GALLIPOLIS — In 1946, Portuguese youth marched 67 miles to Lisbon with a statue of Mary from Fatima, the 1917 site of her apparition to three shepherd children and message to the world. When they stopped at towns along the way to pray with the people, there were conversions; favors were granted; there was physical, emotional and spiritual healing. All of this inspired devotion in the people with invitations from all over Portugal and later the world for similar visits to their home parishes. A few duplicate statues were made by sculptor Jose Thedim to meet the demand.
One of the pilgrim statues in the care of its two custodians is passing through Ohio, and one of its worldwide stops will be St. Louis Church in Gallipolis for almost two days, Sunday and Monday October 14-15. The purpose is to spread Mary’s message of Fatima and to bring the people closer to her son. The point of every Marian devotion is “To Jesus through Mary”. Her roleas the missionary mother of all, according to members of the Church, is to nurture the faith with the focus always upon Christ. People honor the Queen Mother for her heroic virtue and extraordinary holiness. At the same time, they adore her son and ask Mary to pray to Him for us. In the Old Testament, the Queen Mother had a place of special honor and influence in the King’s court. Furthermore, Mary is a model of mother and spouse. Many Protestants are also starting to recognize her qualities and virtues as a prominent figure in the Bible worthy of honor and emulation.
The people of St. Louis Church will receive the statue of Mary with a beautiful ceremony October 14 at 12 p.m. This representation of Mary will be continuously on display in front of the Blessed Sacrament until 6 p.m. Monday, October 15. There will be continuous prayer and/or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament through the night during the 30 hours with four special sessions at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday plus 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday. The congregation will honor and ask Mary to pray for us while learning about the details of her Fatima message. Each session will feature a rosary with a different set of mysteries. As appropriate for the time of day, lauds, vespers, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be included. In the final session on Monday afternoon there will be a closing Mass (4:30 p.m.) followed by benediction and procession of the statue out of the church. The community is invited to enter at any time and leave as they please.
As a supplement and preparation for the visit of the Pilgrim Virgin statue, St. Louis Church will have a Public Square Rosary Prayer Rally on Saturday, October 13 at 12 p.m. in the Gallipolis City Park on Second Avenue in solidarity with thousands of people in similar rallies all over the country. People of all faiths are invited to join thousands all over the country to respond to Mary’s appeal for repentance and prayer.