JARO, Iloilo City, May 14, 2016 – At the threshold of the centenary of Holy Mary’s 1917 appearance before three young shepherds, a bishop affirmed that the message of Our Lady of Fatima about the family continues to be relevant today as it was almost a hundred years ago.
In his homily on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima celebrated in the Diocesan Shrine built in her honor in Alta Tierra, Iloilo City, Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo of San Jose de Antique underlined that the message of Fatima is more relevant today because of the attacks on the family.
“Pope Francis himself saw that the family never was so attacked as it is nowadays throughout the world that he moved to convoke two synods on the family in Rome and the World Meeting for Families in Philadelphia in the past two years.”
Following the message of Fatima as a great call to the sanctification of the family, the bishop sees in Our Lady’s message concrete ways to help the family live in holiness and, at the same time, to be a witness of faith.
Prayer, sacrifice, and sharing
“At Fatima, Our Lady taught us the ways of prayer, sacrifice, and sharing in the family,” Lazo explained.
“Praying the Rosary as a family is a wonderful practice that does not only teach the children to pray but also fosters family bonding.”
“I am a strong believer of the now famous saying, ‘The family that prays together stays together’,” he said.
“The message of Fatima also promotes sacrifice. If you are part of a family, you realize that you have to share and sacrifice yourself for the others. At Fatima, Our Lady asked us to offer sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.”
Building strong families
On the part of the Shrine community, Msgr. Sergio Jamoyot, rector of the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, said the faithful of the parish strive to live Our Lady’s message as shown in the care not only for the material and spiritual well-being of their own families but for the welfare of their neighbor as well.
A concrete example of the parish is the effort to build strong families founded on the sacrament of marriage.
“Common-law marriage, or live-in partnership, is on the increase nowadays,” Jamoyot observed.
“As a pastoral response, inspired by the Jubilee of Mercy and the CBCP’s Year of the Eucharist and the Family, the parish is holding Catholic mass weddings to help unmarried couples solemnize their union in church,” the priest said.
According to him, aside from the occasional mass wedding, the parishioners, through the parish organizations, such as the Legion of Mary and the Holy Spirit Catholic Parish Community, are getting more pro-active by going house to house, offering unmarried couples the opportunity to receive sacramental marriage with the needed preparations.
The celebration of Our Lady of Fatima centered on the theme: “The Family journeying with Mary in the Year of the Eucharist and Mercy”. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)