Northern Ireland news

Statue of Our Lady of Fatima comes to west Belfast parish

Pupils from St John the Baptist Primary School in west Belfast visit the statue of Our Lady of Fatima at Saint Michael the Archangel church. Picture by Hugh Russell

A STATUE of Our Lady of Fatima, blessed by Pope Francis, is visiting a parish in west Belfast.

St Michael the Archangel Church on Finaghy Road North is hosting the statue until tomorrow.

Pupils at nearby St John the Baptist Primary School yesterday visited the church to learn about the Fatima apparitions and received roses to bring home to the sick.

Presenting roses to statues of Our Lady has been a long-standing Catholic tradition, with roses often also blessed and brought to the sick and housebound.

It is the latest statue to visit Ireland to mark a century since the Virgin Mary first appeared to children in the Portuguese town on May 13 1917.

The apparitions continued once a month until October, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

The statue travelled to Ireland with members of An Teaghlach Naofa (The Holy Family) prayer network, and is also accompanied by statues of the three children.

Orla Sheehan, from the group, said it is due to travel around Ireland and will next visit St Peter's at The Rock, near Stoneyford, at the end of the month, before heading to counties Clare and Galway.

"The message of Fatima is more important now than ever because of the way the world is and we all have to pray that people come back to God," she said.

For further information see www.anteaghlachnaofa.ie and the Facebook page 'Fatima comes to Down and Connor'.

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