Archdiocese reconsecration marks culmination of Fatima anniversary Oct. 13

| October 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Eighth-graders Emma Coty of Holy Trinity School in South St. Paul, second from right, and Ben Aeshliman of St. Therese School in Deephaven place roses in a vase under a statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the start of the Children’s Rosary Pilgrimage Oct. 6 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Waiting in line for their turn are, from left, Jeremiah Wrobleski of St. John the Baptist School in Excelsior, Liam Ryan of St. Jude of the Lake School in Mahtomedi, Ryan Masih of Epiphany School in Coon Rapids and Maria Conger of St. Ambrose School in Woodbury (background). About 1,200 students from 16 Catholic schools and a homeschool group came to the 15th annual event, according to volunteer coordinator Janet Houlton, who has been involved all 15 years and was honored by Archbishop Bernard Hebda at the end of the event. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Editor’s note: Information has been updated about the Mass, procession and reconsecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oct. 13 at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

One hundred years ago, throngs of people gathered in a pasture near Fatima, Portugal, to watch three young shepherd children who had reported that Mary had been appearing to them on the 13th of each month, beginning that May.

The children said she had told them to expect a miracle when she appeared Oct. 13th, and tens of thousands of pilgrims hoped to see it with their own eyes.

Witness reports vary as to what they saw when the sun broke through the clouds. Some say they saw it spin, others reported multicolored lights. Others said the sun zigzagged across the sky, giving the event the name “the dancing of the sun.” Some said they saw nothing unusual. Photos of the event show a crowd of people looking at the sky during the event, which reportedly lasted several minutes.

In 1930, the Catholic Church declared the event one of “supernatural character”; 10 years later, Pope Pius XII approved the apparitions of “Our Lady of Fatima” as worthy of belief. In May 2017, Pope Francis canonized two of the children visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

Oct. 13, 1917, was the sixth and final time Mary appeared to the three children. At the crux of her message was a call to conversion and penance, and the power of prayer to affect world events. She showed the children heaven and hell — part of the tripartite “secret” she entrusted to the children and recorded by the third seer, Sister Lucia, and which the Vatican fully revealed under St. John Paul II — and asked for the rosary to be prayed daily and for devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She specifically asked that Russia be consecrated to it. Popes have since carried out this request, and have further consecrated the whole world to her heart.

To mark the centennial anniversary of the final apparition, several events have been scheduled in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to honor Our Lady of Fatima.

On Oct. 13 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Archbishop Bernard Hebda will celebrate 5:15 p.m. Mass, followed by a 7 p.m. candlelight rosary procession from the Minnesota State Capitol to the Cathedral. After the procession, Archbishop Hebda will reconsecrate the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary following eucharistic adoration, Gospel reflection and homily.

The event will also include confessions from 4-5 p.m. People willl gather for the procession at the Capitol at 6:30 p.m. People who wish not to process may remain in the Cathedral to pray the rosary. The event will conclude around 8:30 p.m.

The celebration is co-hosted by the World Apostolate of Fatima USA and will include prayers for personal consecration to Mary, for which Catholics across the archdiocese have been preparing with “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Father Michael Gaitley.

Local parishes have also held events this year related to the centennial, with some celebrating the final apparition. On Oct. 12, St. George in Long Lake is offering a 6 p.m. outdoor rosary in the parish’s Fatima garden, followed by a family movie in the parish community center about the apparitions. At Epiphany in Coon Rapids, people will gather Oct. 13 for the rosary at the parish’s Fatima shrine following the 8 a.m. Mass. Later that day, St. Albert in Albertville will release a rosary of balloons at 3 p.m., followed by 7:30 p.m. rosary, 8 p.m. Mass and an 8:45 p.m. film about the Fatima apparitions.

For more information about the reconsecration of the archdiocese at the Cathedral, visit



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