blessed mother

National Night of Prayer for Life to be observed in parishes Dec. 8 and 9

Twenty parishes in the archdiocese will participate in the National Night of Prayer for Life, a time for eucharistic adoration and prayer for the unborn, an end to abortion and protection of the sanctity of human life. Local parishes will join others across the country to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother to establish a culture of life.

The evening prayer spans the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, Dec. 8, and the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe's first apparition to St. Juan Diego on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Fatima Pilgrimage traces Blessed Mother’s life

Visiting three Marian venues — two churches and a shrine — in a four-day, 45-mile hike, the Fatima Pilgrimage on the Katy Trail will lead about a dozen pilgrims on a "Path to Him through her," as the pilgrimage website states.

"This pilgrimage takes you through Mary's life," said Father Tim Foy, the parochial administrator at St. John the Baptist "Gildehaus" Parish in Villa Ridge.

Fatima at 100: Story of apparitions continues to attract attention

Jacinta and Francisco Marto are pictured with their cousin Lucia dos Santos (right) in a file photo taken around the time of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fatima, Portugal. Pope Francis has approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of two of the shepherd children, thus paving the way for their canonization.

VATICAN CITY — While conversion and prayer are at the heart of Mary's messages at Fatima, Portugal, the miracles and unexplained phenomenon that accompanied the events 100 years ago still intrigue believers and nonbelievers alike.

The apparitions of Mary at Fatima in 1917 weren't the first supernatural events reported there.

Two years before Mary appeared to three shepherd children — Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto — they saw a strange sight while praying the Rosary in the field, according to the memoirs of Sister Lucia, who had become a Carmelite nun.

Fatima visionaries will be canonized May 13 in Portugal

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will declare the sainthood of Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto, two of the three shepherd children who saw Mary in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.

The date was announced April 20 in an "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.

Addressing the assembly, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, noted that of the future saints considered at the consistory, five were children or young teenagers.

The Message of Fatima

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Mary Sturm has long appreciated the Rosary, but it wasn't until she witnessed the dedication of a group of people praying it after daily Mass at her parish, Holy Infant in Ballwin, that her love grew deeper.

Through this prayer, Sturm finds guidance from the Blessed Mother to stay connected to Jesus. The Rosary also was a great consolation to her when her husband of 43 years, Jim, passed away last summer.

"She helps me participate fully at Mass and help others," Sturm said of the Blessed Mother. "She gives me company, protection and reassurance."

Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a guide to Jesus through Mary

Priscilla Martin joined others June 14 for the weekly Mother of Perpetual Help Devotion at St. Alphonsus Liguori (Rock) Church. Martin has participated in the devotion for 61 years. At right is Esther Darris.

Esther Darris considers 2009 as the year from hell.

She was dealing with cancer. Her son was killed in a carjacking and she lost another son to diabetes. In her sorrow, she turned to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

"I just felt like I was at the end of my rope," said the St. Alphonsus Liguori "Rock" parishioner, who has been cancer-free for seven years. "She directed my path. It's still hard to talk about, but I want to give her the recognition. Praying to Mary has really helped me and my family."

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