(Washington, NJ—February 15, 2016)
The world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, traveling around the world since 1947, will begin an historic two-year journey across America, visiting more than 100 dioceses in 50 states. The Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace, March 2016 – December 2017, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Angel of Peace (1916) and the Blessed Mother (1917) at Fatima, Portugal.
The tour, sponsored by the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA (The Blue Army), will launch from the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ, March 20-21, 2016, to coincide with the start of the centenary celebrations at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal where Pope Francis is expected to visit in May, 2017.
The statue will travel to parishes, schools, military chapels, and other venues along the tour, with programming to include Masses, confession, talks on Fatima, Holy Hours of Adoration, rosaries and private veneration.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children, Lucia dos Santos (age 10), and Francisco (age 9) and Jacinta Marto (age 7), on the 13th day of the months of May – October, 1917, exhorting them to be fervent in working for the salvation of souls and conversion of sinners through prayer, especially the daily Rosary, and daily penance in reparation for sins. She identified the conversion of sinners as key to peace in the world.
Spreading the Peace Plan from Heaven
The goals of the World Apostolate of Fatima in arranging the U.S. Tour for Peace are to allow Our Lady of Fatima to claim her dominion over America through her Immaculate Heart, and to bring the urgent Message of Fatima—the Peace Plan from Heaven—to a world in need. It also encourages devotion through personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was the mission given to Lucia by Our Lady and Our Lord. Jesus relayed to Sister Lucia in 1936 that he wished to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart in the Church next to His Sacred Heart.
The tour begins during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Fatima message and Our Lady’s warnings of great evils that marked the 20th Century—WWII, famine, persecution of the Church, much suffering for the Holy Father, and the spread of Russia’s atheistic Communism around the world—are closely linked to the Divine Mercy message given to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s. Both apparitions involve similar visions of an angel about to strike the earth with a flaming sword, and request prayers and penance for the conversion of sinners and reparation for sin to prevent this.
The Recent Popes and Fatima
Following the assassination attempt on St. Pope John Paul II, May 13, 1981, and his subsequent study of the famous third part of the Secret of Fatima, he concluded, “Fatima is more important now than in 1917.” On March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II fulfilled Our Lady’s request to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, which was accepted by Heaven according to Sister Lucia. He released the full text of the third part of the Secret at Fatima on May 13, 2000, during the ceremonies and beatification of Jacinta and Francisco.
In his homily at Fatima, May 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI stated, “Fatima is the home from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times…We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.” The example of the three shepherd children who followed the requests of Our Lady spread and multiplied around the world, “especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin…May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”
Upon his election, Pope Francis almost immediately entrusted his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima in May, 2013, and entrusted the world to her Immaculate Heart in October 2013, before the famous image of Our Lady of Fatima venerated in the Capelinha at Fatima, which was flown to Rome.
The Spiritual Presence of Our Lady of Fatima
The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima was sculpted in 1947 by famous sculptor José Thedim, upon the precise instructions of Sister Lucia. On October 13, 1947, the statue was blessed by the Bishop of Fatima and commissioned to serve as the Pilgrim Virgin that would carry the blessings of Fatima throughout the world. The Bishop prayed that Mary herself accompany the statue wherever it goes.
In 1951, His Holiness Pope Pius XII stated in a radio address to more than a million pilgrims at Fatima: “In 1946, I crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the World and the following year, through the Pilgrim Virgin, She set forth as though to claim Her dominion, and the favors She performs along the way are such that we can hardly believe what we are seeing with our eyes.”
The purpose of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue tours was and still is to bring the graces of Fatima and Our Lady’s message of hope, peace and salvation to a world suffering under the weight of sin. Many graces and favors have been associated with the precious image. Parish priests who have hosted the image have reported long lines at the confessional and many people returning to the Sacraments. Numerous conversions occur, especially when people spend personal time before the statue and look into her eyes. The statue has traveled around the globe many times, visiting more than 100 countries, including Russia and China.