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