JESUS’ mother has never missed a birthday party at Queensland’s own Marian shrine for the past 27 years, and 2016 was no exception.
Traditionally celebrated in the Church on September 8, more than 800 Catholics flocked to the popular Marian Valley shrine for the Nativity of Mary on September 3.
Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green travelled from his home diocese in Wilcannia-Forbes, a 12-hour drive, to celebrate the Mass and procession to the Grotto of Our Lady of Fatima.
Twelve Queensland priests also joined the bishop for the Mass and procession.
The faithful prayed the Rosary in honour the Blessed Virgin’s birthday, a devotion that was started at Marian Valley on September 8, 1989, by a Brisbane couple.
Margaret and Bern Foley spread the devotion to pray the Rosary as a gift for the Blessed Virgin on her birthday.
The couple’s daughter had been seriously injured in a car accident and at the hospital was told she would not survive the night.
They turned to the Rosary for help and guidance, and their daughter remained in a coma for two-and-a-half years before a peaceful death on August 19, 1977.
During that time, the couple also decided to offer Mary a gift on her birthday each year.
The devotion has not only spread in Australia but was also picked up worldwide in the Universal Rosary Bouquet.
The Pauline Fathers, who care for Marian Valley, took ownership of the bouquet after the Foleys’ death.
A spokeswoman for the Pauline Fathers said the devotion between Marian Valley and the Universal Rosary Bouquet, honouring Mary’s birthday, was steadfast.
“From the beginning the Universal Rosary Bouquet has had a connection to Marian Valley and the Pauline Fathers, and this wonderful work has truly been a great powerful prayer in spreading the Rosary throughout many countries in honour of Our Blessed Mother,” she said.
By Emilie Ng