Our National Fatima Statue Tours Parishes in Archdiocese
The Catholic Register - May 12, 1979
The Pilgrim Virgin of Canada is the first statue ever allowed to be in the same procession as that of the image of “Santo Cristo Senor”. Over 100,000 people watched or participated in this year’s procession in Toronto.
The visit of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima to the Archdiocese of Toronto was a tremendous success. With the kind permission of Cardinal Carter, Father Gruner spent thirty-four days traveling in the area with the Pilgrim Statue. Thanks to The Catholic Register, people were informed of the Pilgrim Statue’s visits. After a long and successful tour, the Pilgrim Virgin was received at St. Michael’s Cathedral for the last day in the Archdiocese.
The people of Toronto responded enthusiastically to Our Lady’s message. Over ten thousand Scapulars were given out, most of them one by one as people were enrolled. More than seven thousand Rosaries and over three thousand Peace Plan booklets were given to those who requested them. Several thousand Fatima Crusaders were handed out. Over eight thousand five hundred Do You Know leaflets and more than five thousand How to Say the Rosary leaflets were distributed.
Father Gruner was most pleased that he was able to speak in so many schools in such a short time. In fact, twenty-three schools were visited in little over a month. Thousands of students listened attentively to learn about Our Lady’s Peace Plan from Heaven and about Her appeals for prayers and sacrifices. The students seemed to see Our Lady for the Mother that She is, because after the talk they crowded around Father in order to receive a Rosary, and be enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
Father accompanied the Pilgrim Statue to more than twenty different parishes and chapels, where he also explained the Message of Fatima. On May 3rd Father spoke about Our Lady of Fatima’s requests during a one-hour long Italian radio program.
Tuesday the 8th to Thursday the 10th were spent in St. Bartholomew’s parish. The parish priest wanted to have his parish especially benefit from Our Lady’s visit, for not only did Father Bernard Cryer organize various devotions at the church, but he also arranged for the Pilgrim Virgin to be taken to six different schools in the parish.
In the morning of Sunday May 20, the Pilgrim Virgin visited Corpus Christi Church. Many parishioners showed their devotion to Our Lady during and after the Sunday Masses, and many were enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
In the afternoon of that beautiful sunny Sunday, the Pilgrim Virgin of Canada was in a two-hour long procession on the main streets of downtown Toronto. An estimated 100,000 people were there, either in the procession or lined in the streets to watch. The procession, in honor of “Santo Christo Senor” started from St. Mary’s Church on Bathurst Street. The statue of Our Lord in the procession was a copy of the Miraculous one of the Azores. Never before has another statue been in this procession. Thanks to the invitation of Father Albert Cunha, a place of honor was reserved for Canada’s own special Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima. It was the 10th annual procession, arranged by the Portuguese community. It was very inspiring to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated outdoors with at least twenty thousand people in attendance. Afterwards, the Statues of Our Lord and Our Lady were carried back to St. Mary’s, which remained open all night. Great devotion was expressed towards Our Lord and Our Lady, and hundreds of lighted candles were left in front of the Sacred Images during the vigil.
On Saturday, May 26, the Pilgrim Virgin was warmly welcomed at Marylake by the Padre Pio prayer group. Many people came from the southernmost parts of Ontario, even from as far as Niagara Falls, to attend the meeting. After a short talk in Italian about the Scapular devotion, so many people wanted to be enrolled in the Brown Scapular that it took over an hour to enroll everyone.
On the 30th of May, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Barrie arranged to have students from all over the parish come into the Church to see the Pilgrim Statue. Over eight hundred students were enrolled in the Brown Scapular by Father O'Malley, Msgr. Clair, Father O’Brien, and Father Gruner.
The last visit of this Toronto tour was on Thursday, May 31, at St. Michael’s Cathedral. Attendance was excellent, thanks to the people’s devotion, and to Bishop Lacey, who had previously announced the proposed visit of the National Pilgrim Virgin to the Cathedral. Father Gruner gave the homily for the noon Mass, and spoke about Our Lady of Fatima.
Over one hundred and twenty people attended the Mass celebrated by the Cardinal’s secretary, Father John Boissonneau, and most of them were enrolled afterwards. Many more people came in during the day to visit, and pray. Judging by the many Rosaries, Crusaders and Holy Pictures and pamphlets that were distributed, the people at St. Michael’s were indeed touched by the presence of our beautiful Pilgrim.
The people of Toronto were most spontaneous in showing their devotion and love for Our Lady and in supporting the Fatima apostolate.
This statue of “Santo Cristo Senor” is the miraculous one of the Azores.
In the Archdiocese of Kingston the Pilgrim Virgin was warmly welcomed. Most parishes held a special Marian Holy Hour in honor of Our Lady, with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary, a sermon about Our Lady of Fatima’s important message, and Benediction. The Holy Hours were followed by enrollment in the Brown Scapular.
On June 9th, a Saturday, the Pilgrim Virgin arrived at Providence Manor. On Monday, there was Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all day and Father took the Statue from room to room to visit with the older people. They were very touched by Her visit, and they asked Father to bring Her again.
On Tuesday the 17th Our Lady of Fatima was at Madoc. Sacred Heart of Mary Church has its own statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and She has a special altar which was blessed by the Archbishop in 1955. The people were delighted to see the Pilgrim Virgin, and came to honor Our Lady.
On the 21st of June, St. Michael’s parish in Belleville was visited. There, Our Blessed Mother was honored by many students. Two schools went to the church for special devotions to Our Lady, and arrangements were made for a visit to the third school. The students listened attentively to the details of the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima, and to Her requests for prayers and sacrifices. Many children were enrolled in the Scapular. Father was especially pleased with the reception the Catholic children of the whole district gave Our Lady on the occasion of the visits.
In Kingston close to thirty-five hundred Scapulars were given out during the enrollment ceremonies, and three thousand Rosaries were distributed.
We wish to thank all the Pastors and people of Kingston, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto for so openly and warmly expressing their love and devotion towards Our Lady, and for their prayers and support of Our Lady’s Fatima Apostolate.
We are, unfortunately, unable to mention all the very successful visits Our Lady paid in the parishes of Ontario. People were so warm and loving in their reception of Our Lady of Fatima. We are sure that Our Heavenly Mother will bless the devotion of Her children.