Fatima centenary celebrations at Scotland’s Marian shrine

(Vatican Radio) Catholics from around Scotland will mark the centenary of the first Fatima apparitions this weekend at their national Marian shrine.

Scottish Catholics will gather at Carfin Grotto on Saturday 13th May 2017 to join Catholics around the world in celebrating the 100th anniversary since the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared several times to three shepherd children in 1917. The first apparition occurred on 13th May, which has since become the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in Fatima on Saturday 13th May. During Mass, he will preside over the canonization ceremony of Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto, two of the children to whom Our Lady appeared. The pilgrimage is expected to attract up to one million of the faithful.

At Carfin, the faithful will celebrate Mass to mark the canonizations. Afterwards, they will form a Rosary Procession that will move towards the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. In the evening, there will be a Torchlight Rosary Procession and a second Mass, celebrated by Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley. The sacrament of reconciliation will also be available before and after the procession and Mass.

Carfin Grotto is the national shrine in Scotland dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. It was established in the early twentieth century in a small mining village in the West of Scotland. Following a pilgrimage to Lourdes, the parish priest in Carfin, Father Thomas Taylor, made it his life’s work to establish a memorial shrine to Our Lady based on the shrine at Massabielle.

Father Taylor encouraged the locals to help his vision become a reality. He gave many coal miners something to focus on during the Coal Miners’ Strike of 1921. It is said that Father Taylor was aware of the need to counter the effects of unemployment on the morale of the people.

Almost immediately, Catholics from around Scotland began to flock to Carfin to honour the Blessed Virgin. Two years after it opened, Father Taylor recorded a single pilgrimage of over fifty thousand pilgrims in 1924.

The grotto has undergone several developments since its early days. Now, Carfin is home to several chapels and many more statues, a reliquary and a pilgrimage centre. The All Saints Reliquary Chapel houses one of the largest collections of relics outside of Rome.

Within the grotto, the ‘Glass Chapel’ of Our Lady, Maid of the Seas is particularly well-known among the Scots. The chapel was used at the famous Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 and was later relocated to Carfin. It was then dedicated to the victims of the Lockerbie Disaster, when 270 people died after a bomb brought a plane down over Scotland.

  • Stay connected with Vatican Radio to follow the events of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to Fatima, where Chris Altieri will be reporting from Friday 12th May until Saturday 13th May 2017.

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