“You are welcome here to this holy, quiet place where God’s love is reflected in the beauty of His creation, in the smiles of our staff and in the prayers of the Friars and Sisters.”

That’s the warm online welcome from Servite Father Don Siple, rector at Portland’s National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, a site popularly known as The Grotto. During the closure, The Grotto kept in touch and sought to nourish people spiritually with daily email reflections.

But the shutdown of about 100 days is done, and the holy site has reopened in accord with state law and with COVID-19 precautions in place.

“While we are pleased to be reopening today, keeping our staff and guests safe is our number one priority,” said a press release from the sanctuary.

Visitors are being asked to wear a mask (a mask is mandatory at indoor sites, including the elevator), follow strict social distancing guidelines of six feet, abide by one-way rules on paths and accept reduced capacity in some areas. Those who feel sick are asked to wait until they feel better.

Temporary hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. daily, and admission to the upper gardens is sold until 7:30 p.m.

Daily noon Mass resumed June 22 with a 25-person limit and required signup, just as at parish churches.

The gift shop is open with staff wearing masks and sanitizing frequently, even beyond state regulations.

Guests will not need tokens or need to touch the turnstile to reach the elevator to the upper gardens.

Daily spiritual reflections will continue online, as will weekly video homilies.