Do you remember when the statue of Our Lady of Fatima crisscrossed the country in the centennial year of the Fatima apparitions in 2017?
During that time many remembered the feeling of peace bestowed.
Andrew Solomon, St Michael’s parish said his prayer life and spirituality were enhanced. He said the statue attracted “droves” of pilgrims from other parishes and persons experienced “a lot of healing”. “I think Our Lady going throughout the country will do a lot for the healing of our land,” Solomon said.
A parishioner of Holy Cross, Santa Cruz said the statue was “peaceful and delighting”. She could not articulate all the things she felt but said it was a “miracle” the statue’s presence prompted her whole family to start attending Mass.
Diane Bertrand, president of the Shrine Committee, Our Lady of Montserrat, Tortuga, stated the statue was a “resounding success” and caused “dramatic evangelisation” even among non-Catholics. Mass attendance increased; persons spoke of “miracles” in their lives.
They told of how the statue felt “alive” and comforted them when they were in church.. “There was a tremendous outpouring of love and appreciation for Our Lady’s intervention,” Bertrand said. A parishioner from Laventille believed the area will be better for having had a visit by the statue.
The 8.5-foot, 500-pound statue which contains a relic from Fatima in its base was unveiled December 31, 2016 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and from January 22 2017, the statue began what was dubbed the ‘Journey of Peace’ when it was taken to Fatima College for two weeks, then transported to Tobago for public viewing at St Joseph RC, Scarborough. The tour continued from March 2017.
The project’s success has exceeded the expectations of the organisers. Today it rests in a special glass-panelled enclosure in the grotto at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Bushe Street, Curepe.
“We never expected it would result in such wonderful signs and wonders and we did see our Church coming back together to pray,” said Jenny Lee, Director of Fundraising and Development, Archbishop’s Appeal. She explained the project, in the 100th anniversary year of the apparitions at Fatima, was about evangelisation and bringing the Church together “to pray for peace in Trinidad and Tobago”.
The presence of the statue also brought together parishes in clusters. Different parish groups took responsibility for all-day prayers. There was also involvement by youths and school children.
“Everyone got involved and wherever the statue was placed it brought the entire cluster together in prayer. We could not ask for more,” Lee said. The many testimonies about the inner peace felt went beyond expectation.
Lee said peace starts within every individual and radiates outward to others, the community and nation. “If you have conversion of heart you are delivering the message of Christ to love one another the way he loved us,” she added.
Around 100,000 rosaries were distributed as communities came together to pray for peace and recite the rosary.
Apart from the inner peace it gave, Miller described the effect of the statue as “a whole tidal wave of prayer, in particular the rosary”. Some Catholics decided to follow the statue to different locations. There were tears when it arrived at parishes and when it departed.
“It was an amazing experience; I can tell you, but people would have to go themselves to experience it,” Miller said.
With the stay-at-home order in effect, we may not be able to visit but can still ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us and our nation.
By Lara Pickford-Gordon