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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

081817 pilgrimage mainFATIMA, Portugal — Sixty-four pilgrims from the Diocese of Charlotte and other dioceses around the country traveled to Portugal on the annual Te Deum Foundation Peace Pilgrimage. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children.

Two of the children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were canonized May 13 by Pope Francis during the centennial year celebrations. Their cousin Lucía became a Carmelite nun and lived to be 97. She died in 2005.

Experience the pilgrimage on our live blog.

The Te Deum Foundation brought 17 seminarians on the pilgrimage this year. The nonprofit organization supports seminarians in their spiritual and temporal needs, and brings seminarians to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima every summer so the men can develop or deepen their devotion to Mary as part of their preparation for the priesthood.

The seminarians and six priests participated in the liturgical events at the shrine during the pilgrimage July 19-Aug. 1. They processed in the evening rosary processions and the Eucharistic processions as well. The priests on the pilgrimage had the opportunity to concelebrate Mass at the Chapel of the Apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, as well as both Sunday Masses celebrated in the square in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Pilgrims toured the little village of Aljustrel where the shepherd children lived. They also traveled by motorcoach to the cities of Coimbra, Balasar, Braga, Porto, Tomar, Santarem and Lisbon.
Newly ordained Father Christian Cook, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro, was the main celebrant at the Church of the Clergy in Porto. He said that this brought home the fact that clergy, he and all priests, are under the Blessed Virgin Mary’s protection.

“When a priest tries to grow in holiness, the devil intensifies his attacks,” Father Cook said. “So to be celebrating Mass in the Chapel of the Clergy, to let that idea of her protection of me as a priest come into focus during that Mass, it gives me confidence that I am wrapped in her mantle as a priest, as an ‘alter Christus.’”

He remarked that he observed many people walking into the church while Mass was going on, taking pictures and looking around as if they were touring a museum.

“I glanced up a few times and I would see in the faces of the visitors confusion, curiosity … and that brought into focus that so much of the world has lost sight of Mass and of the Eucharist. It was almost to where they were looking at us as part of the museum exhibition.

“That reminded me of how important my brand new priesthood is, that men are still coming to the priesthood, because the world needs that example more than it ever has.”

— SueAnn Howell. Senior reporter

More online

At www.fatimapeacepilgrimage.tumblr.com: See lots more photos and video highlights from the 2017 Te Deum Fatima Peace Pilgrimage

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