Faith Matters

Our Lady of Fatima comes to Down and Connor

Jaime Wheelan, 8, from Belfast presents roses to Our Lady in St Teresa of Avila Church on Glen Road in Belfast during the centennial celebrations of Fatima on Sunday July 16. A pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima is in Down and Connor this week. Picture by Bill Smyth.

THE Irish pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima is visiting parishes in the Diocese of Down and Connor this week.

People joining the pilgrimage are invited to bring fresh roses to present to the statue - rose petals fell from heaven during the fifth Fatima apparition - and roses will be blessed in each church to bring home to family and friends who are sick.

The statue was requested from the Fatima shrine in Portugal by Archbishop Eamon Martin as part of a two-month official pilgrimage to Ireland to mark the centenary anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of The Rosary to three shepherd children in 1917.

Pope Francis canonised two of the three shepherd children - St Jacinta and St Francisco - in Fatima in May.

The statue is the eighth of 12 statues that is journeying on pilgrimage from Fatima to many countries around the world this year.

It is being brought to parishes by Fr Aoilbe O' Reilly, Order of The Holy Cross, on behalf of the World Apostolate of Fatima.

On Monday this week, the statue was in St Patrick's Church in Downpatrick and on Tuesday it was at the Church of Immaculate Conception and St Joseph in Crossgar. Yesterday it was at St Nicolas's Church in Ardglass.

Today, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be at St Comgall's in Bangor, while tomorrow it will be visiting St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast.

The statue is accompanied by statues of St Jacinta, St Francisco and Lucia, Servant of God, as well as relics of St Jacinta and St Francisco.

After leaving Belfast, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will then journey to Dublin for Mass in St Kevin's Church before returning to Fatima on Sunday.

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