Skip to comments.Area Catholics to celebrate 90th anniversary of Fatima
Posted on 10/11/2007 1:50:43 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
WINSLOW -- Dorothy Turmelle special ordered a 21/2-foot-high ceramic statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary for an event she expects will draw hundreds of Roman Catholics to St. John the Baptist Church on Saturday. Turmelle said observance of the 90th anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima will involve four Catholic women's groups as well as five Knights of Columbus units in addition to any parishioners who decide to attend.
A procession of Knights of Columbus members in full regalia, followed by seven boys and seven girls bearing flowers, will kick off the event at noon.
The celebration of Our Lady of Fatima goes back to an event, considered in the Catholic Church to be a public miracle, reported to have occurred in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
For six consecutive months, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three shepherd children on the 13th day of each month, the last time on Oct. 13 in front of what was purported to be a crowd of about 70,000, the church believes.
During those visits, the apparition shared with the children several predictions, warnings and promises dealing with faith, salvation and the fate of the world.
Turmelle, a member of the Corpus Christi Parish, which has its headquarters in Waterville, belongs to a national group called America Needs Fatima.
She and Marie McDonald are among the organizers of Saturday's event, one of at least 2,000 such celebrations planned across the country that day, Turmelle said.
Most Catholics are familiar with the story of the Virgin Mary's apparition, Turmelle said, although not much attention generally is given to the miracle.
"I don't think that (Catholics) talk too much about it," she said, "unless there is something like this where they are celebrating the anniversary."
Debra Campbell, a professor of religious studies at Colby College, said the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima has never been mainstream Catholicism.
Instead, she said, the miracle has sort of a cult-like following, but one that provides great comfort to those Catholics devoted to the Virgin Mary.
"We should not be afraid of it," Campbell said, "but it does look different from Catholicism as generally presented. It is very mystical -- the promises and how they were kept hidden and why. But at the bottom of it is a belief in the (Virgin Mary) that most Catholics subscribe to."
Turmelle said the children will walk between two lines of Knights of Columbus officers with swords raised.
The children will hand their flowers to two women, she said, who will then place the flowers in vases in front of the Virgin Mary statue.
The Rev. Phil Tracy, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, will bless the statue and distribute medals of The Immaculate Heart of Mary, she said.
The ceremony also will feature a history of Our Lady of Fatima by Judy Thibeau of St. Theresa's Guild of Oakland.
Turmelle said the event will end with coffee and other refreshments in the St. John Catholic School cafeteria.
i wonder if anyone would be able to post newspaper reports or other original eyewitness accounts. supposedly there was something in the NYT
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