Salford Cathedral has over the weekend welcomed the visitation of the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima and the relics of Saints Jacinta and Francisco.
Our Lady of Fátima, formally known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fátima, is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the spring and summer of 1916, nine-year-old Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacintha Marto were herding sheep at the Cova da Iria in the parish of Fátima, Portugal.
They later said they were visited three times by an apparition of an angel, who identified himself as the Guardian Angel of Portugal, taught them prayers and urged them to spend time in adoration of the Lord.
A spokesperson on behalf of the Diocese said:
“We were pleased to be able to witness with joy the visit of the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima with the relics of St Francisco and St Jacinta Marto to the Cathedral in Salford this past weekend.
“This visit was part of a nationwide tour of cathedrals of England and Wales to celebrate the centenary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917.
“The message of Fatima remains particularly relevant to us today and the visit was an opportunity for Christians to come together to grow in faith through prayer and devotion.”
The statue and relics spent two days at the Cathedral, from the 23rd-24th February.
Sunday Mass was preceded by the enthronement and crowning of the National Fatima Statue, followed by veneration of the Relics of Saints Jacinta & Francisco.
There were also Fatima Talks and devotions, including the Rosary.
The story of the visitation in the early 20th Century inspired a large crowd to gather in Fátima, hoping to see the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Fátima) perform miracles.
According to many witnesses, after a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disc in the sky. It was said to cast multicolou red lights across the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds.
The sun was then reported to have ‘careened’ towards the earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position
Hundreds have gathered at our cathedral today in prayer for the visitation of the Fatima Pilgrim Virgin statue. The visit continues this evening and tomorrow. For more information visit https://t.co/kqKuq16BH7 pic.twitter.com/lJVeZ12SlL
— Diocese of Salford (@SalfordDiocese) February 23, 2019
There have been numerous pilgrims the site of the reported visions at Fátima .
After a canonical inquiry, the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima officially declared the visions of Fátima as ‘worthy of belief’ in October 1930.
Image Rights: Miracle of the sun