United Nations International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima

One of four in the World coming to the Diocese of Alexandria! May 23-25

May 23:  St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Alexandria

9:00 a.m. -- Confessions
10:00 a.m. -- Procession of Knights of Columbus/Peter Claver
                   Rosary and Consecration
                   Presentation by Rev. Chad Partain
                   Veneration of the Statue
12:05 p.m. -- Mass
1:00 p.m. -- Rosary and Veneration
2:00 p.m. -- Presentation on “The Story of Fatima” by Judith Studer, international custodian of the statue
3:00 p.m. -- Chaplet of Mercy
                   Veneration of 1st  class relics of Jacinta and Francisco Marto

May 24: St. Anthony of Padua Church, Bunkie

9:00 a.m. -- Arrival, greeting, and enthronement of Our Lady
                   Prayers of tribute and blessing
                   Holy Rosary -- Glorious Mysteries
10:00 a.m. -- Procession of Roses by St. Anthony school children and assembly
                   Concelebrated Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the priests of the Avoyelles deanery
                   Rev. Scott Chemino, homilist
11:00 a.m. -- Presentation by Judith Studer, international custodian of the statue
                   Holy Rosary -- Joyful Mysteries
                   Act of Consecration
12:00 Noon -- Silent Meditation
1:00 p.m. -- Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
                   Adoration, Silent Meditation
2:00 p.m. -- Holy Rosary -- Sorrowful Mysteries
                   Silent Meditation
3:00 p.m. -- Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
                   Concluding prayers

May 25: Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Natchitoches

6:00 a.m. -- Confessions
6:30 a.m. -- Celebration of Mass
12:00 Noon -- Procession and Veneration of the Statue
                   Reflection by Father Brian Seiler
2:00 p.m. -- Holy Rosary
2:30 p.m. -- Presentation on “The Story of Fatima”  by Judith Studer, international custodian of the statue
3:00 p.m. -- Chaplet of Mercy
                   Veneration of 1st  class relics of Jacinta and Francisco Marto

About the Statue

The United Nations International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is one of four statues like this made in the world.  It was sculpted by Jose Riveria Thidhem and blessed by Pope Pius XII in 1947. As the statue travels the world on an airplane with custodian Judith Studer, she is not shipped as “freight” but occupies her own (purchased) seat on the airplane.

A Plenery Indulgence is granted to anyone who participates in any of the events above and adheres to all the usual conditions of gaining an indulgence.

Our Lady of Fatima’s message still relevant 100 years later

Guest Editorial by Greg Wasson
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church, Alexandria

In his homily of May 13, 1982 at Fatima, Portugal one year after the assassination attempt on his life, St. John Paul II spoke with supernatural clarity about the Message of Fatima:

The appeal of the Lady of the message of Fatima is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the message imposes a commitment on her. For this very reason the evangelical call to repentance and conversion, uttered in the Mother’s message, remains ever relevant. It is still more relevant than it was 100 years ago. It is still more urgent.

Jesus called for repentance and conversion. The message of Fatima also calls for conversion and repentance. The message of Fatima is so much the fruit of the Gospel preached by Mary’s Son and his Apostles, that the Pope says it “imposes a commitment on” the Church. This language ofJohn Paul II could not be more emphatic. He seems to place the apparitions of Fatima above all others. Above, in so far as they are most conformed to the Gospel. And this is why Fatima remains “ever relevant.” As long as the Gospel is relevant, Fatima will remain relevant.

Revelation, with a capital “R” is the word we use to describe the public disclosure of Truth by Jesus, his Apostles, and the prophets before them. It ended with the death of the last Apostle. Revelation is closed. There will be no more new Revelation. But the Church will ever develop what has already been revealed.

Revelation with a little “r” is the word used by the Church to describe the “private” revelation of truths unveiled since the death of the last Apostle.  According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (Verbum Domini), apparitions or “private” revelation is an aid to living the Gospel at a particular time.

Fatima is “private revelation.” In The Message of Fatima the Vatican said: “it is certainly the most prophetic of modern private revelations.” This important distinction is made by Pope Emeritus Benedict along with the Catechism of The Catholic Church, binding private revelation to a particular time in history.
St. John Paul II said Fatima is “ever relevant.” He certainly cannot mean for this to be literal in detail. World War I and World War II are over. Russia has spread and still spreads her errors; the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart has been made, First Saturday is established, the “O Jesus” antiphon is said with practically every rosary. What remains “ever relevant” in Fatima is what remains ever relevant in the Gospel: the call to Repentance.

Michael Gaitley, MIC, in his book Divine Mercy Explained, relates why God revealed the Divine Mercy Message in our time. He believes Pope John Paul II would say that it was because “evil has a reach and power in our day like never before.” Gaitley says that “our time is marked by unprecedented evil.” However, he claims, as the Apostle Paul did in Romans – where sin increased, grace abounded all the more – that God will not abandon us nor be overcome by evil. “John Paul would say “Be not afraid.”

Nonetheless, before we can receive mercy we must repent. God will not force himself on us. We have to approach him with contrite hearts for the torrents of the Divine Mercy to reach us. We must repent. Thus we see how the Messages of Fatima and Divine Mercy supplement and complement one another.

We can hear today the call to repentance in Fatima which anticipates and supports the Divine Mercy, “ever relevant,” ever deeply rooted in the Gospel.

About Our Lady of Fatima

On May 13, 1917, three simple shepherd children near the town of Fatima, Portugal, experienced their first apparition of Our Blessed Mother.

On the 13th day of the next six months, siblings Jacinta, age 7, and Francisco Marto, age 9,  and their cousin Lucia Dos Santos, age 10 -- witnessed six divine visions of Our Lady.

Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that She had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century.

Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war  (WWI) and bloody violence, She promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if Her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.

Our Lady of Fatima explained to the children that war is a punishment for sin and warned that God would further castigate the world for its disobedience to His Will by means of war, hunger and the persecution of the Church, the Holy Father and the Catholic Faithful.

God’s Mother prophesied that Russia would be God’s chosen “instrument of chastisement,” spreading the “errors” of atheism and materialism across the earth, fomenting wars, annihilating nations and persecuting the Faithful everywhere.

“If My requests are not granted, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martryed, the Holy Father will suffer much and various nations will be annihilated.”

In all Her appearances at Fatima, the Blessed Mother repeatedly emphasized the necessity of praying the Rosary daily, of wearing the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice.

To prevent the terrible chastisement at the hands of Russia and to convert “that poor nation”, Our Lady requested the solemn public Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world.

She also asked that the Faithful practice a new devotion of reparation on the first Saturday of five consecutive months (“The Five First Saturdays”)

The heart of Our Lady’s message to the world is contained in what has come to be called the “Secret” which She confided to the three child seers in July 1917. The Secret actually consists of three parts, the first two of which have been publicly revealed.

The first part of the Secret was a horrifying Vision of hell “where the souls of poor sinners go” and contained an urgent plea from Our Lady for acts of prayer and sacrifice to save souls.

The second part of the Secret specifically prophesied the outbreak of World War II and contained the Mother of God’s solemn request for the Consecration of Russia as a condition for world peace. It also predicted the inevitable triumph of Her Immaculate Heart following Russia’s consecration and the conversion “of that poor nation” to the Catholic Faith.

The last part of the Secret (often called the “Third Secret”) has not yet been made public, but was written down by Lucy Dos Santos, the last living Fatima seer, in 1944 and has been in the possession of the Holy See since 1957. Most informed sources speculate that this portion of the Secret concerns chaos in the Catholic Church, predicting widespread apostasy and a loss of faith beginning in the seventh decade of the 20th Century.

The final apparition

On Oct. 13, 1917 -- the last of the six apparitions, it was a stormy, rainy day.  Our Lady had promised a miracle that day as a public sign of her real presence there. An estimated crowd of 70,000 people showed up in the rain with their umbrellas.

As the final apparition began, the child seers saw a flash of light and Mary appeared before them. Lucia asked what she wanted today and she responded, “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”

As before, Lucia told the Blessed Mother the petitions people had requested of her, to which She responded, “Some, yes; others, no. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.” Then she grew sadder and said, “They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended.” Lucia then asked, “Do you want anything more?” to which Mary responded, “Nothing more.”

Rising into the air and opening her hands towards the sun, she pointed towards the sun with light emanating from Her hands. Later, Lucia did not remember shouting, “There she goes! There she goes!” At the same time, the clouds parted and the sun appeared as a dull grey disk, pale as the moon.

To the left of the sun, the children saw Saint Joseph from the chest up, holding the Child Jesus. Together they made the Sign of the Cross three times over the world. To the right of the sun, Our Lady was dressed in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Lucia was given the privilege of seeing Our Lord dressed in red as the Divine Redeemer, from the chest up, blessing the world. Beside Him stood Our Lady dressed now in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows. Finally, She appeared clothed in the simple brown robes of Mount Carmel.

The Miracle of the Sun

As the crowd watched, they did not see all the visions to which the children were favored, but they were able to gaze directly at the sun as it faded and glowed in different ways. It gave off amazing shafts of colorful light in various directions as it appeared to spin and dance. 

Suddenly, it appeared to zig-zag downward, hurtling toward the people. Many screamed out in terror, many begging for mercy, others praying the Act of Contrition.  As suddenly as it had appeared to be falling toward them, the sun swerved back into its orbit and took its normal place. The rain had stopped and everything, including the muddy ground, was dry. The promised miracle had indeed occurred as promised.

After the Apparitions

As predicted by Our Lady in the 2nd apparition, Francisco and Jacinta Marto died shortly after of the international flu pandemic that started in 1918.  Francisco died on April 4, 1919 at the age of 10 and Jacinta died on Feb. 20, 1920 at the age of 9.

At the age of 14, Lucia was sent to the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy (Dorothean) in Vilar, Portugal.  In 1925, she received another apparition from Our Lady and this time, she was asked to convey the message of the First Saturday Devotions.

In October 1930, after a canonical inquiry, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima officially declared the visions of Fatima as “worthy of belief” officially permitting the devotion to  Our Lady of Fatima.

In 1947, Sister Lucia left the Dorothean order and joined the Discalced Carmelite Order in Coimbra, Portugal.  Lucia died on Feb. 13, 2005 at the age of 97.

In March 2017 the Holy See announced that Pope Francis will canonize two of the visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco, on on May 13, 2017 at a Mass in Fatima during a two day visit. The decision followed papal confirmation of a miracle attributed to the intercession of the two visionaries.

Sister Lucia’s cause for sainthood is still in progress. Popes Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI have all voiced their acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fatima events.