My dear people of St. Mary’s,
I apologize that it has been a while since you last heard from me in these pages. This year Lent proved to be very busy, especially with our very successful four-part parish mission on the theme of the Centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. We also offered some 50 hours of scheduled confessions during the Lenten season! The Easter season is proving to be just as busy. I had promised you that I was going to offer a six-week course on the Gospel of St. John this Spring. However, between the First Holy Communions, our upcoming Confirmation, and many other matters, I am afraid I will have to postpone the course on the Fourth Gospel until the Fall. However, for those of you looking forward to a special Spring event at St. Mary’s, I do have some very good news.
As you know, on Saturday, May 13, 2017, Pope Francis will travel to Portugal to canonize Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the brother and sister visionaries of Our Lady of Fatima. They will then become the youngest canonized saints in the church who are not martyrs (aged 10 and 9 at their deaths, respectively). Their Feast Day is February 20. The cause for canonization for the third visionary, Sr. Lucia dos Santos, who died at age 97 in 2005, has recently been sent to Rome. On May 13, the one-hundred year anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to the shepherd children, we will have a 9:00 am Mass in the church, followed by the recitation of the Rosary and a few other devotions to our Lady. We will also have the special Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, made and blessed at the shrine in Portugal, in the church on that day. Following Mass and devotions on May 13th, you are invited to a celebration in the lower church in honor of Our Lady. As you will read elsewhere in the bulletin, there is a special indulgence that Pope Francis has granted to the faithful in this centenary year. It may be obtained by praying in the presence of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the 13th of the months of May through October. We will have such a statue in the Church on each of those days to assist you in obtaining the indulgence. But there is still even more good news!
Beginning this Wednesday, and running for eight weeks, St. Mary’s will present a special program produced by St. Benedict press entitled Queen of Heaven: Mary’s Battle for You. This is a combination of video presentation and live presentation with discussion.
This will be hosted by our own parishioner Lisa Mladinich, who has also been a friend of mine since I was at St. Matthew’s parish. Lisa is the host of Shalom World TV’s WOMAN: Strong Faith, True Beauty, and is also the founder of the website AmazingCatechists.com. She is a bestselling author of four Catholic books, and is a frequent guest on Catholic TV and radio, including EWTN, CatholicTV, Relevant Radio, Sirius XM Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Radio Maria, and many others. Lisa is in demand as a speaker on catechetical teaching methods, women’s issues, and Marian spirituality, and has given presentations at parishes and conferences around the country. A wife and mother, she is also an instructor for Homeschool Connections Online, as well as a founding member of the Catholic Writers Guild. We are blessed to have Lisa leading this wonderful and inspiring program which will help us all grow in our understanding of, and devotion to, Our Blessed Mother’s special role in salvation history, and her role in each of our lives. This will be an ideal way to continue our observance of this special Marian anniversary year. Please join us!