In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
May 15, 2017

Celebrating Fatima: 1917 – 2017

by Connie Dunwoody

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On Sunday, May 14, 2017, Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Victoria celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to two shepherd children in Portugal. 

Mass was celebrated by Bishop Gary Gordon, with Pastor Fr. Marinaldo Batista. Also in attendance were Fr. Manuel Cardoso, who was Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima from 1992 – 2014; Fr. Vince Borre, Chaplain for Extended Health Care Facilities; Fr. Dean Henderson, Chaplain for the University of Victoria and Camosun College; Fr. Don Malins and Fr. Carl Reid from the Fellowship of Blessed Henry John Newman (Ordinariate); and Fr. Eduardo Santos, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish (Victoria).

Knights of Columbus led the procession in to Mass, followed by three children dressed as the three young visionaries of Fatima.

In his homily, Bishop Gary described four ‘Cs’ to remember in connection with Our Lady: comfort, conversion, consolation and children.

Bishop Gary recalled a visit to Portugal as a teenager, when he was faced with tap water that was not safe to drink. He remembered that in Fatima, they were able to drink the cool water, saying, “It was something refreshing, something new, something life-giving to make the children smile again. In 1917, the children in Europe were not smiling. They were suffering the Great War, and Mary came and appeared to these children. She wanted the people to be comforted ... and to be comforted, we need to turn, turn, turn, turn, to her Son, Jesus,” he said, turning slowly to face the crucifix. “And that’s the second ‘C’: from Jesus, we receive conversion.”

Conversion leads us to consolation. “Mary wants us to be consoled in the midst of the trials and tribulations of the world.”

Of the final ‘C’, children, Bishop Gary said, “To such as these belong the Kingdom of God. Children are already turned to the Lord. We have to figure out how to take care of the children. Because if the world can take care of the children, the world will have peace. That’s why our Mother spoke to the children.”

This wasn’t just a celebration of the Anniversary, however; it was an occasion for installation and blessing of relics of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the two shepherd children who were canonized by Pope Francis in Portugal on May 13, 2017, 100 years after the first appearance of Our Lady to them. The third child, their cousin Lucia Santos, is on the path to beatification.

The Parish also unveiled a 5’ painted bronze statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, crafted and donated by local sculptor Armando Baron (photo below). Bishop Gary blessed the statue, which has a ‘twin’ at  Armando’s home church in Italy. Fr. Marinaldo hopes that having a statue of Mary at the front of the church will help people feel that the parish is for everybody, and that all are welcome.

Our Lady of Fatima Parish has additional celebrations planned until October of this year, which will be the 100th Anniversary of the final appearance of Our Lady to the children.

The Catholic Register also carried a story about this celebration. Click here to read it on their website.


The beautiful stained glass window at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Victoria


Three children dressed as the three visionaries of Fatima



 


Blessing the relics



The statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, before unveiling


The beautiful inscription on the base of the statue




The painted bronze statue of Our Lady of the Rosary



Cutting the Anniversary cake, L to R: Fr. Manuel Cardoso; Bishop Gary Gordon; Fr. Marinaldo Batista; Armando Barbon


L to R: Armando Barbon, Sculptor; Bishop Gary Gordon

Photo credit: Connie Dunwoody

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