The sanctuary in Maharashtra is the oldest in Asia. The Archbishop of Mumbai blesses the new altar. All faithful lunch together. Families consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Around 3,000 people, Catholics and of other religious confessions, crowded the celebrations for the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in the sanctuary of Karjat in Maharasthra, the first to be dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary in Asia.
Marking the occasion, Card. Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, consecrated and blessed the new altar of the church. The cardinal also renewed the act of consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He told the crowd: "Let us live the message of Fatima. Pray for peace and make sacrifices emphasizing the power of prayer. "
The celebrations took place on May 13, at the same time as the canonization in Fatima of the two little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The faithful came to the sanctuary from early dawn, despite the start of Mass being scheduled for 10:30 in the morning.
Speaking in front of the devotees of Our Lady, whose worship is increasingly widespread among non-Christians, the cardinal said: "At Fatima the Blessed Virgin spoke of World War. 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. " For this, he stressed, "It is important to pray, pray for peace".
According to Card. Gracias, "in families there is a growing need to pray." So he invited everyone to "pray the Rosary in families, praying for peace in our homes, in family relationships and in the world."
During the liturgy, the Archbishop of Mumbai blessed the new altar of the sanctuary, sprinkling holy water and crism oil. Fr. Callistus Fernandes, rector of the sanctuary, reports that at the end of the celebration "all pilgrims lunched together. In the afternoon, Eucharistic adoration and family consecration followed. "
The priest recalls the great faith of the present, who have gathered in prayer in front of the statue of Our Lady. Many of them, he adds, "had tears, filled with great emotion as they prayed and invoked Mary's intercession."
The Virgin appeared for the first time in the forest in 1798, to comfort the Catholics persecuted by the king. Bishop Dominic Nguyễn Văn Mạnh, auxiliary bishop of Đà Lạt: "Here we meet Mary in a more special way, because she promised, 'Anyone who comes here to pray to me will be heard.'" Vietnamese devotion to Our Lady.
The shrine was consecrated in Karjat in 1935. Its statue of the Virgin was brought by the Portuguese in 1920. Card Oswald Gracias of Mumbai will lead the celebrations on 13 May and bless the new altar. The cult of the Virgin begins to spread even among non-Catholics.
The sanctuary was built in 1957 by the Italian Salesian missionary Fr. Aurelio Maschio. In 1964 Pope Paul VI blessed the statue of Mary Help of Christians. Card. Gracias emphasizes the value of good relationships within the family.
In communion with the pope in Fatima for the centenary of the apparitions, Aleppo Christians pray for the end of the war. For Bishop Audo, this will be a moment of "hope" and "testimony" of a faith that is “strong in times of hardships”. The event will show “unity” among the various confessions. Thousands of believers are expected. People can respond to violence "with fanaticism or communion”; the Church chose the second.
The ceremony was held yesterday in Kabul. Fr. Giovanni Scalese, Ordinary to the Jurisdictional Mission: The situation is deteriorating and all we can do is turn to Heaven. Muslims are "brothers" who belong to another flock. Consecration to the Immaculate Heart helps us to live our time more consciously and in total openness to God's will.