Listen to the show:
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry
Today’s guest(s): Fr. Edward Riley and Mrs. Lynn Kenn from the World Apostolate of Fatima
Today’s topics: World Apostolate of Fatima and the National Pilgrim Statue
Summary of today’s show: Fr. Ed Riley and Lynn Kenn of the world Apostolate of Fatima tell Scot about the Pilgrimage of Prayer throughout the Archdiocese in October of the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Each day in October, the statue blessed by Pope Paul VI, one of only five in the world, will be in a different parish. They also discussed the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 and the prayer requests she made of the world that the Church encourages us to heed even today.
1st segment: Scot said starting this Saturday, October 1 and for the whole month of October, there is a statue that will be traveling among schools and parishes in the Archdiocese. Throughout the month, thousands of people will gather during these evenings to hear Our Lady’s messages to us. He welcomed Fr. Edward Riley, the chaplain to the World Apostolate of Fatima, and Lynn Kenn, who has been involved with the World Apostolate for 32 years.
At the time, as a young mother, she saw the problems of the world around her and while she wanted to do something for her children, as a mother she didn’t have time to go out and be an activist. But saw a the visit of a National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima at a parish and that event made her realize that prayer and the messages of Fatima were the answer. That is why today, she is encouraging all to attend the pilgrimage of prayer for the month of October.
Scot said the World Apostolate of Fatima is sometimes known as the Blue Army. It was established around World War II as a response to the Soviet Red Army. Our Lady at Fatima warned of the dangers of the Soviet Union.
Scot asked Lynn to summarize the messages of Fatima. She said there were 6 apparitions of Mary to three children in Fatima, Portugal, in May 1917, at the beginning of World War I. Pope Benedict XV started a novena to Our Lady for world peace on May 5 and Our Lady appeared to the children on May 13, 1917 as an answer to the prayer.
Our Lady asked the children each time she appeared to pray the rosary every day. She encouraged daily prayer of the rosary as the heart of her message. She asked for the conversion of sinners and she asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Pope John Paul II completed that consecration in 1984 and the demise of Communion in Russia followed. In 1981, on May 13, the anniversary of the first apparition, Pope John Paul II was shot in St. Peter’s Square and it impelled him to find out more about Fatima. In 1929, the consecration of Russia was not done by all the bishops of the world as she asked, and so John Paul got all the bishops together again in 1984.
Pope John Paul II took the bullet that struck him that day and brought to Fatima and had it placed in the crown of the statue of Our Lady there.
The National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima will travel throughout the archdiocese in October, stopping in at least 5 parishes in each region of the Archdiocese. The statue was given to the US by the bishop of Fatima in 1967.
2nd segment: This particular statue was blessed by Pope Paul VI during his visit to Fatima. It comes to Boston about every 5 years.
Lynn said they start planning a year in advance. Fr. Riley had written to Cardinal Sean in January for permission and then alerted all the auxiliary bishops. Then they started preparing in March, dividing the diocese by region among the board members of the local chapter. The board members set up a committee in each region and then worked to place the statue throughout the regions so that everyone has a chance to be able to go.
Fr. Riley is on the staff of St. John Seminary now, but previously was pastor in Holbrook. He said many people are thirsting and hungering. We are a material society, so we are looking for things that affect our senses. The Church went through a phase of removing objects from churches, but people are returning to older devotions to give them something to hold or touch or see or smell. The beautiful images take you beyond the image into deeper prayer and that’s the wisdom of having this image travel throughout the Archdiocese as the personification of Our Mother who loves us. If we don’t see someone and communicate with them, we can forget them. This statue reminds us that we have a God of love who wants us to turn back to him.
Scot noted that there are many Catholics of Portuguese descent and many parishes with Our Lady of Fatima statues. Fr. Riley said this particular statue was blessed by Pope Paul VI, one of only five that were sent throughout the world. The US needed to understand the love of the Gospel and that our blessed Mother has a particular role in fulfilling God’s will for us. We are hungering for truth and peace.
It took the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II for the Church to take seriously this message given to children in Fatima. Scot said more than one million and maybe even more than 10 million have prayed in front of this statue.
Lynn said the evenings of prayer are left up to the pastor, but they suggest they begin about 7pm or 7:30pm, starting with Benediction, crowning of the statue, rosary, then a talk by the Custodian of the Pilgrim Statue (a person who travels throughout the country with the statue, cares for it, and gives talks with it). People bring sacramentals and the Custodian touches them to the statue. People also submit prayer petitions in a petition box and the Custodian carries them from parish to parish. Anyone is welcome to come to any of the evenings of prayer.
Scot read the list of parishes and dates where the statue will be in October.
3rd segment: Fr. Ed said there also some private events, not that they’re exclusive. On October 7, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, they will celebrate a children’s Eucharistic holy hour at Holy Cross Cathedral. This is a worldwide phenomenon. About 450 children, mostly around 5th grade, will be coming from both Catholic schools and homeschooling families. They pray the prayers that St. Michael the Archangel taught to the children of Fatima. At the end, when they process the statue out of the church, the children will wave white handkerchief. This event is closed to the public to ensure that children will be close to the Blessed Mother.
On October 20, they will have a private session at St. John Seminary for the seminarians to pray before the statue.
Scot said October 13 was the last public apparition of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917. About 100,000 people saw the miracle of the sun. Fr. Ed said throughout the apparitions, Our Lady said she would confirm on behalf of the children that the apparitions were real. The muddy rain-drenched area was dried instantly by the sun appearing to come close to the apparition site. Our Lady then appeared as Our Lady of Fatima and with St. Joseph and the Child Jesus. She also appeared as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
Fr. Ed said we gather to pray the rosary to pray for peace in our world. No other promise has been made for bringing peace to the world.
4th segment: Scot said Our Lady in Fatima asked us to consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lynn said the Apostolate has put together some requirements for membership. One is to pray the Rosary everyday. The second is to be enrolled in the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel by a priest. During the pilgrimage tour, people can be enrolled in the brown scapular as a sign of personal consecration to Our Lady. She also asked for the First Saturday devotions. It’s part of the promise by the Mother of God to provide all the graces necessary salvation at the end of your life if for five consecutive first Saturdays you fulfill the requirements of the devotion.
Fr. Ed said the rosary is accessible to everyone, even little children. The First Saturdays are numbered five because it is reparation for sins, particularly five sins of blasphemy against her, her images, her name, her holy initiatives, and leading children away from God.
Scot said the Church doesn’t usually go to the lengths of promoting apparitions and associated devotions, so it shows how important Fatima is to the Church.