100th Anniversary of Fatima Pack

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Fatima Forever

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Noreen Tolosky, a parishioner at St. Mary's in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and a chairperson for the parish's Spiritual Life Committee, has been actively helping prepare her parish to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fatima. We sat down with Noreen to learn more about her efforts.

What's the goal?
Our main goal is really to just share in a clear, concise, practical way the meaning of Fatima so that when May 13 comes [the centennial of Our Lady's first appearance in Fatima], they get it. It's not just a date. Our Lady didn't leave the realm of Heaven just to give a one-time message in 1917 and then go back. The message still applies.

Where did you begin?
I asked our Spiritual Life Committee to brainstorm ideas for the 100th anniversary. The Jan. 14 parish bulletin gave a heads-up to people that May 13, 2017, will be the 100th anniversary of Fatima.

February 3 will be the 100th day before May 13. So we're going to have a parish-wide Rosary at 10 a.m. in the church. A woman in our parish has an Our Lady of Fatima statue. That's going to be there. We'll invite area parishes to join us, and it will be the kick off to the 100 days. We have St. Mary's Academy, a 260-student elementary school. They're going to come to that Rosary. Then we'll ask people to say the Rosary every day for those 100 days. We'll have baskets of rosaries, and we'll have people take home the "How to Say the Rosary" pamphlets and really encourage them.

The school children are going to get this and the reparation prayers. They do the Memorare every day at the school, so starting Feb. 3 to May 13, they're going to do these prayers instead. And then they'll see a DVD about Fatima. We have 650 faith formation children that don't go to the Catholic school in St. Mary's. So again, they'll get the Fatima prayers.

Then throughout the year, we're going to reserve a block in the bulletin — it will be the Fatima corner — take different little tidbits of the message of the angel and Our Lady of Fatima, and have it on the radar screen from January through May.

Then we have the "Five First Saturdays" pamphlet. We'll explain the Five First Saturdays devotion that Our Lady asked for. We'll also renew our parish and personal Marian consecrations.

What advice would you give to readers who want to do likewise?

Brainstorming is a really good thing. You don't want to overload people. Take one thing and ask, "Realistically and practically, how do I get that one thing accomplished?" Just go from there. Start small, always working with the pastor, obviously.

A lot of times, you get discouraged because things don't happen on your time frame. Pray! My mother said that when I first started learning to walk, she would have to hold a ribbon and I'd be holding the end. If she let go of the ribbon, I'd fall. If she took the ribbon, which was obviously not supporting me at all, I had the confidence to walk.

The Rosary is like that string between a mother and a child. So pray, pray, pray. When things would be falling apart, whether it was on the Parish Council or on the Spiritual Life Committee, I'd say, "You know what? I'm just saying my Rosary, and I'm going to offer it up to her." Then things just start happening.

To get copies of the pamphlets Noreen mentioned, order our Fatima Pack.

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