WAVERLY (SNR) - The 31st annual Marian Mass, rosary, and candlelight procession will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. on the Marian Center grounds, 112th and Fletcher, near Waverly.
Bishop James D. Conley will be the main celebrant and homilist. All are invited to join in prayer, specifically for the present-day crisis of faith and need for healing in the world.
The Marian event, which began 31 years ago, was inspired by a group of pilgrims from St. Teresa Parish in Lincoln who visited Fatima, Portugal, and experienced first-hand the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary.
Recognizing that only a few people from the diocese would ever be able to attend the event in Portugal, the group decided to replicate the experience and bring it home to Nebraska.
The story of Fatima began in May 1917, against the backdrop of World War I, as an atheistic mindset was sweeping across Europe. Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children in Portugal, asking for prayer, penance, and to deliver a message that unless people changed their ways, “a worse war would occur.”
Culminating Oct. 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother said to the children, “Do not offend God anymore,” and then she pointed to the Sun, at which point it began to pulse and spin, and eventually appeared to fall to the earth. This is known as the Miracle of the Sun, and was a historically documented event, witnessed by tens of thousands of people.
St. Teresa Parish celebrates this event as near to the anniversary of the Sept. 13th Marian apparition as possible, with this year’s event landing on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Last year, the entire world commemorated the 100th anniversary of Fatima, which honored Our Lady of the Rosary on an epic scale.
“It is not surprising that the Church should be experiencing difficulties and struggles on the heels of this event,” said organizer Lee Hotovy. “However, the Blessed Mother’s promise at Fatima was that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph and there would be peace.
“She also told the three Fatima children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, that prayer and sacrifice was necessary for souls,” Hotovy continued. “Please join other pilgrims for this event so that we may gather as a unified family of prayer, and combat the evils that now face our world.”
There will be ample seating for the outdoor Mass, with an estimated crowd expectation of 1,000.
There are outdoor restroom facilities, along with a nurse’s tent. Rosaries and candles are provided for the procession, with a free-will offering basket available.
The Mass will begin promptly at 7 p.m., so arriving 20 or 30 minutes ahead is advised for parking and walking to the grounds. The Marian tower and altar are located a quarter mile west of 112th Street and Fletcher Road.
The rosary will be prayed in several languages, followed by a candlelight procession, which concludes around 8: 30 p.m. with Bishop Conley giving a final blessing.
If there is inclement weather Sept. 12, the event will be moved to the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, 3500 Sheridan Blvd., at 7 p.m.