RIVERVIEW, Michigan — A Detroit-area chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary and her appearance to children in Europe in 1917 has been declared a local Catholic shrine.

The designation recognizes the popularity and significance of the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in Riverview, Archbishop Allen Vigneron said.

More than a century ago, three shepherd children said Mary appeared to them in Fatima, Portugal, and told them secrets that included the end of World War I and the start of World War II.

Many doubters became believers after the so-called “Miracle of the Sun.” Tens of thousands of people flocked to Fatima and saw what witnesses reported was a vision of the sun spinning in the sky and zigzagging toward Earth.

The suburban Detroit chapel offers at least three Masses a month and other Catholic devotions.

“Our desire is for the faithful who visit Our Lady of Fatima Shrine to receive the same joy and spiritual blessings experienced by millions of pilgrims who visit Fatima, Portugal, each year,” Father John Hedges said.