Fatima at Home and Abroad
By Gail Finke (from our print edition)
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr led a prayer service at the cathedral on the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal.
Held at 7 p.m. on Friday Oct. 13, at the height of high school football season and in the middle a new Cincinnati festival that drew an estimated 1 million people to the city, the procession and rosary service packed the cathedral with people of all ages.
Patterned after evening processions at the immense basilica in Fatima, Portugal, the evening began with participants massed on the cathedral steps with lit candles. As a statue of Our Lady carried on a golden bier covered in white roses was carried up the stairs, the people, singing “Immaculate Mary,” followed it into the vast gold and white cathedral. Last of all, preceded by an honor guard of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus from several area Councils, Archbishop Schnurr and his attendants processed through the singing crowd for a night of scripture readings, the rosary in a variety of languages, and Marian music by the Archdiocesan Adult Choir.
Tucked beneath the foot of the table where the statue was set during the services was something many in the cathedral probably missed: A small brown box. It contained all the prayers sent in to Bishop Joseph R. Binzer and the pilgrims from the archdiocese who accompanied him on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, and other Marian sites in France, Spain, and Portugal just weeks before. Bishop Binzer carried the box throughout the pilgrimage and the group prayed for all the intentions at every site. Many of the pilgrims reunited at the service, one final pilgrimage stop where the prayers were remembered one last time.
Millions of people celebrated the centennial of the apparitions at Fatima, one of the most popular Marian devotions in the world. Here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, parishes have observed the centennial in many ways: holding lectures, showing films, praying novenas or the rosary, assembling for rosary rallies, holding retreats, celebrating special Masses, and more. The National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, maintained by the Washington, D.C.-based organization America Needs Fatima, made stops at more than 20 area parishes for veneration and prayer.
During his homily at the cathedral celebration, Archbishop Schnurr remarked that Fatima is unique in that Our Lady’s once-mysterious predictions are now all in the past. The wars she said would be fought, and even the enigmatic shooting predicted in the famous “Third Secret,” have all taken place.
Perhaps Our Lady’s lasting message, he said, was not any of those dire predictions, but the vision of Hell she gave to the three peasant children she visited. Many people consider such a vision, especially one seen by children, as “horrific,” Archbishop Schnurr said. But a loving mother, he continued, shows her children not just the bad things that can happen to them, but how to avoid those bad things. At a time when polls show many Catholics are so poorly catechized that they don’t understand the Eucharist, Archbishop Schnurr said, it’s important that we remember the importance of prayer and of sacrifice, and that we ask Our Lady to bring us to her Son.
More Fatima coverage:
Fatima procession at St. Mary Parish, Dayton
Pilgrim Virgin Statue visits Cincinnati’s Maronite parish
Our new media editor, Greg Hartman, reports from Fatima: Part one
Our new media editor, Greg Hartman, reports from Fatima: Final reflections
Prayer requests for pilgrims: more than personal intentions
Fatima procession at Indian Lake
Memories of Mary: Pilgrim letter sent to Bishop Joseph R. Binzer (reproduced with permission):
Dear Bishop Joe –
We have met but not often. I’m a retired Precious Blood priest – age 91. Thanks for your wonderful article in “The Catholic Telegraph” received today.
Now the following is all about Lourdes, France.
I was drafted into WWII right out of high school in 1944. After 13 weeks of training in Alabama I was sent to Germany to help finish off the war there in1945. While waiting to leave Europe to go to the Pacific to help finish off WWII I was in Lourdes. It was then & there that I fell in love with Mary, mother of Jesus. Oh, I wrote my Mom several letters from Lourdes, telling her how much I love Mary our Mother of Lourdes. I had never heard of Lourdes but it was while there that I think my vocation to the priesthood began. I thank God & Mary for Lourdes and my priestly calling.
Have a good trip & use the enclosed check for whatever you desire.
Peace & love,
Father Tom Beischel
For more on the 2017 Pilgrimage click here