Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 20, 1971 when parishioners settled on a site for the new St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oxford.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

20171016T1330 12231 CNS SHRINE FATIMA NEW YORK 800MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CNS) -- Auxiliary Bishop Dominick J. Lagonegro of New York celebrated Mass Oct. 13 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown to mark the 100th anniversary of the last vision at Fatima and the miracle of the sun.

During his homily, Bishop Lagonegro held up one of the iconic Fatima photographs of the crowd estimated at 70,000 people, and pointed to two figures. "This is my uncle, and this is my aunt," he said of the late Herminia and Antonia Caixerio, who remarkably were in Fatima, Portugal, for the miracle of the sun.

Though the couple was married in the United States, they happened to be visiting family in Portugal Oct. 13, 1917. They "heard what was going on" at Fatima and went to see for themselves, he said, once again telling the incredible story that his aunt had told him multiple times during his life.

"My aunt emphasized how absolutely dreadful the weather was that day," said Bishop Lagonegro, of his coveted family story. "She told me that the rain kept coming and coming, soaking everything."

They tracked through mud to get to the cova. or field, where the visionaries saw Mary and by the time they arrived, "they were drenched," the bishop said.

"But when the (three Fatima) children arrived, the rains stopped, the clouds opened and there was the sun," he said, telling his aunt's story. "It went up and down and turned back and forth, almost as if it were dancing."

"Who else but the Blessed Mother could make the sun dance," he laughed.

But then it got big and "started coming to the earth," Bishop Lagonegro continued. "My aunt recalled that "it looked as if everyone's clothes were bright yellow from the sun."

"It continued to fall to the earth for a few minutes," he said, telling her story, "and then stopped" going back into its orbit.

He said his aunt was stunned when she saw in amazement that not only were her clothes completely dry, but the previously muddy ground was now dry and hard.

"She told me, 'The more I think about it, the more I can't believe it.'"

Wearing a crucifix given to him by the St. John Paul II, who was a lifelong devotee of Mary and Fatima, Bishop Lagonegro said that the message of Fatima is as important today as it was 100 years ago.

"Peace will only come through prayer and penance," he said. "It's important for us to pray the rosary and offer acts of penance," such as a kind gesture, a smile or an offering of daily anxieties to God.

"I truly believe that one day we will find peace in our world, but only through prayer and sacrifice," said Bishop Lagonegro.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel houses one of only three statues in the world that depicts the last vision of Fatima, which is based upon the interpretation of Fatima visionary St. Lucia dos Santos.

In the final vision Oct. 13, 1917, Mary appeared to Lucia and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto with the infant Jesus in her arms. She was clothed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel and holding the brown scapular in her hands.

Sister Lucia joined the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in 1947.

Mary Chalupsky is a reporter at the Catholic Transcript.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.