The Catholic Americas come together for the Year of Mercy

Bogotá, Colombia, Aug 14, 2016 / 03:02 a.m. (CNA/EWTN News).- South America’s Catholic leaders will celebrate the Catholic Church’s Year of Mercy in a special way, gathering for a continental celebration in Colombia. They will pray a rosary for the Americas, visit poor parts of Bogota, and reflect on the example of the saints.

The Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy aims to be “a sign of the communion of the churches of the whole continent, mutually committed to celebrating and radiating the Gospel of Mercy from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego,” organizers said.

Pope Francis will send a video message to the gathering’s inauguration.

The Aug. 27-30 event will draw participants from all the countries of South America. Fifteen cardinals and more than 120 bishops have registered for the event. The more than 400 attendees include rectors of National Marian Shrines, religious superiors, and directors of associations and new ecclesial communities.

The celebration was jointly organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, will lead the event. Among his collaborators will be Cardinal Rubén Salazar of Bogota, who is president of CELAM.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, will deliver remarks on the theme of the Year of Mercy, as will Cardinal Ouellet.

The event will begin with a penitential liturgy to encourage an examination of conscience, confessions, and an opportunity for all the participants to seek mercy for themselves.

One part of the gathering will feature the saints of the Americas. The presentation will reflect on missionary saints of the evangelization, such as California missionary Junipero Serra; the saintly mystics like Rose of Lima; the saints of the defenseless like Peter Claver and Mother Cabrini; the saints of charity like Martin De Porres and Katharine Drexel; the educator saints like John Neumann; and the martyr saints like the Mexican Martyrs, Kateri Tekakwitha and Oscar Romero.

Father Eduardo Chavez, Canon of the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, will speak on the topic “Holiness in the Time of Pope Francis.” He will draw on the example of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A full day of the gathering will focus on the works of mercy in the Americas. A panel will discuss efforts like Hogar de Christo (Christ’s Home) in Chile, migrant assistance projects and Project Rachel, the U.S.-based project that helps women who have had abortions.

Participants in the celebration will visit places in Bogota that focus on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. They will visit some of the poorest places of the city at its “social and existential peripheries,” organizers said.

Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga of Tunja, who heads the Colombian Bishops’ Conference, will give a joint presentation with Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. The presentation’s theme is “Mercy as the Soul of a Culture of Encounter, Forgiveness and Reconciliation on the American Continent.”

The event’s final hours will include a Continental Rosary for Peace. Bogota’s Cardinal Salazar will celebrate the closing Mass.

This story was originally published on Catholic News Agency is reprinted here with permission.

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