By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
The glow of luminaries at dusk, displayed in the shape of a rosary, set the scene for the Iowa City Deanery’s final Fatima anniversary event Oct. 13. Catholics stood around the luminaries in the parking lot of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville. Each luminary, contained in a bag, represented a rosary bead. “The luminary living rosary was especially touching with young children leading the prayers with their parents,” said Meliza Wise, one of the organizers.
The events celebrating the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima apparitions occurred every 13th of the month from May through October, with parishes in the deanery taking turns hosting. Events focused on honoring Mary, such as a May crowning, Stations of the Cross, testimony-sharing, an evening of multicultural Marian songs and dances and a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wis.
Wise said the idea of celebrating Our Lady through six unique celebrations “seemed like a daunting task, but not when you have open hearts who believe in her message and powerful intersession. … A 100-year anniversary deserves nothing less.”
The deanery-wide celebrations were a collaborative effort, attended by more than 500 parishioners in total, Wise said. A wide range of age groups participated.
Free-will donations were accepted at each event. Through the generosity of attendees, more than $2,000 was raised for Mary’s Meals and $200 was donated to the Iowa City Catholic Worker House.
“I think all went extremely well,” Wise said. “We are so grateful for the many hands that helped make these (events) possible!”