With feast-day Mass, seeking Mary’s aid

| May 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

FatimastatuealoneOn May 13, 1917, three children of Fatima, Portugal, were tending sheep when Mary appeared to them. She would appear to them five more times before October 13 of that year, sharing with them messages on the need for conversion; visions of heaven, hell and a “dancing sun” reportedly viewed by thousands; and a three-part “secret” that has been the source of much intrigue in the decades since.

Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima spread. It was her intercessory protection credited for saving the life of St. John Paul II in 1981 after he was shot during an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square, and the pope was known to have an interest in the messages she shared with the children.

In his 2002 apostolic letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” (“On the Most Holy Rosary”), St. John Paul II wrote, “Well-known are the occasions in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries on which the Mother of Christ made her presence felt and her voice heard, in order to exhort the people of God to this form of contemplative prayer.”

Pointing to the Marian apparitions at Fatima and to St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France, in 1858, the pope commended “their great influence on the lives of Christians and the authoritative recognition they have received from the Church,” adding, “these shrines continue to be visited by great numbers of pilgrims seeking comfort and hope.”

Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day, May 13, coincides with Archbishop Bernard Hebda’s Mass of Installation. He visited Fatima last year and “found it to be a place of great peace and great encouragement,” he said.

Father John Ubel, pastor of the Cathedral of St. Paul, commissioned the restoration of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima for the installation Mass. Archbishop Hebda is expected to pray before it briefly after processing into the Mass.

“Certainly knowing that Our Lady is so involved and so interested with a mother’s love in everything that goes on in our lives is comforting for me,” he told The Catholic Spirit in March. “Not that being a shepherd here in the archdiocese is exactly like being a shepherd in Fatima, but it’s certainly significant to me that they were shepherd children, and that Our Lady was so tender with them.”

He added: “I’m hoping that she’s going to guide me, as well, as I’m striving to really embrace the responsibilities that come with being the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”

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Category: Welcome Archbishop Hebda