Fatima’s centenary celebrated in Wellington
19 May 2017
More than 100 people including families and children gathered in Wellington last week to honour our Lady of Fatima during the 100th anniversary of her first apparition.
The event was very appropriately held at the Our Lady of Fatima church in Tawa and organised by the Centre for Marriage and Family (CMF).
“We wanted to honor our Blessed Mother and give glory to Her Son by marking the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima which happened on the 13th of May 1917.”
There was a Living Rosary where each person (or a group of people) stood for a particular bead. A person or representative from the group gave a flower to the pilgrim statue of our Lady of Fatima before going back to their place and saying their assigned prayer.
The Centre also launched the Family Rosary Prayer Chain where the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima is passed on from one family to another. “One of the requests of our Lady to the three children was the daily recitation of the Rosary. The Family Rosary Chain is one way we can fulfil our Lady’s request. It is aimed at encouraging families to pray the Holy Rosary for peace in families and in the world. We hope that through this prayer chain, many families will continue saying the Rosary even after the pilgrim statue leaves their family to go to the home of another family,” commented CMF Director Patricia Sison.
Aside from these, the Centre has produced 7 snippets which can be published in parish or school newsletters during the centenary that tell the story of Fatima in a nutshell, including what is needed to respond to our Lady’s request to achieve peace in the world. A modified form of these snippets were sent to parishes by MissioNZ, the Pontifical Mission Societies in New Zealand, to promote the centenary.
The history of the apparitions at Fatima dates back to 1917 when the Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children to give a message for the world. She asked for prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners that they may be brought back to God. By heeding her message which is the message of the gospel itself, there will be peace in the world, said Mrs Sison.
Her apparitions show the breadth and depth of God's love and Mary's maternal concern for humankind. “When we look at the world around us, where we have lost our sense of sin, where there is much Christian persecution and violence, the Fatima Message needs to be shared and listened to afresh for it is an invitation to respond to God's mercy and seek the peace that only God can give. Pope John Paul II said that “Fatima is more important now than it was in 1917!”
For more information about the snippets or how you can get involved in the Family Rosary Prayer Chain, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
In the wider global catholic church.....
On this 100th anniversary of our Lady's apparitions, Pope Francis travelled to Fatima where he canonized Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three children who saw our Lady. He had said that special graces will be granted to those who during the centenary, (1) Make a pilgrimage to the Fatima Shrine in Portugal; (2) Visit with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in any church during the anniversary days of the apparitions; and (3) For those unable to get around, pray to Our Lady of Fatima and spiritually unite themselves to the celebrations on the days of the apparitions.
In New Zealand....
On May 13, St. Pius X Church in Titahi Bay and St. Andrew's Church in Newlands commemorated the event through songs and/or slides. The parish community of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wellington, together with students from St. Francis Xavier School also commemorated the event on May 21 at the 10:30 am mass. Aside from the Living Rosary and Family Rosary Prayer Chain, the Centre for Marriage and Family has many other initiatives to make the centenary a special one. Both the Auckland and Christchurch dioceses also have a whole series of events commemorating the centenary to show the importance of the Fatima event 100 years ago and its significance for our times.