(This article was submitted by Jacinta Cillis-Asquith. As you’ll read below, her family has an important connection to this Friday’s procession. Readers may also remember Cillis-Asquith’s nature photography that we’ve featured several times on this site.)
A Marian procession will be held on Friday, October 13 in downtown Ottawa to mark the 100th year since the miracle of Fatima (miracle of the sun) occurred in Fatima, Portugal.
The festivities will begin with an outdoor, rosary and candle procession with a life-like statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the title given to the Virgin Mary who appeared to three little shepherd children, once a month for six months, in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
The procession will assemble at 5:30 pm in front of St. Patrick’s Basilica at 220 Kent Street (Kent & Nepean Streets) in downtown Ottawa. At 6:00 pm the procession will begin to make its way to Notre Dame Basilica located at 385 Sussex Drive (in the lower town neighbourhood). A children’s choir will be providing music. There Archbishop Terrance Prendergast will celebrate a special Mass at 7:00 pm commemorating the 100th year since the visions first occurred at Fatima and 100 years to the day since the miracle at Fatima. After the Mass, there will be a reception in the basement of Notre-Dame Basilica.
In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three little shepherd children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos. (Jacinta and Francisco Marto were canonized as Catholic Saintsthis past May.) The apparition told the children to lead souls everywhere to pray for world peace to end the world war. The apparition foretold of WWII as the Lady said if the world did not head the warning, and change its ways; there would be another world war, much worse than the first. The message from Fatima is a reminder to pray the daily rosary to obtain world peace. A message even more valid today.
The statue carried in this procession is made from a single piece of rosewood, hand carved by a Portuguese craftsman, in the image of Our Lady of Fatima and features crystal life-like eyes. This statue of Our Lady of Fatima was blessed by St. Pope John Paul II in Fatima on May 13th, 1982 when the Pope went to thank Our Lady of Fatima for sparing his life after making a full recovery from being shot the year before.
The papal blessing was requested by Anne McGinn Cillis, owner of this statue, and the statue was named “Padre Pio’s Queen of Peace” for travels in Canada and North America to promote the Fatima message of world Peace through the rosary. (Padre Pio has since been canonized as a Catholic Saint as has Pope John Paul II.)
The statue honoured in this public procession a family treasure that belongs me. I’ve been the owner and custodian since the death of my mother, Anne McGinn Cillis in August 2015.
The same evening, the Ottawa Family Cinema is having a screening of The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima. More info…
More information on this procession event is available on Facebook, and for more about the significance of the celebration, here’s an article from Terrence Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa.