Every parish is something special

By Dan Wagner

Our Lady of Fatima parish in Wilton, CT
Our Lady of Fatima parish in Wilton, CT

These last couple of days have been full of prayer and some really neat events, but the days have also been long. We have been trying to squeeze in some necessary RV activities, and at the same time, keep materials stocked at the display tables and keep engaged in the amazing diverse parish activities.  Sometimes practical reasons have made it impossible for me to personally see all the different ways each church takes the opportunity to celebrate Our Lady, but by the end of the day I am always impressed at how creative and welcoming each church is. 

The arrival of the statue definitely brings people from many different parishes, but it is in the parish itself and the efforts of the volunteers and  coordinators that really makes the event something special. Sometimes when I arrive at the parish, there is so much I don’t know about… twice now we have been surprised by the presence of another guest speaker who has been invited at the same time. We had the chance to listen to Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR. who spoke at St. Theresa parish in Trumbull, CT. And yesterday I was delighted to hear some great talks by Fr. Peter Giroux FPO. Both of them had beautiful and moving messages about the message of our Lady and the witness of the three Fatima seers. Bls. Jacinta and Francisco have always been inspiring for me, even more so in recent days, and the example of their heroic efforts during their short lives has been working on me to be a little more generous, too. Besides Fr. Andrew and Fr. Peter, the homilies of each and every one of the pastors and associates in this first week of my touring experience have called me to be more generous in my response to God, and to His Mother’s request to “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).

However, it is not just Bls. Francisco and Jacinta who inspire me; little by little I am coming to understand and appreciate Sr. Lucia. As Larry Maginot told me, and I can definitely see his point, “this work is a very active apostolate, not just contemplative work.”  So that I not slow down or impede this apostolate, I have to keep alert and observant. Still, I have a lot of time in the church pews, so in order to pass the time more fruitfully I have been working prayerfully through a book called “A Pathway under the Gaze of Mary.” We have been selling the book on our display table so I began reading an extra copy I found in the RV, and for the first time, I feel like I am learning and meeting Lucia Rosa Dos Santos. Wow ,what a person! This book has some of the most amazing details about her experiences before during and after these world-changing apparitions, and a lot of reflections about issues that are so meaningful for our lives today, not only because human nature doesn’t change but because up until a decade ago she was right here with us living through Y2K and 9-11, praying and reminding people how we can find the peace we are so desperately seeking in a world that shows more and more signs of being disturbed and insane.  Please, Blessed Mother, we sure need you!

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