We want to let our readers know that the National Pilgrim Virgin of Canada was enthusiastically received in well over 100 visits in Western Canada.
On August 9 Father Gruner accompanied the statue of Our Lady of Fatima into the diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. Free air passage was graciously given for all jet flights in the north for Our Lady’s travels. Our Lady was received with great enthusiasm and devotion for the second time in two years in this largest Canadian diocese. We hope to return again with Our Lady to Mackenzie-Fort Smith.
At Black Lake, many people flew in from over 100 miles away, and hundreds received the Sacraments during the visit. The parish priest, Father Mokwa, O.M.I. kept saying that it was like Christmas, like Easter, the way the people were responding. Most of the people of Black Lake went to see the plane off and to wave a final farewell.
At Fort Norman, people went to the landing strip to greet Our Lady’s Statue. They walked back to the church in procession. The people were so moved that they approached the Pilgrim Virgin on their knees. Official meetings held in Fort Norman, which had been scheduled for the entire district had to be canceled because of the great number of people who came to the church to honor Our Lady.
On the 22nd, Bishop Piché, O.M.I., met Father in Norman Wells, and told him that he was very pleased with the visits of the Pilgrim Virgin to his diocese. We want to thank Bishop Piché very much for his help in organizing the visits in his churches.
The first stop in the Victoria diocese was at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, where Father preached at the Sunday Masses and at the Marian hour. His Excellency Remi De Roo gave his “wholehearted support for the further promulgation of the devotion to Our Lady through the practice of the Fatima Rosary.”
The first Friday of September was spent at St. Joseph’s Friary where both the Friars and many people honored Our Lady. Fr. Thomas More MacDonald, O.F.M., had the Blessed Sacrament exposed all day Friday to Saturday morning.
The Sacred Heart parish has its own beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The parishioners’ enthusiasm and large turnout for the five-hour vigil showed that they appreciated the special blessings the National Pilgrim brings.
On September 6, Father Gruner accompanied Our Lady to the Archdiocese of Vancouver. St. Helen’s parish in Burnaby responded very well. After seeing a film about Our Lady of Fatima, the schoolchildren had a procession to the church. The church was full for the Mass and many people stayed for the all-night vigil.
Many people came to pray in front of the Statue at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. The special devotions, the Marian hour, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Masses, were well-attended. Msgr. Mallon officiated at the Benediction.
Holy Trinity parish organized an all-night vigil. Father Gruner led the Stations of the Cross at 2:30 a.m. for the many people who stayed.
The diocese of Vancouver was most generous in opening its arms to Our Lady.
In Saskatchewan the Pilgrim Statue was welcomed in approximately forty churches. She visited many schools, convents, hospitals and senior citizen homes. Outdoor candlelight processions on the street, Marian hours, living Rosaries and “molebens” were among the ways the parishes honored Our Lady’s visits.
In the Ukrainian Cathedral of St. George in Saskatoon, Bishop Roborecki presided as Father Gruner explained the message of Fatima to the many people present. Bishop Roborecki spoke to the congregation in Ukrainian after Father’s sermon, and expressed his satisfaction with the visit. We would like to give special thanks to Bishop Roborecki, whose active support made Our Lady’s visit to Saskatchewan very successful.
At St. Paul Cathedral, Saskatoon, on Sunday, October 22, 1978, at all the Masses, Father Gruner spoke about Our Lady of Fatima’s message. In the afternoon, the Cathedral was full once again, for the Marian Hour held in honor of Our Lady’s visit. Many people were enrolled in the Brown Scapular here.
His Excellency Bishop Morin stated that he was very pleased at the attendance of the people at the Sunday afternoon Benediction and Marian hour in honor of the Pilgrim Virgin visit at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert. He asked Father to arrange a return visit. On Sunday, December 3, in a full Cathedral, the Bishop crowned the Pilgrim Virgin Statue and formally consecrated his diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In November, forty parishes were visited in the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
Through the efforts of Father Kroetch, pastor of Saint Agnes, the children of three schools were privileged to visit with Our Lady. Most of them were invested with the Brown Scapular. In the evening, after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a large group of parishioners was also enrolled.
St. Basil’s parish came out in force to greet Our Lady. Over 600 people attended a crowning ceremony and a vigil until midnight. Many people were there on Saturday as well.
In Edmonton, about 6,000 people were enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We wish to thank and commend the people of Edmonton for their warm reception of and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
Unfortunately, we are unable to mention individually all of the many, very successful visits Our Lady paid across Western Canada. People were so enthusiastic that it should be noted that 20,000 scapulars were given away. Most of them were given one by one, as people were enrolled during the various ceremonies at each parish. Over 40,000 Do You Know pamphlets were distributed to those who wanted to know more about Fatima. Over 10,000 Fatima Crusaders were given away. People were so interested in the Rosary and how to say it that several thousand Rosaries and How to Say the Rosary leaflets were gratefully accepted by them from the National Pilgrim Virgin supplies. More than 4,000 Peace Plan booklets were handed out. Father could see that many people worked very hard to receive the Pilgrim Statue. During the well-organized, well-attended ceremonies many Rosaries were said and much homage was shown to Jesus and Mary.
We wish to thank the people of Western Canada and are certain that Our Lady will bless them for their warmth, hospitality and generosity.