When Father Gregory Abbott, pastor of St. Bernard, Cologne, and Church of the Ascension, Norwood-Young America, found out that the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima would be touring the archdiocese, he was one of the first priests to offer to host it.
“It is a good thing to do,” he said. “As a new pastor, I need all the help I can get and this gives us another way to be intentional about our prayer.”
The statue was blessed by Pope Paul VI and given to America by the Bishop of Fatima in 1967. It has been entrusted to the World Apostolate of Fatima to travel throughout the United States and its territories as if on a pilgrimage, spreading the message of Fatima to the American people.
Father Abbott uses one word to explain what he hopes will come from the statue’s visit.
“Conversion,” he said, “Conversion to Jesus Christ. We are not a special case here, we all need to love the Lord more. Since she is the one that loved Jesus the most, she can teach us to love Jesus more.”
The tour kicks off on April 6 at St. Joseph in West St. Paul during the World Apostolate of Fatima Marian Congress, “A Time for Faith-A Time for ‘Fiat,’” featuring keynote speaker, Bishop Lee Piché. It will then travel to approximately 25 parishes and schools throughout the month of April.
The statue will arrive at St. Bernard on April 10 and spend the day there from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with eucharistic adoration all day.
Bill Sockey, the National Custodian of the Statue for the World Apostolate of Fatima USA, will accompany the statue to each parish. He will present informational talks throughout the day to both adult and youth faith formation groups.
“Blessed Pope John Paul II thought that the statue was so important to help us in creating a personal devotion to the Eucharist through the rosary and reconciliation,” Sockey said.
“During the tour, we ask people to prayerfully make a commitment to pray the angel prayer and make a morning offering as reparation for the sins of our country,” he said. More than 40,000 people have made this commitment in just three years.
While the statue is present, Father Abbot invites everyone to pray the rosary at noon and the divine chaplet at 3 p.m.
“There will also be much time for silent prayer in the company of Mary,” said Father Abbot. “We are blessed to have this opportunity during the Year of Faith. We will focus on the importance of prayer – that everything that is good begins with prayer, continues with prayer and reaches fulfillment with prayer.”
The children at St. Bernard School also will have the opportunity to pray with the statue during a school Mass that morning.
“The school kids have three Masses each week,” said Father Abbott. “At the end of each Mass, we pray the Angel Prayer three times, just as Our Lady of Fatima asked us to do.
“It is a wonderful connection for the school kids,” he continued. “We were praying this with the kids and in the parish before this opportunity arose..”
For more on the Marian conference or to see a full schedule of the tour, visit http://www.fatimaonline.org.
Category: Local News