Fatima Parish entrusted with ‘great responsibility’

Holy Door opened on 100th anniversary of Marian apparition

Aaron Lambert

As this Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to an end, the graces will continue to flow into the Archdiocese of Denver as another Jubilee Year opens at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Lakewood.

On Oct. 23, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrated a special Mass opening the Our Lady of Fatima pilgrimage year and designating the parish as a pilgrimage site until Oct. 24, 2017. The designation comes as one of several celebratory events the parish is hosting over the next year as part of the Fatima centennial celebration. Oct.13, 2017, will mark the 100th year since Our Lady appeared to the three young shepherds in Fatima, Portugal.

In being declared a pilgrimage site, a Holy Door was also opened at Our Lady of Fatima. The Holy Door will have a plenary indulgence attached to it for the faithful to receive upon the fulfillment of certain conditions.

“In the midst of this Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is a great joy to open another Jubilee Year for Our Lady of Fatima Parish and for the Archdiocese of Denver,” Archbishop Aquila told the congregation during his homily. “My dear sisters and brothers, you are entrusted with a great responsibility in this year of pilgrimage. The parish is to be one that invites people to prayer.”

Our Lady’s apparition to the three young shepherds at Fatima has become one of the Catholic Church’s most popular devotions. Archbishop Aquila explained that the message of Our Lady of Fatima had two parts.

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A parishioner prays in front of a newly-donated statue of Our Lady of Fatima at Our Lady of Fatima Parish. The parish was designated a pilgrimage site Oct. 23 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparition in Fatima, Portugal. (Photo by Andrew Wright)

“That two-fold message was first to honor her, to honor her Immaculate Heart, to honor her as the Mother of God,” he said. “And then secondly, to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners.”

He emphasized Mary’s importance in the tradition of the Church, saying that “the reason we honor Mary is because the Father himself honors Mary. He has chosen her from all eternity to be the Mother of God. She is highly favored by God himself”

In addition to Fatima, Our Lady has appeared in several apparitions throughout history, including Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Archbishop Aquila pointed out that these apparitions are meant to point the faithful toward Jesus.

“Look at her motherly love in all of the apparitions. It is as if the Father is saying, ‘If my son is not enough to convince your heart, let the mother of my son convince your heart,’” Archbishop Aquila said. “Look at the constant gifts she has bestowed upon the world in her apparitions.”

As part of the Fatima Centennial celebration, Our Lady of Fatima hopes to facilitate 1,000,000 rosaries prayed by the close of the pilgrimage year Oct. 24. The parish has a counter on a website dedicated to the centennial celebration, fatimacentennial.com. As of this writing, the counter reads over 678,000 rosaries prayed.

Plenary indulgence

To receive the plenary indulgence, one must visit OurLady of Fatima Parish in the form of a pilgrimage, and engage in some pious practice in honor of Mary. One must end with praying the Our Father, the Creed, and an invocation to Our Lady of Fatima.

Those unable to visit the Parish may, in the presence of an image of Our Lady of Fatima, unite themselves spiritually to a Jubilee activity.

For both, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Go to confession
  2. Receive the Eucharist
  3. Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father

COMING UP: One Million Rosaries and more for Fatima Centennial celebration

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Next year will mark 100 years since Our Lady appeared to the young shepherds at Fatima in Portugal, and Lakewood’s own Our Lady of Fatima Parish is already preparing to go all out to celebrate the centennial anniversary.

A multitude of events from now until next October are planned at Our Lady of Fatima, not the least of which includes Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila consecrating the parish as a pilgrimage site on Oct. 23 until Oct. 14, 2017. However, perhaps the biggest event Our Lady of Fatima is hosting for the centennial celebration is a “One Million Rosaries” campaign, which is already underway.

In planning the events for the celebration, Fatima centennial coordinator Mary Herzogenrath said the thought to hold a rosary campaign came to her one morning at 5:13 a.m. — an appropriately providential time, she said, considering Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day is May 13. “It’s all about the rosary,” she thought, and the next day she shared her idea with the planning committee.

They initially decided on 500,000 rosaries prayed, but Herzogenrath said they decided to “reach for the stars” and go for 1,000,000 rosaries prayed by October 2017. Anybody anywhere in the world can participate in the campaign, and can log their rosaries prayed by going to the Fatima Centennial website and clicking the “Record My Tally” button on the right-hand side of the page. As of this writing, they have over 443,000 rosaries prayed, and that number is steadily increasing.

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Our Lady of Fatima parish in Lakewood is planning many different events for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima in Portugal. The parish will be consecrated as a pilgrimage site Oct. 23 until Oct. 14, 2017. (Photo by James Baca | Denver Catholic)

The website has a counter that keeps track of the rosaries prayed, but Our Lady of Fatima also keeps track at their church through a brightly illuminated rosary light that hangs on the outside of the parish.

Other events happening in the remainder of 2016 at Our Lady of Fatima for this centennial celebration include a living rosary led by school children Oct. 21 and a talk on the topic of the rosary by Dr. Edward Sri Nov. 16. In 2017, they will host a choir concert in February or March, a three-day visit from the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima in September and much more that’s in the planning stages.

Our Lady of Fatima is one of the Catholic Church’s most popular apparitions and devotions. Our Lady appeared to three young shepherds on May 13, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal. It was the first of several appearances she would make to them over a six-month period. During the last apparition, Our Lady announced, “I am the Lady of the Rosary” and instructed the people of the earth to ask forgiveness from the Lord for their sins. Then, the sun grew pale and began emitting every color of the spectrum before coming closer and closer to earth. According to tradition, this phenomenon has come to be known as the “dancing sun.”

Fatima Centennial

To stay up to date on the Fatima Centennial events and to participate in the One Million Rosaries campaign, visit http://fatimacentennial.com