Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will consecrate the Diocese of Tyler to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Diocese will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima at the annual diocesan Marian Conference Saturday, May 13, at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Bishop Gorman Catholic Schools campus.
The conference, normally held in October, was moved up to May to commemorate the anniversary.
Our Lady first appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917. The apparitions continued until Oct. 13, 1917. Among the messages she entrusted to the children were exhortations to pray the rosary daily for peace and to end World War I, which was still raging, and to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart for conversion and peace. Devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and the practice of First Friday devotions come from Fatima.
Many of those gathered for the apparition on Oct. 13 believed they saw what has come to be known as the miracle of the sun “dancing,” or changing colors and rotating like a wheel.
The conference will begin at 10 a.m. with a welcome by Father Raymundo Garcia, one of the event’s organizers, and will close with a Mass at 4:30 p.m. celebrated by Bishop Strickland.
During the Mass, Bishop Strickland will consecrate the Diocese of Tyler to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. See the letter below for more information on the consecration.
The bishop said he is making the consecration “so that we, as individuals, families, and parishes, can grow in holiness and fruitfulness under the special protection of the Mother of God, who continues to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of the body of Christ. In this way, we look to Mary’s Immaculate Heart as a remedy against the evil and darkness that seem to grow each day.”
The conference will feature presentations by Fathers John Jairo Gomez, Jesús Arroyave, and John Mary Bowlin on topics that address the apparitions with historical, political, and religious implications. It will also include a procession around the campus and chapel, followed by a rosary in English, Spanish, and Latin, and a theatrical presentation by Bishop Gorman students.
Deanery representatives will lead small group discussions that are intended to provide Bishop Strickland and pastors with a view of the realities and challenges of popular religiosity facing the Church.
Presentations will be in English and Spanish. Lunch will be provided.
For information about the conference, contact Deacon Rubén Natera, 903-530- 2164 or RNatera@aol.com.