By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published March 9, 2017
ATLANTA—Seven local parishes hosted the Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace Feb. 27-March 4 with hundreds turning out to see the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The event was part of an historic two-year tour of America to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal.
The tour began at St. Peter Church in LaGrange. Other parishes participating were Christ the Redeemer Church in Dawsonville, St. Joseph Maronite Church in Atlanta, St. Monica Church in Duluth, Our Lady of the Americas Mission in Lilburn, St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Lilburn, and the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.
The statue, one of twin statues, was sculpted in 1947 based upon the description of the Blessed Mother by Sister Lucia, who was at the time the only one of the three Fatima seers still living. This statue by Jose Thedim was commissioned to carry the message of Our Lady of Fatima throughout the world.
Sister Lucia’s desire was for the pilgrim image to represent Our Lady when she revealed herself as the Immaculate Heart to the three children in 1917. The purpose of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue tour is to bring the graces of Fatima and Our Lady’s message of hope, peace and salvation to millions of people who may never have an opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Fatima shrine.
St. Monica Church hosted the statue on March 2 with a morning Mass. Patrick Sabat, custodian of the statue, presented a program on the image. Several ministries of the parish adopted an hour of prayer throughout the day with each mystery of the rosary being prayed. The choir presented a Taizé service in the evening.
Cyndy Furgiuele, sacramental preparation coordinator at the parish, called it a “truly magnificent” and grace-filled day.
“The lines were long, but the beauty of the rosary being prayed by the various ministries, made the wait go quickly. The statue is exquisite,” said Furgiuele. “I am so thankful that we were so blessed to have the statue of our Blessed Mother visit our parish.”
Parishioner Joe Lenzi said the tour offered a very moving experience. Lenzi is a member of one of the ministries that led prayer as lines of the devoted came forward to reverence the Blessed Mother.
“I thought to myself this is heaven on earth; all peoples coming together as one in the body of Christ praying, worshipping, reverencing and adoring our God, spending eternity with all the angels and saints,” he said.
“Mary visited our parish in a very special way last Thursday,” added parishioner Joe Stelten. “She is such an inspiration to us all.”
From Atlanta the tour continued to Charleston, South Carolina.