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ROME — The pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima passed through the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome on Friday, May 13, marking 99 years since the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children in Cova da Iria, Portugal.
The pilgrim statue was transported to Rome especially for the Jubilee Day for Pilgrims, on the 12th National Pilgrim Day. The theme of the day was: “Mary, witness of God’s mercy.”
The pilgrimage was sponsored by the “Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.” The ORP is an apostolate of the diocese of Rome. It began 80 years ago, after Our Lady’s apparition at Lourdes, to assist pilgrims making walking pilgrimages to shrines in Italy. The ORP has been collaborating in organizing the Jubilee Year with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
Before entering the Holy Door, the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was crowned.
The traditional Catholic devotion is known as “May Crowning.”
The relics of two of the shepherd children, Jacinto and Francisco Marto, accompanied Our Lady’s statue through the Holy Door.
After the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima passed through the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, the celebration continued with the recitation of the Holy Rosary, Confessions, and the solemn celebration of Holy Mass.
In the Bull of Indiction with which Pope Francis announced the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, “Misericordiae vultus” [Face of Mercy], n. 24 he wrote of Mary: “My thoughts now turn to the Mother of Mercy. May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness.”
“No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of His love.”
“At the foot of the Cross, Mary, together with John, the disciple of love, witnessed the words of forgiveness spoken by Jesus. This supreme expression of mercy towards those who crucified him shows us the point to which the mercy of God can reach. Mary attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception. Let us address her in the words of the Salve Regina, a prayer ever ancient and ever new, so that she may never tire of turning her merciful eyes upon us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, her Son Jesus.”
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondentfor Aleteia’s English edition.