An Encounter to Remember

By Kathy & Peter Agardy

The announcement by Father Pearce that, on Sunday 13th of October 2019, our Holy Family Parish would again welcome the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, reignited a flame in our hearts, and we eagerly awaited her arrival.

For us, it was a reminder of our own private pilgrimage to Fatima on the 13th of May 2019. We were in Europe on business and decided to pop into Fatima on our return to Australia, a truly awesome experience.

The Visit of the Pilgrim statue this year commenced on Sunday 13th October, and what followed was a faith-filled gift from Heaven for our Holy Family Parish. the solemn presence of our splendidly beautiful Holy Mother and Queen of Heaven filled the church, as did the many, many adoring and devoted parishioners.

After the Holy Hour, Holy Mass and the Holy Rosary, we were gifted by the visit and presentation of Tim Staples from the USA. The topic of Tim’s presentation was ‘Behold Your Mother', which opened the door for us, and challenged us to “dive deeper into Mariology and thereby dive deeper into our faith.”

Tim explained that Mary is present to us under many titles, the greatest of which is ‘Mother of God’. Further, Tim explained that, “in her life and being, the Mother of God teaches us who God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in Their eternal divine relations.” Tim pointed out that it is in truly beholding the Mother of God that one sees her Divine Son. "Mary was chosen by God to be His most perfect creation to bring Jesus to the world and to bring the world to Jesus.” Tim also illustrated that Mary has an ongoing place in our lives as the 'Mother of the Eucharist’; that is, “if in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we are truly present with Mary at the foot of the cross, suffering with her Son, then in some sense, every time we receive the Eucharist, Mary is present to us mystically and we are receiving the fruit of her prayer and suffering into our everyday lives, for our salvation.” Hence Tim concludes for us that “prayer is everything.”

On Monday, after the celebration of a beautiful Holy Mass, we were privileged to hear Br Louis Schmid OFM speak to us passionately and convincingly on the topic of ‘Our Lady of Fatima’.

Br Louis eloquently linked Church and world history to Fatima. He emphasised the importance and the power of prayer, and the important role of Mary as 'Our Lady of the Rosary'. Br Louis concluded by sternly reminding us that the only road or path to Jesus is through His Holy Mother Mary.

On Thursday, the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was a special highlight for us; it revived memories of Mass in our childhood, including taking Communion on the tongue while kneeling.

Friday approached very fast and we had to bid farewell to our Lady of Fatima. The Mass concluded with a candlelit procession, as with heavy hearts we made our final farewell. We were touched to see all the many devoted parishioners present in the church, lining up to We were touched to see all the many devoted parishioners present in the church, lining up to leave their burning candles, together with their prayers and petitions, before the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima for the last time – until next time.