Fatima movie Oct. 19 prepares for statue’s visit in November

By: By Tom Dermody

The United Nations International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is coming to the Diocese of Peoria in late November, but those wishing to deepen their devotion to and understanding of the Blessed Mother’s appearances and messages can get a jump start on Oct. 19.

A regional premiere showing of the film “The 13th Day,” a dramatic retelling of the experiences of the three shepherd children in Portugal to whom Mary appeared between May and October 1917, is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19, at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.

There is no charge to attend the screening, which is being hosted by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria, but a free will offering will be accepted to benefit the St. Gianna Baby Pantry. Because of limited seating and planned refreshments, reservations are requested. Those planning to attend are asked to call (309) 677-7018 or email lifecdop@gmail.com by Oct. 15.

A reception will follow at the Family Resources Center, located across Monroe Street from the pastoral center.

The movie event will point toward the Nov. 21-23 visit to the diocese of the U.N. International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a wood replica that was blessed by Pope Pius XII in 1947 and has traveled the globe since to help draw people closer to Jesus through Mary.

Accompanying the statue and speaking briefly at scheduled public venerations will be its custodian, Judy Studor of Providence, Rhode Island. She will also bring first-class relics of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco Marto, siblings who witnessed the Fatima apparitions along with their cousin, Lucia Santos.

Most of the planned events will take place at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, including:

Friday, Nov. 21 — A Mass for students representing Catholic schools around the Diocese

Saturday, Nov. 22 — A Holy Hour and rosary at 2 p.m.; recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m., with the sacrament of reconciliation available; a Vigil Mass in Latin at 4 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 23 — A Mass celebrating the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life declared by Pope Francis. Men and women religious throughout the diocese will be specially invited to this liturgy. Studor will speak at 10:15 a.m., with the Mass at 10:30 a.m. The statue and relics will also be present for the Spanish Mass that follows at 12:15 p.m.

The timing of both the movie and the visit of the statue are providential, said Cecilia Sone, the new associate director of Catholic Charities.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Sone, pointing out that the movie date, Oct. 19, is also the day Pope Paul VI will be beatified in Rome. The statue’s visit in November opens on a Marian feast (the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Nov. 21) and corresponds with a diocesan Youth Rally planned on Nov. 22, in addition to the start of the Year of Consecrated Life.

“It’s Our Lady,” said Sone. “She will do these bridges.”

Sone said it is a natural match for Catholic Charities to coordinate the Fatima events because it is now the umbrella organization for Respect Life efforts in the diocese.

“And the Blessed Mother is the mother of life and love and family,” she told The Catholic Post.

“The 13th Day” movie, released in 2009 at the first John Paul II Film Festival in Miami, is based on the memoirs of Sister Maria Lucia de Jesus dos Santos and other eyewitness accounts. It will include subtitles in Spanish.

At the reception following the movie, a group of students from the St. Joseph Catholic Newman Center at Bradley University will offer a presentation on the requests made by Mary at Fatima. Visitors will also be introduced to family-enriching materials at both the Family Resources Center and the Fulton Sheen Museum.

More information on all events, including a trailer of the movie, can be found on the new Diocesan Respect Life website. To learn more about the United Nations Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, visit thefatimastatue.org.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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