WILTON—Alexandra Fordsman, 12, stood before a crowded room at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Saturday late afternoon.
She raised her arms with her elbows bent and held a rosary in her left hand, as three children knelt in front of her.
The scene re-enacted by the parish’s youth ministry depicted an event believed to have happened 100 years ago.
On May 13, 1917, three shepherd children reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, urging them to pray the Rosary daily for world peace and an end to World War I.
This was the first of six apparitions in 1917. The Roman Catholic Church officially recognized the apparitions as a miracle in 1930.
Bishop Frank Caggiano, of the Bridgeport Diocese, joined the 100th anniversary celebration at the parish in Wilton to celebrate Mass.
Nearly every pew was filled during the gathering, as he led prayers, recited scriptures and shared about the time he and his mother visited the Fatima shrine months before she died in 2011.
“Our Lady reminds us that there is no greater good than eternal; there is no greater good than to be with her son in this life and in the life to come,” Caggiano said. “She reminded the visionaries and she reminds us that we must pray each day for the strength and courage to remain faithful to what the Lord has asked.”
After Mass, state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, and Selectman Lori Bufano presented the parish with an official state citation recognizing the 100th anniversary.
“Our Lady of Fatima church has provided moral and spiritual guidance to the Wilton community and beyond,” Boucher said. “Congratulations on this celebration of Mary’s presence and maternal protection for the last 100 years.”
Father Reggie Norman closed the celebration by presenting Caggiano with a Lady of Fatima vestment and a commemorative 100th anniversary plate. He also presented the bishop with the first annual The Most Reverend Frank Caggiano Award for outstanding service to the parish.
The second award was given to parishioners Phil Lauria and Elaine Tai-Lauria.
“On this 100th anniversary, we thought it would be fitting to do something that was long overdue,” Norman said.
Caggiano responded by expressing his own thanks for Norman’s service to the parish.
“Father Reggie, you are such an outstanding, remarkable priest and a great pastor,” he said. “And I want to say on the Feast Day in this parish, and on behalf of everyone here, thank you for your leadership, your dedication, all that you do and the love that you have in your heart.”
firstname.lastname@example.org; (203) 354-1044; @stephaniehnkim