Celebrating Fatima, remembering Sept. 11
To the editor:
September 11 is a day for remembrance and prayer. This 15th anniversary Sunday of the attacks will be remembered in a special way in North Adams, where community and church come together for a unique memorial service that will include the presence and procession of the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The statue, one of 25 such statues blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1967 at the Fatima Shrine in Portugal to keep the memory of Mary's visitation and her message alive and spread throughout the world, is in the image of Our Lady as she appeared to the children at Fatima in 1917. The national statue will make additional stops at several Berkshire County churches throughout September.
Local activities involving the statue begin this Saturday at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in North Adams. The statue will be processed into the church following the 4 p.m. vigil Mass, where it will remain with the Host as part of an all-night Eucharistic Adoration.
Following the 10:45 a.m. Mass on Sunday, September 11, the statue will be processed from church to the North Adams 9/11 Memorial, where it will be on site for the public memorial service. At the end of that ceremony, the National Virgin Statue will be processed back to the church, followed by a program where Berkshire native, E. William Sockey, III, from the World Apostolate of Fatima, Custodian for the National Pilgrim Virgin of the USA, will speak on the message of Fatima.
Pope John Paul II once said, "The message of Fatima is more important today than ever." In this Year of Mercy for the Catholic Church, it is good to hear again — or for some, for the first time — Mary's message of prayer, sacrifice, and conversion, being reminded that many of the horrible things that happen on Earth, such as 9/11, result from sin and that God is hurt by the sin and indifference of so many. At Fatima, Mary urged us all to pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.
For those not able to attend on Saturday and Sunday in North Adams, the statue's other stops in Berkshire County will be: Monday the 12th, 8 a.m. Mass at St. Mary's in Cheshire; Tuesday the 13th, 9 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart in Pittsfield; Wednesday the 14th, 8:30 a.m. Mass at John Paul II in Adams; the 20th, at St Patrick's in Williamstown; and the 26th, at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. The 100th anniversary of Our Lady's appearances at Fatima will occur over the next year from May 13, 2017 through October 13, 2017.
May God continue to bless our country, keep us safe and protect us from evil.
Stephen P. Garrity, Pittsfield