By KATIE BORKOWSKI
The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima has traveled the world many times visiting more than 100 countries and will now visit three locations in the Diocese of Sioux City starting May 31.
The international statue is on a two-year Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for peace, marking the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima.
The historic statue was sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim. The image reflects the description of Sister Lucia, the oldest of the three Fatima seers.
“He (Thedim) carved the image after he spent several days talking to Sister Lucia about what our lady looked like,” said Katie Moran, the Fatima centennial tour coordinator. “Sister Lucia said there was something about the expression in the statue’s eyes that resembled Our Lady’s eyes at the last apparition.”
The statue has been traveling the world since 1947 and was blessed by Pope Pius XII.
“She was carved with explicit instructions to take Fatima to the world because not everyone could come to Fatima, Portugal,” said Moran. “She has what theologians call ‘the aura of the Mother of God,’ meaning you can look at other icons and images of Our Lady and get your fill, but when you are in the presence of this image, Our Lady is mystically with that image in a special way.”
She pointed out no one is allowed to touch the statue. There is a sign by the statue that reads, “Please do not touch her, she will touch you.”
A petition box travels with the Fatima statue. Moran explained once the petitions are all put together “they are sent to Fatima, Portugal, where they are buried at the site of the apparition where Our Lady appeared.”
The statue will travel to Holy Spirit Church in Carroll on May 31 and be on display between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The day will begin at 8 a.m. with Patrick Sabat, who has been the statue custodian since 2003, talking with volunteers and coordinators.
At 9 a.m. the Knights of Columbus will process into the church with the statue followed by an opening talk by Sabat. Then Eucharistic Adoration will begin.
The Legion of Mary will lead the rosary at 10 a.m. followed by the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At noon the Catholic Daughters will lead the Angelus, followed by the rosary.
Confession will be available from noon to 1 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be led by area youth at 3 p.m. Then will be Carmelite Brown Scapular enrollment.
Father Tim Johnson, pastor at Holy Spirit, will lead benediction at 4:30 p.m. Sabat will offer a talk on Fatima at 5:10 p.m. followed by Mass.
The men’s CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) group will sing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 6:15 p.m. The day will conclude with a Knights of Columbus recession.
The statue’s second stop in the diocese on June 1 will be Nativity Parish in Sioux City. The statue will be positioned in the sanctuary at 9 a.m. with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 9:10 a.m.
Trinity Heights Queen of Peace is sponsoring the statue coming to Sioux City and Nativity Parish is the host.
“The message of Our Lady of Fatima, the path to peace, is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago,” said Terry Hegarty, executive director of Trinity Heights. “The Blessed Mother’s message, pray, pray the rosary, pray for peace, is something we feel needs to be reinforced with great intensity today.”
Eucharistic Adoration with veneration of the Fatima Statue and private consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary will take place from 9:10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. with time for private prayer.
Reconciliation will be offered from 5 to 5:30 p.m. with a rosary also being prayed. The Blessed Sacrament will be reposed at 5:15 p.m. followed by Mass at 5:30 p.m.
The statue custodian, Sabat, will talk at 6 p.m. and a collection will be taken for Blue Army. Enrollment in the Carmelite Brown Scapular.
St. Mary Parish in Rock Valley will host the Fatima statue on June 2. The schedule of events will begin with 9 a.m. Mass. The rosary will be prayed in Spanish at 3:30 p.m.
“A speaker will come from Sioux Center who will present in Spanish,” said Sister Jodie Zimmerman, OSB, pastoral minister at St. Mary’s. “Private or individual prayer and veneration is offered for the rest of the day.”
The event will close at 7 p.m. Sister Jodie said the event “encourages us to learn about the message Our Lady presented at Fatima or to renew our knowledge of it.”
“One thing about anniversaries is that they mark time and are milestones which raise up again within our consciousness the meaning of an event and how it has deepened over time,” she said. “Also, this will certainly be an occasion of prayer and a time to dedicate oneself to Mary.”
For more information about the statue and the tour, visit www.fatimatourforpeace.com.