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placeholder Father Sullivan's spiritual experience with Our Lady of Fatima

St. Peter Martyr
Parish celebrates 100th year

'Collegial'
discussions should mark 2015
synod meeting

Synod ends by affirming tradition

Mission to Burundi: hope in the midst of poverty

Blue Mass honors those who say,
'I can make
a difference'

Bishop's Appeal passes goal

Elizabeth House
helps women
on their journey

Classy Crafters
help fill food pantry
in Concord

Black Catholic
History Month

Blessing of
the animals

A new director takes over at San Damiano

A sampling of upcoming retreats

Walks for the poor
aid East Bay
St. Vincent de Paul

10 anniversary couples win drawing

List your
senior events

Come to the
banquet: Recognize and call each other
to serve

Three who are called
to serve

Knights' vocations dinner

Vocation stories
come to the
classroom

Week celebrates vocations

Report looks
at women's
religious orders

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placeholder October 27, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima is carried during the closing procession of a Mass at the Marian shrine in Fatima, Portugal.
Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters, cns

Father Sullivan's spiritual experience
with Our Lady of Fatima

Rev. Jim Sullivan

The deepest spiritual experience I ever had in my life occurred at Fatima. It was June, 1999, and I was a seminarian leading a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes and Paris. Fatima was our first stop.

We got in toward evening, and we were tired, because of the long flights from California, and many of my pilgrims went to bed after dinner at our hotel. I wanted to see the evening candle-lit rosary procession, however, and I went out to the main plaza in front of the great church and made myself stay awake for it. I got back to the hotel exhausted and fell asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow.

The next morning I woke early. The bright summer morning sun was streaming through the French doors off my room's balcony. I had left the doors open overnight and the white filmy curtains lifted in the breeze.

Beyond the balcony I heard birds singing. The sunlight poured into the room, along with the fresh morning air and I felt the deepest sense of peace, of serenity, of safety. It is hard to describe the tranquility I experienced.

 

The original statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
Paul Haring/cns


Marian Shrines Pilgrimage

When:
Oct. 5-15, 2015

Where:
Portugal, Spain, France

To register and for information:
Contact Marianna at Unitours Inc.,
800-777-7432
or visit the website: www.Unitours.com/client/
CatholicVoice
MarianShrines.pdf


For a brochure, email
Camille Tompkins at ctompkins@oakdiocese.org
 
And I felt something else. I felt the presence of Our Lady. This was my first visit to a Marian shrine, and I guess I was susceptible to the graces that flow anyplace Our Lady has been. I felt her presence unmistakably. Like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was almost as if I could see her, talk with her, touch her. I lay there awake, just resting in her presence for some time.

And then I began to pray. I prayed for my pilgrims and our pilgrimage. I prayed for my family and friends in California. I prayed for "poor sinners, who have no one to pray for them" — Our Lady's urgent request of the three shepherd children at Fatima.

I prayed for my future priesthood, and I felt that Our Lady told me it was under her direction. I spent more than two hours that morning — never getting out of bed — in prayer with Our Lady.

Fifteen years later I remember it as if it were yesterday. I love Fatima. I love Our Lady of Fatima!

(Father Jim Sullivan is parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood.)

 
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