Around 3,000 people, Catholics and of other religious confessions, crowded the celebrations for the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in the sanctuary of Karjat in Maharashtra, India on May 13.
The statue of Our Lady in Karjat was brought by the Portuguese in 1920, whilst the shrine itself was consecrated in 1935, the first to be dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary in Asia.. Since then, the site has become a place of pilgrimage. On the 13th of every month, the faithful gather to mark the first apparition.
Marking the occasion, Card. Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, consecrated and blessed the new altar of the church. The cardinal also renewed the act of consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He told the crowd: "Let us live the message of Fatima. Pray for peace and make sacrifices emphasizing the power of prayer."
Speaking in front of the devotees of Our Lady, whose worship is increasingly widespread among non-Christians, the cardinal said: "At Fatima the Blessed Virgin spoke of World War. Wars continue today, with different forms and dangers, turmoil, upheaval and violence all over the world. Wars are also in our personal lives, in the struggle between good and evil. " For this, he stressed, "It is important to pray, pray for peace".
According to Card. Gracias, "in families there is a growing need to pray." So he invited everyone to "pray the Rosary in families, praying for peace in our homes, in family relationships and in the world."
The shrine had organized a novena of votive prayers that culminated on this day with the Eucharistic sacrifice, act of consecration of families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Eucharistic adoration. (AsiaNews)