The Our Lady of Fatima worship site of St. Padre Pio Parish in Elba has the distinction of being the oldest sanctuary in North America dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. The site also includes an outside life-sized shrine to Our Lady of Fatima depicting her with the three young visionaries.
Father Thaddeus Bocianowski, pastor, and a group from the parish are making plans for a "Journey to Fatima" by celebrating the centennial anniversary of all of the Fatima apparitions, which included three by the Angel of Peace in 1916 and six by Our Lady in 1917.
In the spring of 1916, an angel appeared to three young Portuguese children, Lucia do Santos, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinto Marto. The angel appeared to them two more times that year. In the spring of 1917, Our Lady made her first of six apparitions to them.
The central message was to pray the rosary daily and offer sacrifices for sinners who continue to offend God, to establish veneration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
Our Lady of Fatima worship site will mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions by taking parishioners on a spiritual journey to Fatima which will include activities spread over the 18-month period beginning in May 2016 and concluding in October 2017.
These celebrations will correspond to the Fatima dates that occurred 100 years ago. Activities will include May crownings, processions, weekly rosaries before Masses and a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston.
Also participating in these events will be former pastors of the church, local Knights of Columbus and various other church groups.
Everyone is welcome to attend any of the events. The intent is to increase devotion to Mary through prayer and participation in the planned activities .
The first event is scheduled for Sunday, May 15, at 12:30 p.m. at the Our Lady of Fatima worship site. It will include a procession to the outside shrine, crowning of Our Lady, the Holy Rosary recited in five languages and will conclude with Mass inside the church at 2 p.m.
All are invited.