by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
The world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, traveling worldwide since 1947, is on an historic two-year journey across America to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, visiting more than 100 dioceses in 50 states.
The Diocese of Gaylord is participating in the tour this week, which includes a 24-hour stop at St. Paul Catholic Church in Onaway. The statue is expected to arrive at the Washington Avenue church today (Thursday) at 6 p.m., until the next day at the same time.
The wooden statue, dear to Catholics around the world, commemorates the appearance of Mary to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
According to the Web site fatimatourforpeace, “The tour of the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima is a nation-wide call to prayer and penance for peace in our nation and conversion of hearts.”
The statue is one of two “twin” statues sculpted in 1947 by famous sculptor José Thedim. It was created based on the description by Sister Lucia, one of the three children who witnessed the apparitions.
On the 13th day of the months of May through October 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos, and Jacinta and Francisco Marto, at a place called the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal.
The statue was in Cedar, Traverse City, McBain and Mio before today. The next three stops will be Indian River, Beaver Island and Petoskey. All the churches in these communities are part of the Diocese of Gaylord.
The excitement is building for St. Paul parishioners, because Annamarie Barnes, “The Traveling Catholic” and her Mass Mob group will be in town Sunday during the 10 a.m. service.
No ticket purchase is required; donations in kind to the church will be accepted.
Annamarie Barnes organized the first Mass Mob in Detroit in 2014, after reading about the Mass Mob movement in Buffalo, NY.
Mrs. Barnes’ goal was to aid her struggling childhood church, St. Hyacinth Catholic Church. She later partnered with others to organize Mass Mob events throughout 2014.
In 2015 Barnes refocused her efforts independently, as “The Traveling Catholic” to focus on parishes struggling to meet the needs of their community throughout southeastern Michigan.
St. Paul’s scheduled Mass is the first of its kind for the group, being the furthest distance traveled to date.