Diocesan News

Fatima statue to visit diocese

(SNR) – Five communities in the Diocese of Lincoln will be included on the Fatima centennial tour of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The statue, which has been traveling around the world since 1947, is in the midst of a two-year journey across America, visiting more than 100 dioceses in 50 states to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Angel of Peace (1916) and the Blessed Mother (1917) at Fatima, Portugal.

In the Diocese of Lincoln, the statue will be at St. Patrick Church in McCook Saturday, May 20; at St. Cecilia in Hastings May 21, at St. Vincent de Paul in Seward May 22, at St. Teresa in Lincoln May 23, and at St. Benedict in Nebraska City May 24.

The tour visits typically include Masses, confession, talks on Fatima, Holy Hours of Adoration, rosaries and private veneration. The tour of the world-famous statue is a nation-wide call to prayer and penance for peace in the nation and conversion of hearts.

The statue is one of two “twin” statues sculpted in 1947 by José Thedim. The image reflects the precise instructions of Sister Lucia, one of the visionaries of Fatima. Her desire was that the pilgrim image represent Our Lady’s position when she revealed herself as the Immaculate Heart to the young shepherds in 1917. Our Lady of Fatima through the Pilgrim Virgin Statue, set forth from Fatima in May 1947, carrying first to a devastated Europe after World War II, the message of peace. The first statue was retired and is on display at the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

The second, “twin” statue was blessed in Fatima Oct. 13, 1947, and commissioned to serve as the Pilgrim Virgin who would carry the blessings of Fatima throughout the world. The Bishop of Fatima prayed that Mary herself accompany the statue wherever it goes.

The purpose of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue tours was and still is to bring the graces of Fatima and Our Lady’s message of hope, peace and salvation to those many millions of people who may never have an opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Fatima itself.

The statue was first brought to the United States by John Haffert, co-founder of The Blue Army, who had met with Sister Lucia. Together they composed the Blue Army pledge, and Haffert went on to spread the message of Fatima worldwide, largely through the Pilgrim Virgin Statue tours over the next several decades. The most famous peace tour occurred on October 16, 1992 when six bishops descended on Red Square in Moscow carrying the Pilgrim Virgin Statue. It was crowned at midnight in front of Lenin’s tomb.

The statue has visited more than 100 countries, including Russia and China, bringing the message of salvation and hope to millions. Many miracles and graces have been reported wherever the statue has traveled. In 2014, the custody and mission of the statue was placed under the auspice of The World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, “Our Lady’s Blue Army,” and continues her journeys throughout the world with its principal statue custodian Patrick L. Sabat.

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