MANILA, Feb. 21, 2015—A priest known for actively promoting Marian devotion stressed the core message of Our Lady of Fatima is only a repeat of what the Church has always upheld and taught, especially during the Lenten season, reminding the faithful to heed the Blessed Mother’s request for prayer, penance, conversion, and the reparation of sins.
In a Feb. 19 Mass at the Nuestra Señora de Guía Shrine to celebrate the first leg of the Philippine tour of the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, Fr. Melvin Castro, chancellor of the Diocese of Tarlac, explained living out both the Lenten and the Fatima messages is as easy as practicing the “First Saturday Devotions” and meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary daily in order not to “offend the Lord who is already very much offended.”
More Mother than Queen
The priest, who is also the founder of the Confraternity of Mary, Mediatrix of All-Grace, said Our Lady of Fatima, being “more Mother than Queen,” wants only the best for her children, pleading that they turn away from sins and conform themselves to God’s will for the sake of their salvation.
To drive home his point, Castro presented Esther, the Jewish queen who derailed a planned genocide of her people, as a “type” of Mary.
According to the priest, Queen Esther in the Old Testament prefigures Mary in the New.
Star of Esther
In much the same way the Jews were saved through the intercession of Esther, likewise the Blessed Mother intercedes on behalf of all people today, he said.
Castro noted it is no accident that when the Our Lady appeared to the visionaries at Fatima she wore the “Star of Esther.”
International pilgrim statue
Created on May 13, 1947 due to widespread demand for its presence in towns and villages in Portugal, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue (IPVS) of Our Lady of Fatima, which has not stopped traveling to different countries for the past 54 years, is set to tour the Philippines.
The rest of the IPVS’ itinerary is as follows:
• Feb. 20 – 21 Christ the King Church (Greenmeadows, Quezon City)
• Feb. 21 – 22 San Roque Parish (Pateros)
• Feb. 22 Soldiers of Christ (Pulilan, Bulacan)
• Feb. 23 – 24 Holy Family Church (Quezon City)
• Feb. 24 RADIO VERITAS (Quezon City)
• Feb. 25 House of Representatives (Quezon City)
• Feb. 25 – 26 National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus (Manila)
• Feb. 26 – 27 Sanctuario de San Jose (Green Hills, San Juan)
• Feb. 27 – March 1 Monte Maria (Batangas)
• March 1 – 3 Archdiocese of Cebu
• March 3 – 6 Davao City-Digos City-Davao City
• March 6 Tarlac City: Our Lady of Peace College Seminary
• March 7 – 8 St. Sebastian Cathedral (Tarlac City)
• March 8 – 9 St. Joseph Parish (Patling, Tarlac)
• March 9 – 10 St. Francis of Assisi Parish (San Manuel, Tarlac)
• March 10 – 11 St. Alphonsus Ma. Ligouri Parish (Magallanes Village, Makati)
• March 11 – 12 St. James the Greater Parish (Alabang, Muntinlupa)
• March 12 – 13 Our Lady of the Pillar Parish (Pilar Village, Las Piñas)
• March 13 – 14 Our Lady of Fatima Parish (Las Piñas)
• March 14 El Shaddai
Reports attest that miracles, favors, and signal graces received by countless faithful during the statue’s visits were so remarkable that Pope Pius XII said in a May 13, 1951 radio address to pilgrims at Fatima: “In 1946 we crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the world, and the next year, through her pilgrim image, She set forth as though to claim Her dominion, and the miracles She performs along the way are such that we can scarcely believe our eyes at what we are seeing.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)