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Our Lady of Fatima Shrine dedicated in Charles Town

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CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.—“The shrine we dedicate today both invites us to live the Fatima message with renewed commitment and gives us the means to do so: enabling us to pray the rosary with greater devotion and to be renewed in our dedication to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said to the faithful gathered Oct. 14 at St. James Church in Charles Town. The bishop celebrated Mass before dedicating the new Our Lady of Fatima Shine beside the church.


Hundreds gathered for this anticipated moment of the parish community, including many from the surrounding area and Virginia, who began the day by gathering in the new shrine to pray the rosary that morning. They proceeded to the church, where Bishop Bransfield celebrated a special Mass with area priests concelebrating.

It was fitting to dedicate the shrine Oct. 14, the bishop said in his homily, as the church marks the 100th anniversary of Mary’s apparitions to the children at Fatima. The shrine will be a place for the faithful to connect with the Blessed Mother, he said, and make the rosary a central part of their prayer life.

The bishop expressed his gratitude to Tony Braddock for bringing this shrine to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. The shrine was funded through the Alfred and Barbara Braddock Foundation through the generosity of Tony, who started the foundation in honor of his parents, because of his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Following Mass, the bishop led all in a procession to the new shrine. The faithful gathered as the bishop blessed the shrine and consecrated the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The 10,000-square foot Our Lady of Fatima Shrine is situated next to St. James Church.

At the center of the new shrine is a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary with statues of the three children she appeared to kneeling and praying before her. The statues of the children are spaced so that those who visit may kneel between them and pray. Another statue is of St. John Paul II, holding a bullet — recalling the shooting of the pope on the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima May 13, 1981— and giving thanks to Mary for saving his life. The image of the second bullet is in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The third statue is of the Angel of Peace, who also appeared to the children at Fatima. The shrine is encased by a 2-foot-6-inch wall with four semicircles, each featuring the mysteries of the rosary. In between the semicircles are two angular walls with a bronze plaque and a picture showing part of a Fatima apparition. The floor of the shrine depicts the rosary.

Rowan is editor The Catholic Spirit in Wheeling, W.Va.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017