Media and Communications Office
On the precise centenary of the sixth and final apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, 13 October 1917, parish priest at St Clare’s, Thomastown West, Father Aurelio Fragapane today gathered the children from St Clare’s Primary School onto the school oval, along with hundreds of other guests, for a rosary, Mass, Benediction and procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima around the school grounds, in commemoration of this significant anniversary.
With live music accompaniment, and with three young children from the school perfectly cast (and dressed) in the roles of Lucia Santos and Jacinta and Francesco Marto, the three Fatima visionaries, the children from St Clare’s led the recitation of the rosary, before Fr Aurelio, along with three other priests, celebrated Mass.
Joining the children from
St Clare's were young students from two other nearby primary schools.
Representing St Monica's College Epping (along with their principal Mr Brian
Hanley), as well as a delegation of young people from St Catherine's Lalor West,
the children prayed the Luminous mysteries. Fr Fragapane made reference to his
delight at the 'trinity' of wonderful schools coming together for this
Later, in his Mass homily, Fr Aurelio, explaining to the children why the Miracle of the Sun occurred 100 years ago, said that Mary saw the urgent need to bring so many unbelievers present at Fatima to belief in the power and wonder of God. Among the 70,000 present to witness the miracle were many people who did not believe, who were cynical, agnostic, or merely curious. Referring to the Mass gospel reading of the wedding feast at Cana, Fr Fragapane explained that just as she saw the needs of the bride and groom at Cana, Mary also saw the need of those at Fatima, whose need for God was so great.
‘OK,’ said Mary, ‘you don’t believe in God? Well, look what God can do … He can make the sun fall out of the sky!’
‘And today too,’ said Fr Aurelio, ‘Mary can see all our needs, all our sorrows. All we need to do is speak to her. She’s our mother and she will give us what we need. And what we most need is her Son, Jesus, who is God. If you have God, children, you have everything.’
He entreated the children to be just like Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, to pray, to make sacrifices, to work together and to pray together, because then, he said, ‘you are going to have an amazing impact on people’s lives, just like the three little children 100 years ago.’
Following Mass and Benediction, the entire gathering processed behind the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, bidding it farewell, before everyone gathered for fellowship and refreshments (keeping a close eye on the heavens … just in case!)