As a way of marking the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, St. Mary’s Cathedral is hosting a special Day of Prayer for Peace and Mercy Oct. 14.
The daylong event will include a visit of the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima. The statue will also make a stop in Little Falls Oct. 15 (see schedule below).
The statue, which has traveled worldwide since 1947, is currently on a two-year tour of the United States to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. The statue is stopping in more than 100 dioceses in 50 states from March 2016 to December 2017.
It will be on display at St. Mary’s for veneration throughout the afternoon and evening (see schedule below).
“An event like this is especially significant in the Year of Mercy,” said Randy Symanitz, liturgy director for St. Mary’s Cathedral and one of the day’s main organizers. “There is a need for peace in light of current events, and Our Lady will be an instrument to bring that peace to our world which so desperately needs it.”
The day also will include special liturgies, prayer opportunities, the sacrament of reconciliation and lectures by the custodian of the statue about Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three peasant children six times between May 13 and Oct. 13, 1917, asking for prayers for world peace.
“The tour allows her to go out into the world, to bring her graces to people who couldn’t make a pilgrimage to Fatima,” said Barb Ernster, who is organizing the U.S. tour and serves as communications manager for the World Apostolate of Fatima USA – Our Lady’s Blue Army. “It’s almost like we are bringing the pilgrimage to you.”
The statue, which is one of two “twin” statues sculpted in 1947 by sculptor José Thedim, travels around the country in a specially-marked RV. It was blessed by the bishop of Leiria, (renamed the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima in 1984), and commissioned to serve as the Pilgrim Virgin who would carry the blessings of Fatima throughout the world. The bishop prayed that Mary herself would accompany the statue wherever it goes.
This is the second time the statue has traveled to St. Mary’s Cathedral — the first visit was in September 1950.