By Sally C. Samaniego
Fatima Event Coordinator
On the occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Refuge (OLR) parish had a very unique two-day celebration on May 12 and 13.
The celebration started with a Rosary procession with the float of Our Lady of Fatima on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. Following the procession was a multicultural Mass in three languages – English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was scheduled for 21 hours starting at 8 p.m. Friday and ending at 5 p.m. the following day. Different parish groups and individuals came and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night. There was also a candlelight living Rosary at 10 p.m. at night. It was such a beautiful sight having the Rosary recited in four languages with candlelight.
Saturday started with a mini-retreat for the three language groups at 8:30 a.m. It commenced with opening prayer, followed by a movie about the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to the three children in the town of Fatima, Portugal for six months starting on May 13, 1917. This was followed by a talk by the retreat directors – Monsignor Francisco Rios for the English group, Father Dat Luong for the Vietnamese group and Lupita Vital, Director of Hispanic Apostolate for the Diocese of San Jose for the Spanish group.
The afternoon was devoted to children’s activities such as making rosaries, a movie and Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
At 7 p.m. there was another Rosary procession with the float of Our Lady of Fatima. During the procession, three large rosary balloons were released into the air. People were in awe as they looked up the sky and saw all three rosary balloons floating.
The celebration culminated with musical performances by the different choirs, capped by a play about the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
It truly was a magical celebration, with the whole community coming together as one family. Parishioners commented that the whole experience brought spiritual nourishment and increased devotion to our Blessed Mother. Rosary pledges were made by parishioners and totaled 112,000 Rosaries for one year.
The parish acknowledges Father Dat Luong, parochial vicar of OLR for his care and leadership. Since he arrived at the parish on July 1, 2016, it had been his goal to bring this spiritual experience to Our Lady of Refuge parish. It was totally supported by Monsignor Francisco Rios, who arrived from his 6-month sabbatical in the middle of April. We also thank Sister Catherine Dang, Sister Andrea Mendoza and Anabella Estrada, pastoral associate, for their important roles in making this celebration hugely successful.