TOWN, W.Va. (CNS) -- A new shrine to Our Lady of Fatima in West Virginia
invites Catholics "to live the Fatima message with renewed commitment and gives
us the means to do so," said Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston.
new shrine next to St. James Church in Charles Town will enable
pray the rosary with greater devotion and to be renewed in our
the Immaculate Heart of Mary," the bishop said to the congregation at
Mass Oct. 14. Following the liturgy, he dedicated the new shrine.
gathered for a moment long anticipated by the parish community including many
from the surrounding area and Virginia, who began the day by gathering in the
new shrine to pray the rosary that morning.
then proceeded to the church, where Bishop Bransfield celebrated the special Mass
with area priests concelebrating.
day for the shrine's dedication was fitting, the bishop said in his homily,
because the Catholic Church was marking the 100th anniversary of Mary appearing
to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal. She first appeared May 13, 1917,
and the apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917.
new shrine will be a place for Catholics to connect with Mary, he said, and
make the rosary a central part of their prayer life.
bishop expressed his and the diocese's gratitude to Tony Braddock for bringing
the 10,000-square-foot shrine to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. It was
funded through the Alfred and Barbara Braddock Foundation through the
generosity of Tony, because
of his lifelong devotion to Mary. He started the foundation in honor of his
am so very grateful to Tony Braddock, who conceived of the idea of this Shrine
of Our Lady of Fatima and who diligently sought a place to build it," Bishop
Bransfield said in his homily.
of the importance of having a place to meditate upon Our Lady's message at
Fatima, he generously responded to challenges along the way and finally found
this place," the bishop said. "Together with the help of our own Deacon Dave
Galvin, Tony brought this shrine into being, giving us a place to gather with
Our Lady and seek answers to the questions of our hearts."
the Mass, the bishop led all in a procession to the new shrine. Everyone
gathered around as the bishop blessed the shrine and consecrated the Diocese of
Wheeling-Charleston to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
result of the shrine, how it turned out, was beyond my expectation," Tony
Braddock said. "It turned out more beautiful than I anticipated. It's a
conglomerate of the rosary. It's everything that our Blessed Mother asked at
Fatima, he said, Mary asked that the rosary be prayed daily and the first
Saturday of five successive months be made in reparation to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.
hope," he said, "that it (the shrine) will be an inspiration to people to
observe and help the Immaculate Heart of Mary, especially in these times that
we live in."
the center of the new shrine is a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary with statues
of the three children of Fatima kneeling and praying before her. The statues of
the children are spaced so that those who visit can kneel between them and
statue is of St. John Paul II. He is holding a bullet, which recalls the assassination
attempt on his life on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima May 13, 1981. He is
giving thanks to Mary for saving his life. The image of a second bullet is in
the crown of the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. (Two bullets lodged in the pope's
third statue is of the Angel of Peace, who also appeared to the children at
shrine is encased by a 2-and-a-half-foot wall with four semicircles, each
featuring the mysteries of the rosary. In between each one of those semicircles
are two angular walls with a bronze plaque and a picture showing part of a
Fatima apparition. The floor of the shrine depicts the rosary.