EL DORADO — Holy Redeemer Church in El Dorado is honoring the centennial of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima with the installation of a statue in the church.
The statue of Mary was donated by a small Portuguese-American group and installed on Saturday, May 13. The blessing and installation ceremony was held at the end of the Traditional Latin Mass.
Because of their love of Portugal and the Virgin Mary, pastor Father Edward D’Almeida and Holy Redeemer parishioner Albino Garcia “were looking for a special way to honor Our Lady of Fatima for the 100th anniversary,” the pastor said. Father D’Almeida’s parents, Elizabeth and Manuel Almeida of Little Rock, and his brother, Michael D’Almeida, also of Little Rock, joined the priest and parishioner in the purchase of the statue from Portugal.
Father D’Almeida said his parents came from Portugal to the United States in the late 1960s. Garcia is also from Portugal, having immigrated 30 years ago, the pastor said.
In honor of the event, Father D’Almeida wrote articles for the parish newsletter to tell the story of the three Portuguese shepherd children who reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago, describing her as the Lady of Fatima. The children said she had prophesized that prayer would lead to an end of the Great War, that she would reveal her identity on Oct. 13, 1917, and perform a miracle so that all may believe.
“There are great benefits for those who comply with this request. Our Lady told Sister Lucia that she would ‘assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation,’” he wrote.
Father D’Almeida said the 100th anniversary will be observed in the parish with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a rosary on Friday, Oct. 13 at 6:15 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish.
The three-foot statue has been on display next to the ambo for public veneration since May. It will be relocated elsewhere in the church following adoration and rosary Oct. 13.
Holy Redeemer will continue to pray the rosary at 8:30 a.m. Sundays before the 9 a.m. Mass.
“I will continue emphasizing praying the rosary at church and to pray the rosary as a family, in your homes,” Father D’Almeida said.
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