Diocesan faithful invited to Fatima anniversary event at Bishop Connolly on October 13

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor

FALL RIVER, Mass. — The newly-acquired statue of Our Lady of Fatima that will welcome guests to Bishop Connolly High School on October 13, the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s final apparition to three Portuguese shepherd children, is, as school principal E. Christopher Myron told
The Anchor, “an image of Our Lady who is not just the mother of God, but the mother of us all.”

“She looks beautiful,” Myron continued about the Italian-made figure. “Her face has a slight smile, a gentle smile, as she looks on us with loving care. She resonates innocence, and exudes her love for us as a gentle protector, letting us know not to be afraid, even in these trying times.”

The image of Our Lady of Fatima, which will become a permanent fixture on the Bishop Connolly grounds, will be revealed, dedicated and blessed by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., during the October 13 centennial event.

The bishop has extended a warm invitation to all faithful in the diocese to come to Bishop Connolly High School, 373 Elsbree Street in Fall River, for the celebration beginning at 1 p.m.

The afternoon will begin with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the school auditorium.

Throughout the afternoon Confessions will be heard in the gym; the Rosary will be recited at the statue; and a looping documentary about Our Lady of Fatima will be shown in the Bay Coast Atrium at the school.

The idea of a diocesan-wide celebration of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s final appearance at Fatima was spawned from Myron’s desire for a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to be a permanent sight on the Connolly grounds.

“In March 2017 Chris Myron asked me to join him and others who had been praying about a statue of Our Lady for Bishop Connolly High School,” said Marian Desrosiers, director of the diocesan Pro-Life Apostolate. “After praying for several months and looking extensively online for a statue, I decided to call Chris in June and tell him I had not seen anything that struck me. I prayed one last time and asked Our Lady to just please give me an idea of what she wanted.  It was then a strong thought came to me: Fatima — Oct. 13, 2017.”

From there a committee was created, including Myron and Desrosiers, Beth Mahoney, John E. Kearns Jr. and Deacon Alan Thadeu, to plan the event.

“From that day forward a beautiful plan, set forth by Our Lady, has evolved into a diocesan-wide event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of our Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal,” Desrosiers told The Anchor. “It seemed very clear from the beginning, like any mother, Our Lady wanted to share this day with all of us, ‘her children.’”

“The statue will be very appealing, especially to young people,” said Myron. “Her countenance will resonate with them, and they will be attracted to the love and gentleness she portrays. And the statue will not only appeal to the young, but all of us, God’s children.

“We are so fortunate to have a bishop who embraces and loves Mary, that this event was able to come about. His happiness about doing this is so extraordinary. Wow. That just doesn’t happen everywhere. We are so fortunate.

“Our Lady is calling us all together — to celebrate Mass, to pray the Rosary, to utilize the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for Benediction and for blessings.”

Our Lady of Fatima’s final apparition to the three children was the culmination of her efforts to use the three visionaries to help change the hardened hearts of the world and for the conversion of sinners.

Our Sunday Visitor wrote of that day in 1917: “The most dramatic of the apparitions, some 55,000 people gathered on a rainy day near Cova da Iria in Fatima and witnessed the ‘miracle of the sun.’ Some 20,000 other people witnessed the miracle from as far away as 25 miles. The sun started spinning and grew larger. It looked like it was going to fall on the earth. People fell to their knees in fear. The people then noticed that their clothes were completely dry even though they had been standing in the rain for some time. Even unbelievers and skeptics witnessed the phenomenon. The secular newspaper, O Século, had a front page story on ‘How the sun danced at midday in Fatima.’

“While the people were looking at the miracle of the sun, the three children saw a sequence of apparitions. St. Joseph was seen with the Christ Child, and they appeared to bless the world. The Blessed Mother was seen robed in white with a blue mantel; then she appeared as Our Lady of Sorrows and then as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Lady revealed her identity to the children as ‘Our Lady of the Rosary.’ She asked them to pray the Rosary every day and to have a chapel built at Cova da Iria, the site of the apparitions.”

Desrosiers told The Anchor, “Bishop da Cunha was extremely receptive and excited about this day and also encouraged the development of educational packets for our youth.  

“This is a great evangelizing moment and an opportunity to come together and pray, especially the Rosary, for peace in our homes, our nation and our world.”

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