More than a dozen parishes of the Archdiocese of Newark will host a Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima — which has traveled the world on a mission to spread peace and hope since 1947 — during its archdiocesan tour from April 28 through May 31.
Once transported from the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal, the statue will be on display for veneration at St. Pius X Parish in Old Tappan from April 28 through May 1. The figure will then visit 12 other churches throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties, with each church offering initiatives related to the veneration of Our Lady.
For example, St. Pius X Parish will celebrate a Mass in her name Saturday, April 29, at 9 a.m., after which people will be invited to pray the Rosary every 90 minutes until the 4:30 p.m. vigil.
To commemorate Our Lady of Fatima’s first apparition on May 13, 1917, a procession will commence from Newark’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Saturday, May 13, at 1:30 p.m. and travel to Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
There, the statue will be presented for veneration, followed by a Mass dedicated to Our Lady at 5 p.m. and a special reflection at 7 p.m. The reflection will be delivered by Ricardo Casimiro, co-leader of the statue’s pilgrimage and campus minister at Montclair State University.
Casimiro has made 40 visits to Portugal’s Shrine of Fatima as part of his studies of Our Lady.
“I’m very excited the statue is coming to the archdiocese — it’s been my dream to bring her here for a long time,” Casimiro, who received the Shrine of Fatima’s Centennial Medal in 2017 due to his commitment to Our Lady, said. “Her presence here reminds us that we’re never alone. Our Lady is always with us in our suffering and our moments of joy. So, visiting the statue is a chance to renew our faith and find hope for the future.”
The tour of the statue is intended for parishioners to thank Our Lady for her protection during the COVID-19 pandemic and request her intercession amidst current global conflicts. It is also meant to generate excitement for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day festival, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from Aug. 1-6.
This year the Archdiocese of Newark — with the supervision of Casimiro and the Rev. Kevin Kilgore, pastor of St. Pius X Church in Old Tappan — is sending 43 youths on a pilgrimage to participate in the festival, during which they will visit the Shrine of Fatima.
To prepare them for this journey and encourage all young people to foster a relationship with Our Lady, Casimiro will lead a catechetical program at Montclair State’s Newman Catholic Center on Sunday, May 7, starting at 5 p.m.
Afterward, a Mass dedicated to Our Lady will be celebrated by the Rev. Jim Chern, director of campus ministry for the archdiocese and Montclair State. Students from all four archdiocesan universities have been invited to attend.
“The statue is a beautiful article of faith,” Kilgore, co-leader of the statue pilgrimage who will celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Fatima before bringing the statue to the archdiocese, said. “It’s traveled all over the world. Millions of people have prayed before her over the years. And many more wish they could visit her, but she’ll be with us because the Lord wants her to be here. The Lord wants us to see her and grow our devotion. It’s all divine grace.”
The local schedule of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima includes:
Holy Family Parish in Nutley
Newman Catholic Center at Montclair State University in Montclair
St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny
St. Anthony Church in Belleville
Holy Cross Church in Harrison
Those interested in visiting should contact each parish for hours of operation and event agendas. For more information about the tour and the archdiocesan World Youth Day pilgrimage, visit www.facebook.com/WYDNEWARK.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.