May 17, 2023/Written by: Michael Gorre
Ever since Our Lady appeared in Fatima on May 13, 1917, pilgrims have gathered at her shrine in Portugal every year especially on the anniversaries of her appearances in May and in October.
This year saw the return of massive crowds of pilgrims after the ending of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. I, together with longtime America Needs Fatima member Michael King, visited the places graced by Our Lady of Fatima just over a hundred years ago. Our mission was to pray for the intentions of all Canada Needs Our Lady members and benefactors, and to deliver names, prayer petitions, consecration pledges, candles and flowers on their behalf.
On the night of May 12, we joined over 230,000 pilgrims in the Cova da Iria to pray the Holy Rosary and to participate in the candlelight procession while bearing the names of CNOL & ANF members together on a special banner.
When the pilgrims raised their candles in the air between decades of the rosary, the hundreds of thousands of flames formed an uninterrupted sea of fire, and the multitude of voices thundered “Ave, ave Maria!” in unison.
Adding our prayers and voices to that great demonstration of love to Our Lady on behalf of CNOL members moved us almost to tears and gave us a lot of goosebumps!
The following day, the actual anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition, the same crowds gathered for the Holy Rosary, Mass and for the farewell or “despedida” procession. Exchanging candles for white handkerchiefs, the faithful waved their farewells as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima processed back to her normal place, the exact spot where Our Lady had appeared. As Our Lady’s statue passed, the enthusiastic pilgrims threw multi-colored rose petals and shouted, “Viva Maria Sanctissima! Viva!” (Long live Mary Most Holy!).
After the crowds dispersed, we brought a hundred pounds of prayer petitions and consecration pledges and deposited them inside the Chapel of the Apparitions.
We presented a white wreath full of thousands of little rosettes sent by CNOL members. Then we presented five large candles made from the many thousands of small candles sent by CNOL members. Each candle weighed almost ten pounds.
We also presented close to one thousand roses on behalf of CNOL members who sponsored Mother’s Day roses to the Mother of all Mothers. We also made a point to pray before the tombs of Saints Jacinta and Francisco on behalf of all CNOL members and benefactors.
Seeing and participating in these public and massive demonstrations of love for Our Lady and seeing the outpouring of devotion from Canadians, as represented by the numerous symbolic offerings we presented, gives us hope.
I want to help Canada Needs Our Lady spread the Fatima message.
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