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May 22, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
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Rev. Kenneth Nobrega processes into the church with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
CARRIE MCCLISH/ THE CATHOLIC VOICE

Berkeley parish official site of Fatima Centennial pilgrimage

St. Joseph the Worker Church in Berkeley, named the Diocese of Oakland's official pilgrimage site for the Fatima Centennial, welcomed the event with a liturgy on May 13, 100 years to the day of a series of appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in Portugal.

The Marian apparitions began on May 13, 1917, when Francisco Marto, who was 9 years of age, his 7-year-old sister, Jacinta, and their 10-year-old cousin, Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing a vision of the "lady dressed in white" — later called Our Lady of Fatima. A total of six apparitions reportedly took place on the 13th of each month through October of that year, when a miracle of the "dancing sun" was observed by 70,000 people who were in attendance at the final apparition.

 
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The Marto siblings died soon after the apparitions ended during the Spanish Influenza plague, but their cousin, Lucia, who later became a Carmelite Sister, died in 2005 at age 97.

During the liturgy in Berkeley, a statue, crafted from a single piece of wood and sent from Fatima, Portugal, was carried into the church by Rev. Kenneth Nobrega, parochial administrator, and placed on an altar near a statue of parish's patron saint, Joseph.

The church will host upcoming Masses, at 7 p.m. on the 13th day of each month through October. Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, will preside at the Oct. 13 Mass.

The conversion of sinners and the repentance of sins is at the heart of the Fatima message, Father Nobrega said during his homily. It is about doing penance for ourselves and to pray and do penance for others. The message also focuses on devotion to Mary.

Pope Francis, who canonized the two younger shepherd children during his personal pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal, on May 13 — granted a plenary indulgence opportunity for the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions throughout the centennial year, which will end on Nov. 26.

An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins committed. It can be applied to oneself or to a deceased person but not to other living persons, according to the Fatima Centennial booklet distributed at St. Joseph the Worker Church. Those seeking an indulgence must be in a "state of grace" meaning that they have gone to confession, received the Holy Eucharist and "have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin." They are also encouraged to pray for the intentions of the pope.

A statement issued by the Diocese of Oakland on May 11 notes there are three ways to obtain the plenary indulgence by Oct. 13:

• Make a pilgrimage to the Shrine in Fatima, Portugal.

• Pray before any statue of Our Lady of Fatima and devoutly participate in some celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary. In addition, the faithful must pray the Our Father, recite the Creed and invoke Our Lady of Fatima.

• The faithful who, because of age, illness or other serious cause, are unable to get around, may pray in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and must spiritually unite themselves to the jubilee celebrations and "offer to merciful God with confidence, through Mary, their prayers and sufferings or the sacrifices they make in their own lives."

The Catholic Voice, in partnership with Unitours Inc., is sponsoring a pilgrimage from Oct. 11-20 to Fatima, Lourdes and other Marian sites, accompanied by Revs. William Rosario of St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek, and Mark Wiesner of St. Charles Borromeo, Livermore. For more information, contact Marianna Pisano, 800-777-7432, mpisano@unitours.com.

St. Joseph the Worker Parish is located at 1640 Addison St., Berkeley; See its website: stjosephtheworkerchurch.org to access Mass and Confession times, the parish bulletin, prayer requests, online giving options and more.

Some parishes will have visits from the international Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Many other parishes in the diocese have announced commemorations for the Fatima Centenary, including liturgies, processions, lectures, movies and more. Check with your parish to see what events are planned.

If your parish is having a Fatima event, please send the information to cmcclish@oakdiocese.org or datelines@oakvoice.org.

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