Processions mark Fatima anniversary

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Sunday, May 28, 2017

More than 1,500 people walked in a candlelight procession for peace from St. John Cantius Church to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church to celebrate 100 years of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13.

It was a sight to see: More than 1,500 people processing west on Chicago Avenue as the sun set on May 13 praying the rosary, singing and carrying candles. They made their way from St. John Cantius Church, 825 N. Carpenter St., to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 1351 W. Evergreen Ave., in honor of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima and to pray for peace.

Resurrectionist Father Anthony Bus, St. Stanislaus Kostka’s pastor, led the procession, which included a volunteer Chicago Police honor guard carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Police blocked off streets as the procession made its way along the mile-long route.

Between the decades of the rosary, a crowd of young and old also sung a traditional Marian hymn associated with the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal and waved white handkerchiefs in the air during the refrain "Ave Maria."

This was the first of a series of commemorations at St. John Cantius to be held the 13th of every month through October (see for information). In 1917, Mary appeared to the shepherd children on the 13th of every month between May and October. Her last appearance on Oct. 13 included the "Miracle of the Sun." Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Brighton Park will also have monthly devotions on the 13th of each month in Spanish.

"The theme for today is prayer for peace — taking Our Lady’s request to make sacrifices and prayers for peace necessary. We can’t just say we want peace. We actually have to do something about it. We actually have to step out with that candle into the darkness and be brave in stepping out," said Father Joshua Caswell of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, the religious community that staffs the parish.

The evening began with a standing-room only talk in the church by Father James Presta, a Mariolgist and pastor of St. Emily Parish in Mount Prospect.

When Mary appeared to the children at Fatima in 1917, World War I was ravaging Europe, Presta noted.

"She [Mary] brought the children a Gospel message of prayer, penance and peace," he said, adding that the world still needs that message. People are still dying around the world as war rages on.

"Even here on the streets of Chicago, we need to pray for an end to violence and murder, an end to the loss of innocent lives in the midst of gang wars, an end to illegal drugs that take over the lives of many," Presta said.

The Fatima message can be viewed through the lens of the family because Mary appeared to three children and showed them how to pray, especially the rosary.

"We can say this: Fatima is a school of prayer for the family," Presta said. "Mary is the teacher of spiritual life. Mary will always lead us to her son. She will show us the path to happiness."

Roberta Stadler of St. John Cantius Parish participated in the procession and said May 13 was the anniversary of her baptism.

"The world needs the message of peace, penance and prayer," Stadler said of the Fatima message and the procession through the streets. "In this city it’s important that we do this. It’s a message of hope and peace"


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  • our lady of fatima
  • st stanislaus kostka
  • candlelight procession
  • joyce duriga
  • fatima
  • st john cantius

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