By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross
Parishes across the Diocese of Duluth, like parishes around the world, are getting ready to honor the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima in Portugal.
Tricia Laskey, of St. John the Evangelist in Duluth, said she “got a feeling” on the subject last fall, and early on in the new year, she was put in contact with another person thinking along the same lines, Betty Ann Lepak of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary. They have been working to spread the idea.
“I just started calling parishes,” Laskey said in a phone interview, adding that she got to the majority of those listed on the diocesan website and often found interest or even a “robust rosary prayer” willing to spearhead things.
“I would say that half of them are very interested in celebrating,” she said.
The apparitions involve three children in Fatima to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared monthly over a period of 6 months, beginning May 13, 1917. The messages they received urged people to pray (especially the rosary), to offer sacrifices, and to foster devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“With the final apparition on Oct. 13, 1917, over 70,000 people witnessed the miracle of the sun,” Laskey wrote in a letter to The Northern Cross.
She said they are urging all parishes to coordinate some kind of celebration and prayers.
“What glory would be heard in the heavens above if all our parish families said rosaries in honor of our Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is so loved by the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” she wrote.
Information provided by Lepak notes that there are already plans in the works for events in Duluth for each of the anniversary days.
The first will be at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary on Saturday, May 13, beginning at 10 a.m. Bishop Paul Sirba will lead the rosary, and then there will be confessions and a holy hour of Eucharistic Adoration. That evening, the rosary will also be prayed at St. Mary Star of the Sea at 3:30 p.m. before Mass.
The next month, on Tuesday, June 13, the celebration will be at St. John the Evangelist in Duluth. At 6:15 p.m., there will be a procession with a statue into the church, followed by a family-led rosary and then Mass celebrated by Father Richard Kunst.
Laskey said she is also hoping there will be a social in the church basement that evening.
Additional events in the coming months are expected to include the parishes of St. Benedict and St. James in Duluth, as well as additional events at the Cathedral and St. Mary Star of the Sea.
And there are other events in other parts of the diocese. For instance, Laskey said the parishes in the Brainerd area are also hosting events. Check your bulletin or contact your parish for additional details.
Laskey also noted that Pope Francis has declared a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions of receiving Communion, receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, being detached from sin, and praying for the pope, for those who, on the 13th of each month from May to October 2017, pray in honor of the Virgin Mary before a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Those seeking to receive the indulgence should also pray an Our Father and the Creed and invoke Our Lady of Fatima.
Laskey said she is hoping that this centenary of the events will cause people to learn about them. Organizers say that in a time of instant gratification, moral confusion, and godlessness, the messages from Fatima still resonate.
“I hope everybody discovers this wonderful story that … is also so relevant to our times here today,” Laskey said.