangelization needs of the poor, the sick, prisoners, and young people.
In 2008, Father John Anthony Boughton and Sydney Pratt, the man who initially envisioned the Shrine, crossed paths. Pratt presented Father John Anthony with the idea of erecting a Cross at the summit of Apante, the tallest peak surrounding Matagalpa. This idea stemmed from a prophetic dream Pratt had, in which Saint John Paul II entrusted him with the project.
Initially met with a refusal because the Community "did not make crosses in the mountains," it would take four years and a process of discerning God's will before Father John Anthony accepted the task. Construction commenced in 2011.
The Cross in the Center of America
At the summit of Apante stands a 33-meter Cross flanked by a 12-meter image of the patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe. This serves as a reminder to all that the victory of Christ over evil is the true source of peace. Here, in the center of the Americas, the Holy Spirit is drawing thousands from around the world to pray for peace in their hearts, families, and the world. They follow the 2-kilometer stations of the cross leading to the top of Apante, the Mountain of Peace.