The Fatima pilgrim statue will remain in the Archdiocese until June 10, with plenty of opportunities for the faithful to visit along its 27 stops.
A Mother’s Day procession with a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima drew hundreds to the streets of Newark, New Jersey. The Catholic display came in honor of the 106th anniversary of the first apparition of Fatima on May 13, 1917, and begins a time of pilgrimage in New Jersey that will last until June.
Between May and October of 1917, an apparition of the Blessed Mother appeared before three children of Cova da Iria, Portugal, on six occasions.
The statue of Our Lady of Fatima was created by Jose Ferreira Thedim, based on a detailed description provided by one of the children. Thedim went so far as to make duplicates of the statue meant to travel the world on a pilgrimage of peace.
The statue first came to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church from Portugal for its tour of the Archdiocese of Newark, with 27 stops planned throughout New Jersey. The Mother’s Day procession began at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and took a circuitous route past the city’s major landmarks. The procession took three-and-a-half hours to complete, with no stops along the way, while Our Lady was carried alternately on the shoulders of marchers and atop an antique fire engine requisitioned for the day.
Those in procession prayed and sang hymns throughout the march, ending at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. There, they celebrated a Mass led by Father Kevin Kilgore, co-leader of the statue pilgrimage and pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Old Tappan, before the statue of Our Lady. Afterward, those present were treated to a presentation on Our Lady of Fatima’s significance in today’s world from pilgrimage co-leader and Montclair State University campus minister Ricardo Casimiro.
Casimiro is an expert on Fatima, who has made a study of the early 20th-century apparitions and estimates that he has visited Fatima some 40 times in his studies of Our Lady. He said in his presentation:
“Our Lady of Fatima is here to give us a sign of peace and hope amidst so much struggle. The message of Fatima reflects on that. She walks with us through Newark, giving us the strength we need. This is a sign that she is always with us in our sufferings and our needs. So, bringing her to the Cathedral is bringing the message of Fatima in this new language of peace.”
The statue of Our Lady of Fatima will remain in New Jersey until June 10, visiting the Archdiocese’s local parishes, where it will remain for two to three days at each one. Parishes will provide opportunities for the faithful to visit the statue, as well as incorporating it into events and Masses. It will last visit St. Pius X Parish in Old Tappan, where Auxiliary Bishop Michael A. Saporito will celebrate a Mass on Saturday, June 10, at 4:30 p.m.