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Fatima statue will visit the diocese as part of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions

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Martha Tueros dreams of visiting Fatima with her daughter, Isabella Fatima. In the meantime, a bit of Fatima is coming to her. Tueros, a parishioner of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg, will be among the crowds to see the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima when it tours the Arlington Diocese March 20-25 through the World Apostolate of Fatima U.S.A.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima is on a two-year Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace, marking the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima to the shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, by visiting more than 100 dioceses in all 50 states through Dec. 20, 2017. 

The statue was sculpted in 1947 by José Thedim and the image reflects the precise instructions of Sister Lucia.

Father Mark Moretti, chaplain and former president of the World Apostolate of Fatima, is the local liaison for the tour. As parochial vicar of Precious Blood Church in Culpeper, he wanted to make sure people in each part of the diocese could see the statue.

“Our Lady works through this image to bring people back to her Son,” said Katie Moran, the Fatima centennial tour coordinator. “The areas that get her are very blessed by God. You can see the graces coming forth.”

Tueros is president of the Legion of Mary for the Spanish praesidium in Fredericksburg. “It feels like a gift to me and my family,” she said through an interpreter. When Tueros was pregnant with her fourth child, she prayed that if she had a girl she would name her after Our Lady of Fatima. “I knew that Our Lady had answered my prayers.”

The first stop on the tour is her parish March 20. There will be prayers and devotions before the statue departs in the afternoon for the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. March 21, the statue will go to St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls. It will remain there overnight and leave March 22 for St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton. The statue will spend the morning and afternoon at St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock March 23 and arrive at St. John the Baptist in Front Royal in the evening. The last stop will be St. Paul Chung Church in Fairfax March 24. The statue will depart early on March 25 for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Peggy Santos, who is coordinating the visit of the statue at St. John Bosco Church, said the presence of the statue will be accompanied by the rosary, chaplet of Divine Mercy, anointing of the sick, confessions and brown scapular enrollment before concluding with a Mass. An overnight prayer vigil, with hours dedicated to pray for certain intentions including the protection of marriage and family life and government, will accompany the visit to St. John the Evangelist Church.

Father Moretti said sacramentals, such as statues, are important for the growth of the faith.

“I’m always touched by the devotion of people to Mary,” he said. When an authorized image of Our Lady of Guadalupe visited the diocese for the day at St. John the Evangelist Church eight months ago, Father Moretti said more than 600 people came.

The Fatima statue is handled exclusively by a custodian, Patrick Sabat, who has accompanied the statue on tours since 2003. As custodian, Sabat gives a 15- to 20-minute talk about the statue and Fatima’s message.

Father Moretti said it is important to visit the statue since Our Lady visited us. He encouraged people to listen to the urgent message she gave the world to pray the rosary for world peace.

“It’s not just peace for the nation,” he said, “but for family, friendship and the inner peace we all need to have with God.” 

Statue visitation schedule:

March 20 St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

March 20 Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, 5:30 p.m. to 10 a.m. March 21

March 21 St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Great Falls, 11:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. March 22

March 22 St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton, 12 p.m. to 9 a.m. March 23

March 23 St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

March 23 St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal, 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. March 24

March 24 St. Paul Chung Church in Fairfax, noon to 6 a.m. March 25

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017