Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
On October 13, 2018, the faithful will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, which marks the final apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, to the three shepherd children
October 13commemorates the final apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal,to the three shepherd children, the first apparition being held on May 13, 1917.In a special way, for the people of Panjim, this event is very dear to their heart and is celebrated with great religious fervour. It is an old practice that the feast of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated with an open air Mass in the square of the Archbishop’s palace, presided over by the Archbishop-Patriarch. This year, the liturgical theme of the Eucharist is in line with the theme of the current pastoral year. It reads thus, ‘Maria, Amche Maiechi, Dekh Gheum-ia. Gorjevon tam Sovem Udhar Zaum-ia’ (Let us imitate Mary, Our Mother. Let us be generous towards the needy).
At the end of the Mass, the faithful with lit lanterns in their hands begin the traditional procession winding its way through Fr Agnelo Road to the zig-zag steps of the Church. During the procession, keeping in mind the message of Mary, they pray the Rosary and sing hymns in Her honour with a reflection on the mysteries. The procession has a penitential character, and also symbolises the pilgrimage aspect of our earthly journey till we reach the heavenly Jerusalem. The statue of Mother Mary, mounted on a flower-decked and illuminated vehicle, is carried devoutly and kept on the stand for public veneration. An act of consecration is recited by the people whereby the parishioners renew their self-commitment to Mary, pledging to follow in Her footsteps in order to merit the eternal salvation brought about by Her son Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. At the end, benediction of the blessed Sacrament is imparted to all those present for the event. The significance of the feast lies in seeking Mary’s protection for the entire humanity in its efforts for peace and conversion as She admonished the three visionaries, Lucia, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, to pray the Rosary daily, and that the war would soon come to an end. She is rightly acclaimed Queen of Peace and Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. The site where Mary appeared is known ‘Cova da Iria’ where today stands a chapel. Lucia was then nine years old while Francisco and Jacinta were seven and six years old respectively. They remained speechless and motionless on seeing Mary, who revealed to them Her name as the ‘Lady of the Rosary’. They saw Her dressed in white with a blue mantle, shinning brighter than the sun. Francisco and his sister, Jacinta, died of influenza at a very young age of ten and nine, on April 4, 1919 and February 20, 1920 respectively. Lucy died at a ripe old age of 97, on February 13, 2005. She is buried alongside Francisco and Jacinta. She accompanied Pope Paul VI to the shrine on May 13, 1967, and also met Pope John Paul II on two occasions in 1991 and 2000 at Fatima. While Francisco and Jacinta were canonised by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, Lucy’s cause for canonisation is in progress. As a matter of joy, she was present in Fatima for the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000. On this auspicious occasion, we implore God’s blessings on all the people through the intercession of the Blessed Mother Mary.
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