Overwhelming response of Catholics in Winnipeg to welcome Our Lady of Fatima pilgrim statue. Huge crowd floods SSPX church to pray to Our Lady.
Over 500 (five hundred) Catholics from different parts of Winnipeg and parishes flooded Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church in Winnipeg for three days, July 24-26, A.D. 2015 to pray to Our Lady of Fatima pilgrim statue before continuing her pilgrimage in the United States. The church had to be left open to accommodate the constant influx from 8.00 a.m. until 9.00 p.m. every day. The telephone rung constantly for three consecutive days with people enquiring about Our Lady, the Mass, and the program for the weekend.
Two main local newspapers and one national TV station in Winnipeg featured the visit of the Our Lady of Fatima statue.
For two years the pilgrim statue, an initiative of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), is stopping at churches, chapels and schools under the priestly care of the SSPX in the USA District. Her stop in Winnipeg at the church of the SSPX was the only one our Lady of Fatima made in Canada, so far.
“We need the Blessed Virgin Mary in our times to help us to
keep our Faith”
Archbishop Lefebvre, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Ecône, in August 1976, said:
We need the Blessed Virgin Mary in our times. We need the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to help us to keep our Faith, and to feel the warmth of the love that our Lord Jesus Christ has for us. As we no longer see Him before our eyes, as we see Him less and less, we need to feel that the Virgin Mary is with us.
I think that it is the reason why the Virgin Mary asked in Fatima that we pray to her Immaculate Heart. We need this divine love which is widespread in the Heart of the Virgin Mary.
We also need her Immaculate Heart, immaculate, that is to say, without stain, without sin”.
This past weekend brought a unique and most special opportunity to pray devoutly as Catholics to the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It helped us to keep our Faith and we felt the warmth of the love that our Lord Jesus Christ has for us.
In preparation to the arrival of the pilgrim statue, more than one hundred copies of the book Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrim Statue. Devotional Book, published by Society of St. Pius X, were made available to some of the faithful and whole families who come to Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church.
The Devotional Book put together by the SSPX explains what the Pilgrim Statue is, the history of Fatima, First Saturdays Devotion, Ceremonial, Rosary Meditations, Marian Prayers, consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, devotions to Our Lady, Way of the Cross, a hymnal for the Traditional Latin Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Benediction and Litany, as well as Latin and English Hymns. The last section has stories, readings and miracles to do with Our Lady.
Reception Ceremony makes history in Winnipeg
On Friday July 24, it started with Confessions at 4:00 p.m. Then, at 5:00 p.m. Our Lady arrived at Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church all the way from the USA in a specially designed trailer with a beautiful picture of Our Lady of the side. Many faithful had already congregated outside the church to pray the Holy Rosary to welcome Our Lady. She was then greeted with the hymn Ave Maria and a brief sermon by Fr. Lillis to welcome our Lady, explaining the significance of Her visit to the parish. Psalm 86 was sung.
Fr. Lillis, in processional cope, with the usual blessing put incense into the censer and incensed the statue. That statue belongs to a US apostolate of the Society of St. Pius X, undertaken over the past year. But we should not forget that Canada was given a Pilgrim Virgin statue, blessed specifically by Pope Paul VI for our country, and we hope to be able to get that statue to travel again from coast to coast, in view of the 2017 anniversary of Fatima.
The procession, led by the thurifer, cross bearer, and acolytes and holding candles, our Lady's statue, the priest and the faithful, while singing Tota Pulcra, entered the church.
The statue then was put on the very special altar in the sanctuary of the church, behind the Communion rail, on the epistle side. At that point, the priest and the faithful brought their flowers at the feet of our Lady and, all facing the statue, sung Immaculate Mary.
All prayed together the prayers of the Angel of Fatima, "My God, I Believe" and "Most Holy Trinity".
The reception ceremony concluded with a prayer recited by the priest, and the singing of O Queen of the Holy Rosary.
More graces: Brown scapular and the Miraculous Medals
On Saturday, at 8:30 a.m. the Joyful mysteries were recited, followed by Low Mass in Latin with hymns.
At 10.00 a.m. the church offered a pancake breakfast in the parish hall, while stories of our Lady were read by Fr. Lillis. All listened very attentively to the inspiring and riveting Marian accounts for almost one hour. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed such an edifying moment.
After that, close to one hundred faithful attended the ceremony, where about 70 people received from Father the blessed Brown Scapular of the Order of Mount Carmel and the Miraculous Medal at the Communion rail while kneeling. Father, vested in surplice and white stole, blessed and recited the Latin prayer for every single of them, after sprinkling the scapulars with holy water. He then imposed it upon each person.
Two Graces of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“In several apparitions the Queen of Heaven granted two important graces to those who wore her holy scapular. The first consists in final perseverance and deliverance from Hell. The second privilege, also called “Sabbatine”, consists of a quick deliverance from the suffering of Purgatory, believing that it takes places precisely the Saturday following the day of death. In order to attain this second privilege, in addition to dying while wearing the scapular, it is necessary to practice chastity according to each one’s state, to pray the Little Office of the Most blessed Virgin, and to observe the fasts mandated by the Church. Any priest can change the condition of praying the Little Office by other pious acts (such as the daily recitation of part of the rosary).” (Extract from the book Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrim Statue. Devotional Book, Society of St. Pius X, page 97)
Private devotions followed for the rest of the afternoon. Dozens of visitors came throughout the afternoon and evening to pray in front our Lady until 7:00 p.m., when Fr. Lillis gave a riveting Spiritual Conference on the True Devotion. The day finished with the Glorious Mysteries.
Mediatrix, Reparatrix and Dispensatrix of all grace
On Sunday about two hundred Catholics came. The church was already totally packed by 9.00 a.m., when all prayed the Rosary kneeling, and praying for many holy priests and religious vocations.
By 9:30 a.m., before High Mass started, people had to stand on the aisles and by the entrance, and extra chairs had to be brought up to accommodate many people.
The devotion and faith of those hundreds of Catholics from some many countries and parishes was moving. Many handicapped came with their families, despite their severe physical difficulties and the sweltering weather.
From the very first moment when the church bell rang and the procession entered the church, led by the Cross bearer, and the acolytes carrying two candles, the altar servers and the priest, and the schola signing the processional hymn, the absolute silence and respect of all was really striking. For so many it was the very first time they were experiencing the great beauty of this magnificent treasury of the Catholic Church, the Mass of all ages, the Mass of the saints right here in Winnipeg. The total reverence of the priest, all the altar boys, the beautiful signing and Gregorian chant of the schola from the church, and the sacred silence, the priestly prayers at the Mass, and the true devotion of the faithful was very inspiring. Many were awestruck by such a profound Mass and sacred atmosphere and they were moved to tears, especially when going to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue out of reverence for the Body, Blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord present in the consecrated Host.
Fr. Lillis gave a passionate, compelling and inspiring sermon. His words exuded his love as a faithful priest for the Catholic Faith and Tradition, for Our Lord and Our Lady, and for the Church and Her children. He imprinted in all the true significance of the doctrine of the Real Presence and the absolute reverence one must receive the Body of Christ with. The great and impassioned explanations were catechetical jewels many took to heart. His preaching made a huge impression, according to some testimonies.
One girl from the church received her First Holy Communion. Her exemplary devotion and respectful comportment, wearing a white dress, a white chapel veil and white gloves, was another spiritually beautiful and exemplary moment.
The Act of Consecration of the parish was done after Holy Mass, finishing with the Closure ceremony: prayers of Fatima, another inspiring sermon, the Litany of Our Lady, the Incensation of the statue and Thanksgiving to Our Lady.
After the Traditional Latin Mass, more Catholics kept coming for the rest of the day.
The Farewell to Our Lady took place on Monday, as the hymn Immaculate Mary was sung, and the curtains of the trailer, where the statue was fixed, were closed.
Our Lady of Fatima pilgrim statue has made history in Winnipeg. Our Lady wanted to be visited and Catholics from Manitoba responded and came as faithful in need of their Mother.
God has given Mary to mankind to the Gate of Heaven, and throughout this extraordinary weekend organized by the SSPX many souls were led to a greater love of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.
Event makes headlines
The event made the newspapers and TV headlines in Winnipeg. It was one of the main stories highlighted. To watch the TV news item, please click here