MUMBAI, India — More than 3,000 Catholics descended on the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Karjat, India, on May 13 for the centenary celebrations of the apparitions of Fatima.
The Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, presided at Mass for pilgrims from five neighboring dioceses.
During the liturgy, Gracias blessed a new altar at the shrine, and renewed the Act of Consecration of the Archdiocese of Bombay to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a devotion associated with Our Lady of Fatima.
“Let us live the message of Fatima. Pray for peace and make sacrifices emphasizing the power of prayer,” the cardinal urged the faithful.
“At Fatima the Blessed Virgin spoke of the World War,” Gracias said.
“Wars continue today – with different forms and dangers, turmoil, upheaval, and violence all over the world. Wars are also in our personal lives, in the struggle between good and evil,” he continued, ““For this, it is important to pray…pray for peace.”
The cardinal invited families to pray the rosary for peace in their homes and in the world.
During the liturgy, a medallion containing relics from Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto were installed in the shrine, and placed at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima for public veneration.
The two shepherd children, who saw the apparitions of Mary in Portugal in 1917, were canonized the same day by Pope Francis at a Mass in Fatima.
Father Calistus Fernandes, the rector of the shrine, told Crux the relics had been requested from the shrine in Fatima last in October, months before the canonization was announced.
He said the installation was planned for the centenary celebrations, but this took greater significance after it was announced on March 23 their final miracle and been approved, and the two children would be made saints.
“Cardinal Oswald Gracias is also President of the The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), and this was a great occasion for Asia’s first Fatima shrine,” Fernandes said.
Karjat is 40 miles southeast of Mumbai, and the shrine was built in 1935. The statue housed in the shrine came from Portugal in 1920, ten years before the Fatima apparitions were approved in 1930.
In addition to serving the thousands of pilgrims who come to the shrine every year, Fernandes is also pastor to the small Catholic population, which consists of about 40 families.
The church hosts a special service in honor of Our Lady of Fatima on the thirteenth day of every month.