During this Sunday’s Marian Day celebration in Rome, Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima and an estimated 200,000 pilgrims.
The Vatican Information Service is reporting on a press conference held this morning in Rome during which Archbishop Rino Fisichella said the Year of Faith is a time to retrace the history of our faith. Benedict XVI placed the figure of Mary in the foreground because she represents the first response of complete and total faith, in which we fully abandon ourselves to God.
For this reason, Our Lady will be at the center of the festivities this weekend when the original statue of Mary will be flown to Rome from Fatima on Saturday and returned on Sunday evening.
“The statue never leaves the shrine, except in the case of entirely exceptional and extraordinary events,” the Archbishop said. “The last time was during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 when, on 13 May, Blessed John Paul II carried out the act of consecration to the Virgin. … The date of 13 October has been chosen as it recalls the final appearance of the Virgin to the three shepherd children in 1917.”
The events will begin on Saturday morning with a pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter, followed by an afternoon catechesis by Pope Francis. There will be a procession of the Virgin in St. Peter’s Square at 4:00 p.m. and pilgrims will be asked to wave white kerchiefs as the statue passes. It will then be transported to the Santuario del Divino Amore, where an all-night prayer vigil will take place.
On Sunday morning, the Virgin will return to the Vatican where the procession across St. Peter’s Square will be repeated at 9.30 a.m., followed by Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. Finally, the Pope will carry out the act of consecration to the Virgin and will pray the Angelus with the pilgrims present.
It is expected that over 150,000 pilgrims from all over the world will participate, with international representations from 48 countries.
Watch the events live on EWTN!
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In his book, Fatima for Today: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope, Father Andrew Apostoli analyzes the events of Fatima, including the third secret, and challenges us to hear anew the call of Our Lady to prayer and sacrifice. Get your copy today!