Archdiocese, parishes to mark Fatima anniversary

From Archbishop George J. Lucas leading a rosary and other prayers, to a traveling statue of Our Lady of Fatima and individual parish events, people in the Archdiocese of Omaha will have several opportunities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s messages at Fatima.

"It’s important that we celebrate this anniversary, because Our Lady of Fatima said a lot of important things to the world, most importantly, to pray for sinners, pray the rosary, pray for the conversion of the world – all things that are so necessary for our world today," said Father John Broheimer, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Omaha and spiritual director for the Legion of Mary’s curia for the archdiocese, which is sponsoring the effort with Archbishop Lucas May 13 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.

The apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, to three shepherd children took place monthly from May 13 through October 13 of 1917. Among her messages, Mary urged the children to make sacrifices for sinners and pray the rosary every day for peace and the end of World War I.

The celebration with Archbishop Lucas will begin at 10:30 a.m. and include a rosary, procession and crowning of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, said Lauren Bopp, a member of St. Peter Parish and president of the archdiocesan arm of the Legion of Mary.

"We invite people from every parish to come," she said. "The Fatima apparitions may be something that happened 100 years ago, but the message – devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and praying the rosary for peace – is still applicable today."

People are encouraged to bring a single-stemmed flower to place before the statue during the procession. Flowers will be available for those unable to bring their own, Bopp said.

And a cookie and punch reception will be held east of the cathedral, in the lower level of the Msgr. Ernest Graham Building.

Other anniversary celebrations include stops by the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima for prayer and devotion at five churches in Omaha and one in Columbus, beginning May 25 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and ending May 30 at St. Gerald Church, both in Omaha.

One of two pilgrim statues sponsored by the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, the statue will be in Nebraska as part of a two-year tour of all 50 states, including at least 100 dioceses.

The apostolate has been transporting the statues around the world since the statues were commissioned in 1947 to carry the message of Fatima, one to the Western Hemisphere and one to the East, said Becky Tometich, a member of St. Gerald Parish in Ralston who worked with other parishioners and her pastor, Father Mark Nolte, to arrange for the statue’s visit to the parish’s church in Omaha.

"We are so honored to have the statue in the archdiocese for the 100th anniversary of Fatima," she said. "We are especially blessed to have her during the month of May, because May is Mary’s month and the anniversary of the first apparition."

Several parishes also plan celebrations, including a May 13 festival at Immaculate Conception Parish in Omaha.

Public veneration of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and participation in a celebration or prayers honoring the Virgin Mary during the 100th anniversary includes an opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence, Tometich said.

"Our Lady’s message is of hope and of peace for the world, but what she’s really begging for is prayer, especially the rosary, sacrifice, penance and devotion to her Immaculate Heart," Tometich said.

On the schedule, parishes in Omaha unless noted:

May 25, Our Lady of Lourdes, 7:50 a.m. to 8 p.m. with private devotions 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (May 26).

May 26, St. Bridget-St. Rose, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

May 27, St. Joan of Arc, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

May 28, St. Stephen the Martyr, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

May 29, St. Isidore, Columbus, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

May 30, St Gerald Church, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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