One chilly October Sunday in 2017, we celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in our local parish.
There was a national movement to host public processions in as many communities as possible, so when I read about it, I knew I had to get involved. Sure, I was 7 months pregnant then, but I only had 4 kids, so I still had the energy for coordinating things like this.
I contacted the national chair and volunteered to host a celebration locally. I think I signed up 2 weeks before the national event was to take place, so I had a lot of work to do! I got busy writing an insert for our bulletin, creating a Facebook event page, lining up a priest to lead us, finding a 4-foot-tall GORGEOUS statue to process, finding altar servers, and all the other fun that goes into leading a Marian procession.
Ironically, my husband Adam was hard at work preparing a celebration much different than the one that I was planning! I still chuckle as I think about it…
The day of the procession arrived. I went to mass that morning alone as Adam had gone with a few of the kids the night before. But to my surprise, Adam was waiting for me at the end of mass! This was weird because I literally drove there myself, but he said that we didn’t mark out the procession route yet and it should really be done.
Um, there really isn’t much for options… but ok?! So, we awkwardly walked around the church deciding which direction to walk in first. Then he suggested we all drive home together as we would be coming back in a few hours for the procession and could grab the car then. And as if this wasn’t weird enough, he took the longest possible way home, driving well below the speed limit. If you know Adam, you would especially appreciate how strange this was!
We came up the final hill to our house and were greeted by a GIANT banner stretched across the driveway that stated, “Happy Birthday Leah!” as we pull in, I saw car after car parked in the back field. The shop door was open and there were a ton of people milling about with snacks and drinks in hand.
Gasp! It was everyone’s worst nightmare… a surprise 30th party in my honor! I was so moved by the number of people who showed up, but at the same time wanted to crawl under a table and hide.
Here is where it gets wild- Adam had the invites sent out and the caterer already booked when I told him I was planning a procession. He simply pivoted and worked with my procession. So, at 2 pm half of the party convoyed over to the church, where we were met with many others. There were over 100 of us that processed around that afternoon, praying the rosary and publicly honoring Mary. When we were done, several of us went back to our place where guests were still lingering and we had cake. It was surely a day I will never forget!
Yesterday, May 13 we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. She appeared to three young children and asked them to tell the world of the importance of the daily rosary. She also told them how efficacious their sacrifices were in bringing about a conversion of sinners, something that they were very sensitive to, being shown the horrors of hell itself.
Mary’s message at Fatima was a reiteration of the timeless truths of our faith, as the rosary is a meditation on the life of Jesus… how can we become Christ-like if we don’t study his own life. And sacrificing on behalf of others… one glance upon a crucifix will easily explain that one.
If you aren’t familiar with this incredible story, I encourage you to do some research on Our Lady of Fatima. It’s an amazing story and one much suited to our time.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Until next time, your sister in Christ,