Hundreds gather for feast of Our Lady of Fatima

28 May 2015

By Mat De Sousa

Hundreds gathered earlier this month at St Patrick’s Basilica Fremantle for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima where they celebrated Mass, Benediction and a candlelight procession on the streets of Fremantle. PHOTO: Mat De Sousa

The recent feast of Our Lady of Fatima, celebrated worldwide on 13 May, did not go unobserved within the Archdiocese of Perth.

Among parishes commemorating the feast day was St Patrick’s Basilica in Fremantle, where hundreds gathered for Mass, Benediction and a candlelight procession.

Attendees at the Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey and several clergy, were treated to a Marian tradition adorned with bouquets of flowers, devotional songs and dozens of children in costume.

“Our Lady had a message that these young children, innocent children, were to deliver it to the whole world, especially the Church,” said Archbishop Emeritus Hickey during his homily.

“We look around the world today: some things have changed, but the main focus of Mary’s mission and message hasn’t changed. People are still turning away from God. People are as violent now as they ever were.”

Archbishop Emeritus Hickey emphasised the need for us all to take seriously Mary’s message as we have been entrusted by Jesus to spread the good news to the world.

“Our Lady wants us to be a part of that mission, first of all to change our hearts and soul.

“Then to be witness to the sort of life of obedience to God’s will that Jesus wants all of us to follow. He is the life, He is the truth and He is the way, and Mary always points to Jesus,” the Archbishop Emeritus said.

With a float carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in tow, the candlelight procession took to the streets of Fremantle in a prayerful display of faith to the hundreds of onlookers.

On return to St Patrick’s, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and Archbishop Emeritus Hickey led the faithful in Benediction.

The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima has its origins in Fatima, a small village in Portugal where, in 1917, Our Lady appeared monthly from May to October to three shepherd children named Lucia Dos Santos and brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

At each appearance, Our Lady spoke to the children about the importance of the Rosary and the need for prayer in a world that was moving further away from God.

She also asked them to return to the site on the thirteenth of each month until October of the same year.

Despite local resistance, the popularity of the apparitions grew to the point that, by October, approximately 50,000 pilgrims assembled with the children at the Cova de Ira. During the final apparition, which also become known as the “miracle of the sun”, the thousands gathered at Cova da Iria witnessed the sun move and change in colour.

The Sanctuary of Fatima remains a very popular destination for pilgrims and visitors from all around the world.