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Brisbane priest tells hundreds at centenary procession to live out Our Lady of Fatima’s message of sacrifice

Fatima procession

Night of devotion: Hundreds of people follow the statue of Our Lady of Fatima outside Our Lady of Victories Church, Bowen Hills, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Marian apparition at Fatima, Portugal. Photo: Alan Edgecomb.

LIVING a life of sacrifice should be a priority for all Catholics touched by the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima, Brisbane priest Fr Andrzej Kołaczkowski said.

Fr Kołaczkowski, who is parish priest at Our Lady of Victories Church in Bowen Hills, recalled Our Lady’s messages to Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos, during a Mass and Eucharistic procession at his parish on May 13 – 100 years since the first apparition.

Holding the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, Fr Kołaczkowski led more than 300 people around his church to mark the appearance of Our Lady in Fatima 100 years ago.

It was standing room only at the Mass, celebrated at the same time Pope Francis was preparing to canonise two of the Fatima seers.

“It was fabulous,” Fr Kołaczkowski said.

“We are always happy to see the church full.”

Crowning our Lady

Queen of Heaven: Fr Andrzej Kolaczkowski places the crown on the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Photo: Alan Edgecomb.

Fr Kołaczkowski said the large turnout at the Mass and procession showed the great devotion people had to Our Lady, and the desire to pray as a Church for her intercession.

He said more people needed to hear the messages Our Lady gave to the three Fatima children.

“Reflecting on the many messages of Our Lady, one of them was about sacrifice, which means dedication in little things,” Fr Kołaczkowski said.

“It means doing everyday things with love, as though your life depended on it.”

Many saints lived this example through their lives, he said, including the two Fatima children, Sts Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who were canonised in Fatima at the same time as the Brisbane procession.

“We are not called to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way,” Fr Kołaczkowski said.

Daphne Santos is a parishioner at Bowen Hills who has been attending the parish’s monthly Fatima Mass and Rosary procession – held on the 13th of every month – with her family for several years.

The Rosary procession around the church follows the request from Our Lady of the Rosary to pray the Rosary for world peace.

Ms Santos said her prayers often revolved around the intentions the Blessed Virgin Mary gave to the three Fatima children.

“I don’t have a particular devotion other than devoting my prayers to Our Lady of Fatima’s wish, (including) the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and world peace,” she said.

“With the world that we’re living in today, I believe this consecration needs greater support and promoting especially from our Pope to encourage world peace.”

Ms Santos said about 20 people attend the monthly Fatima Masses but seeing the large crowd at the centenary celebrations on May 13 “was amazing”.

“It was great to see the parishioners holding their candles and saying the Rosary,” she said.

Crowds at the Fatima procession

Night to remember: A section of the large crowd at the procession at Our Lady of Victories Church, Bowen Hills, on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Photo: Alan Edgecomb.

Bowen Hills’ Mass and Eucharistic procession coincided with Pope Francis’ visit to Portugal on May 12 and 13.

Thousands of pilgrims followed the Holy Father to the site where Our Lady appeared to the three children for the canonisation of Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

They were declared the Church’s youngest non-martyr saints 100 years after their first visit from “the lady dressed in white”.

During a prayer vigil at the Fatima site where Mary appeared, Pope Francis said with Mary and Christ “we abide in God”.

Quoting from Pope Paul VI, the Holy Father said “to be Christian, we must be Marian”.

The ideal way to understand the life of Mary, he said, was to pray the Rosary, which followed the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious moments of her life on earth.

“Each time we recite the Rosary, in this holy place or anywhere else, the Gospel enters anew into the life of individuals, families, peoples and the entire world,” the Pope said.

In front of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary on May 13, Pope Francis declared and defined Francisco and Jacinta Marto as saints.

Church's two youngest saints

Young saints: Two paintings of Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto are presented during a news conference in Fatima, Portugal. Pope Francis declared the sainthood of the two shepherd children, to whom Mary appeared, during his visit to Fatima on May 13. Photo: CNS.

The brother and sister were both told by Our Lady, along with their cousin Lucia, to pray the Rosary.

According to accounts by the children, Our Lady told Francisco he would go to heaven only if he prayed the Rosary daily.

Both Francisco and Jacinta died when they were still children, aged 10 and nine respectively, after contracting influenza.

Pope Francis called on Catholics to imitate the heroic life Francisco and Jacinta led, especially their prayers for sinners and adoration of “the hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle.

He said the two young saints were also examples of hope amidst suffering and pain, as they trusted God would comfort them in their final hour.

“That is the Church’s ministry: the Church asks the Lord to comfort the afflicted like yourselves, and he comforts you, even in ways you cannot see,” the Pope said.

“He comforts you in the depths of your hearts and he comforts you with the gift of strength.”

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