A century ago three shepherd children reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal. Now Catholics in Nebraska will get a chance to see a statue depicting how the Virgin Mary appeared to them.
A special statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be on display at Catholic churches in the Omaha and Lincoln dioceses this month.
The display of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima coincides with the 100th anniversary of the vision of the Virgin Mary reported by the children.
The statue will visit six churches in the Archdiocese of Omaha and five in the Diocese of Lincoln.
It’s one of two “twin” statues sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim, said Barb Ernster of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA, the group that keeps and tours the statue around the world.
Ernster said the statue carries a powerful message of hope.
“She is asking us to take refuge in her immaculate heart and follow her,” Ernster said. “She is going to lead us to Christ.”
Becky Tometich, a member of St. Gerald Church in Ralston, is coordinating the statue’s May 30 visit to her parish.
She said many people have a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and a special Mass and procession are planned.
“This is really a blessing for our community,” she said.
On May 13, 1917, three cousins, ages 7 to 10 — Francisco and Jacinta Marto and Lucia dos Santos — reported that they had seen the Virgin Mary as they grazed their sheep. They returned to the same spot in the coming months and reported similar visions.
Portuguese church officials initially doubted them. Many doubters, though, became believers after the “miracle of the sun” on Oct. 13, 1917. The children had predicted that the Virgin would perform a miracle that day, and tens of thousands of people flocked to Fatima and saw what witnesses reported was a vision of the sun “spinning” in the sky and zigzagging toward Earth.
Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died of influenza several years after the vision, were declared saints by Pope Francis this month.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.
International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima:
A special statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be on display at Catholic churches in the Lincoln and Omaha dioceses this month. For information on times and other details about activities planned at each church, visit fatimatourforpeace.com.
Saturday: St. Patrick, McCook
Sunday: St. Cecilia, Hastings
Monday: St. Vincent de Paul, Seward
Tuesday : St. Teresa, Lincoln
Wednesday: St. Benedict, Nebraska City
Thursday: Our Lady of Lourdes, Omaha
May 26: St. Bridget/St. Rose, Omaha
May 27: St. Joan of Arc, Omaha
May 28: St. Stephen the Martyr, Omaha
May 29: St. Isidore, Columbus
May 30: St. Gerald, Ralston
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