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For only the second time, the UN Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima returned to the United Nations in New York City. The reason: a conference on the Fatima apparitions on May 12, the eve of the 100th anniversary of the first Marian apparition at Fatima.

Cosponsored by the Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission and the Portuguese Mission to the UN, the conference, titled "The Centenary of Fatima and the Enduring Relevance of Its Message of Peace," was attended by around 600 people.

"A part of Fatima has come here to the headquarters of the United Nations," said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, permanent observer of the Holy See to the UN, in his keynote address to the conference. "This statue we have with us was blessed by Pope Pius XII in the Vatican 70 years ago tomorrow, in 1947, on the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Fatima apparitions and blessed again by the Bishop of Fatima on Oct. 13, 1952, the 35th anniversary of the last of the Fatima apparitions. After that blessing in Fatima, the statue was transported to the United States, where on Dec. 8, 1952, it was brought into the United Nations by Msgr. Harold Colgan, a New Jersey priest who had founded six years earlier the organization that became the Blue Army and World Apostolate of Fatima. With a friend, Msgr. Colgan took the statue into the Meditation Room off of the Visitors' Lobby where they prayed the Rosary for peace in the world and for the end of the Korean War.

"Today after almost 65 years, this replica of the statue that rests in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima returns to the United Nations," the archbishop continued. "We hope that the prayers for peace that have been made before this statue in the intervening six-and-a-half decades, by literally millions of people throughout the United States, Canada, and various other countries, might be heard in a particular way for peace in the world today where violence is raging."

Long-time Marian Helper and Thirteenth of the Month Club member Judy Studer, the custodian of the UN Pilgrim Virgin Statue, was ecstatic.

"For almost 15 years I've prayed to go to the UN so we touch lives," said Judy, custodian of the UN Pilgrim Virgin Statue, "and I truly know that Mary today touched their lives. I saw the looks on their faces, and they listened so well to the story of the shepherds and Our Lady's request to pray for peace. She touched many, many people there today."

The event was introduced and run by Ambassador Alvaro José de Mendonça e Moura, permanent representative of Portugal to the United Nations.

"Fatima is an inescapable, unavoidable element of Portuguese faith and identity," said Ambassador Mendonça e Moura. "In Fatima, it is a woman who brings the message of peace. It's to the children that the message is first addressed."

Those two key elements of Fatima — the role of the Woman, model for all women, as a major player in peacemaking, and the role of children in incentivizing and leading us to peace — were examined thoroughly by the six panelists, including Ambassador Mendonça e Moura; Archbishop Auza; EWTN host Johnnette Benkovic; Andrea Bartoli, PhD, dean of Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations; Marta Santos Pais, special representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children; and Anna Halpine, founder of the World Youth Alliance.

Go to marian.org/UnitedNations to view the conference. See TheFatimaStatue.org to arrange for a visit from the UN Pilgrim Virgin Statue.

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