Archives: October 2016

The world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima, traveling worldwide since 1947, is on an historic two-year tour of America to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, visiting more than 100 dioceses in 50 states from March 2016 to December 2017.  

The Basilica of Saint Mary will host the Traveling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima October 13. The full day of events will conclude with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Evening Prayer with Archbishop Hebda.             
Our Lady of Fatima Event Schedule: 
Thursday, October 13, 2016

11:30am    Arrival of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima
Noon    Mass celebrated in The Basilica
1:00pm    Presentation on Our Lady of Fatima
2:00pm    Rosary – Joyous Mysteries
3:00pm    Rosary – Sorrowful Mysteries
4:00pm    Rosary – Glorious Mysteries
5:00pm    Rosary – Luminous Mysteries, Saint Joseph Chapel, Ground Level
7:00pm    Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Evening Prayer
8:30pm    Departure of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima


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More About The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima


Many years ago just after I was ordained I had a funeral for a young man who had died of cancer leaving behind a wife and small daughter. On one of my visits to the hospital as he was dying, his wife said to me: “Father, I must not be saying the right prayers or maybe I’m not praying enough because God isn’t answering my prayers.” I assured her that it wasn’t her prayers that were wrong, but rather it was our limited vision as to how God might be responding to her prayer. Sometimes God responds to our prayers in ways that are not evident or obvious, and/or not in the way we had hoped. 

I have trouble with the notion that when our most sincere and heartfelt prayers go unanswered or seem to fall on “deaf ears,” that we are praying wrong or that we aren’t praying enough. I also reject the idea that God is capricious in the way God responds to prayer—answering some, but not others. Now certainly it is our firm and abiding belief that our God is all loving and all powerful. Given this, when our best and most fervent prayers go unanswered we are left wondering why. 

There is no simple or satisfying answer to the question of unanswered prayers. I believe, though, that when we are talking about God and our relationship with God, there will always be an element of mystery involved. For as God has reminded us through the prophet Isaiah: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways, My ways," declares the LORD.” (Is. 55.8) The ways and work of our God are not always—or even often—comprehensible to the human mind. And while this can be frustrating, when you stop and think about it, this is the way it should be. God is divine and as such is beyond our words, our images, our imaginings and yes, our comprehension. 

Now while God is beyond our comprehension, God is not beyond our experience. We experience God’s love and grace-filled presence in a multitude of ways in our lives. And because of this, while we may not understand the ways and work of God, we do believe that God abides with us and we are always held firm in the embrace of our God’s love. 

While I wish it were not so, unanswered prayers are a mystery that I have learned to live with. I take comfort, though, in the fact that God has loved our world into existence, and that God continues to abide with us and shower us with God’s grace. I have also learned that in regard to God, “mystery” will always be an element of my relationship with God. And it is a mystery that will never be resolved or answered in this world. 


For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.   

Our Gospel this weekend is the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers.  We are told that he when entered a village, “ten lepers met him.  They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices saying, ‘Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!’”   Jesus told them: “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  While they were on their way to the priests “one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.  He was a Samaritan.”   Jesus inquired as to where the other nine were:  “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  Jesus then told the leper: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”    

There are three things to note in this story.  First, the reason the lepers stood at a distance from Jesus was because at that time it was not known how leprosy was transmitted.  Given this, lepers were required to live apart from and in fact have no contact with other people.  Second, there was great animosity between Samaritans and Jews.  It was significant then that the one who returned to give thanks was a Samaritan.  Finally, notice Jesus’ final words: “your faith has saved you.”  The leper not only received a physical healing, but also the gift of salvation.  

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the second Book of Kings. It is the story of the healing of Naaman the leper.  The important thing to note about Naaman’s healing was that he was a non-Jew, yet was cured of his leprosy through the intercession of the prophet Elisha.  This reading, in conjunction with the cure of the Samaritan leper in the Gospel, reminds us that God’s love and care are inclusive,  and extend to everyone --- no exceptions, no limitations, and no qualifications.   

Our second reading this weekend is once again taken from the second letter of Saint Paul to Timothy.  In the section we read this weekend, Paul reminds Timothy (and us) that despite any hardship we encounter, we can be sure that:  “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Occasionally, some one (unfortunately, often a religious figure) will make some statement about God’s love being restricted to a chosen few.  In light of this weekend’s Gospel, how would you respond to them? 
  2. Faith can be a very powerful force in our lives.  What helps us to keep growing in our faith? 
  3. What do you think it means to “live with Christ” after we have died?