Faith and love for Our Lady shined brightly through Saturday’s torrential rain

Crowds of people packed closely under the “mantle of Mary” roof of the Shrine for the Fatima Jubilee celebrations.

I woke up at 4 a.m. Saturday, looked out the window and my fears were realized. As predicted, there was a steady rain coming down that would last throughout the day until about midnight. Oh well, I thought, this is the centennial anniversary and we will make the best of it.

Our Lady of Fatima is honored at the National Blue Army Shrine on May 13, 2017. The Fatima Icon, displayed next to the statue, was blessed by Bishop Checchio.

I turned on the television to watch the canonization Mass from Fatima. St. Francisco and St. Jacinta would not worry about a little rain, I thought; faith would rule the day. Immediately following the Mass, EWTN ran the first of our 13-part series on Fatima: Hope for the World. This was uplifting, as we have received great exposure for our mission from the network during this centennial year. Afterwards, at about 7a.m., I drove up to shrine to see if everything was in order. We had erected several large tents next to the shrine to keep as many people as possible under a roof and dry. When I arrived I saw a good number of cars already in the parking lot. The rain was not going to keep the true devotees of Our Lady away. By 9 a.m. it not only became apparent that the weather would not keep people away, but that this would likely be a record day. This was the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition and the significance of this day would not be drowned out by a little water, or even a lot of water. As the bus lot filled, the car parking lots overflowed and the offsite parking areas reached capacity, we realized that some would not be able to participate.

Bishop James F. Checchio celebrated the Mass.

Bishop James F. Checchio, the Ordinary of our Diocese of Metuchen, and 20 priests concelebrated the Mass. After the homily, His Excellency blessed the beautiful icon of Our Lady of Fatima, written and given to us by Vivian Imbruglia, an iconographer from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.  Before the Mass, we made the announcement that the full indulgence granted to the Shrine in Fatima, allowing a pilgrim to attain a plenary indulgence on any day throughout the Jubilee Year if they visit and pray to Our Lady, has also been granted to the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima here in New Jersey. We thank His Excellency for obtaining this and for petitioning the Penitentiary in Rome on our behalf.  

Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR, was the main speaker.

Leading up to this day, I have often hoped that all who visit here would experience miracles of grace. We who work and volunteer at the shrine learned the greatest lesson and came to understand what makes up a perfect day. Today we had the “miracle of the rain.” The devotion of all who came, despite a classic Nor’easter, was edifying.  Faith and devotion to Our Lady shined brightly this day.

“When the Son of man returns will He find any faith?” Jesus asks in the Gospel of Luke (8:18).  I believe that He would have found a lot at the Blue Army Shrine on Saturday, May 13, 2017. The centennial of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima began with a big test of faith for myself and those who work with me. I thank all of our employees and volunteers who worked long hours before, during and since the event. It was an endurance test. I want to thank all who braved the weather and the crowds to honor Our Lady.

God bless us,

David Carollo
Executive Director




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  1. I was there and feel all the joy from the people who believe in Virgin Mary.It was my first year at the Blue Shrine ,next year I will be there again rain or shine

  2. The 100 year celebrations have began no wind or rain could keep the children of God from their immaculate virgin mother our lady of Fatima pray for us

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