CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Our Lady of Fatima visits Hong Kong

HONG KONG (UCAN): A statue of Our Lady of Fatima blessed by Pope Francis made its first appearance on its Asian tour in Hong Kong to celebrate the centennial of the Marian apparition in Portugal.

Pope Francis blessed six Centennial Pilgrim Statues of Our Lady of Fatima at the Vatican on January 11 before sending them on tour in six continents. Hong Kong is the first stop on the Asian itinerary.

“Pope Francis was really excited about this event. He looked at each statue, said a long prayer in front of each single one and gave his blessings,” an organiser who escorted the statue to Hong Kong said, adding that he is expecting a news report on the pilgrimage journey too.

The man who wants to keep a low profile is a member of the Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii Prayer Group, a lay Catholic community in Hong Kong that organised the local pilgrimage from January 13 to 28.

On January 16 more than 1,000 people packed into St. Teresa’s in Kowloon for a special Mass, which was followed by overnight adoration of the blessed sacrament.

“It is a good time to re-proclaim the Fatima message about world peace and conversion along with the pastoral direction of Hong Kong diocese,” Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, the vicar general of the diocese, commented.

“John Cardinal Tong Hon, from Hong Kong, has decided to adopt marriage and family as the pastoral direction for this year,” Father Chan, who is also parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral which will host the statue, explained.

Louis Kwan, a member of the Legion of Mary, said his first impression of Our Lady of Fatima was the messages associated with the apparition.

“I understand they were related to repentance and prayer. Although the messages were given 100 years ago, they are still relevant today,” Kwan commented.

The Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 and gave them three prophecies: one of hell, another of the consecration of Russia and the third the death of a pope and other religious figures.

The second prophecy is widely believed to relate to the Second World War and the disintegration of the Iron Curtain.

The visit of the statue to Hong Kong has drawn wide attention from the mainland. Some people are even prepared to make a pilgrimage to Portugal, as the statue is unlikely to visit mainland China.

“We underground (unofficial community) Catholics have nothing to protect us but the Blessed Mother. Thus, she is very dear to us,” Father Joseph, from northeastern China, said.

“But the Chinese Communists are very afraid of Our Lady of Fatima as she mentioned Communism will be destroyed in one of her secret prophecies,” he said.

“In the 1950s, a time of religious persecution, the Communists were angry to find that the Holy See had called on Chinese Catholics to pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima. They regarded her as Our Lady of Anti-Communism and Our Lady of the Counterrevolution,” an elderly person from an unofficial Church community commented.

The statue of Our Lady will leave Hong Kong at the end of January and travel to The Philippines.

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