Gloria McCubbin and her husband took the day off work on Sept. 21, when they traveled from Lone Tree to St. Mark Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch. Inside the chapel, they sat before a 3-foot statue of a delicate woman wearing a red crown and …
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Gloria McCubbin and her husband took the day off work on Sept. 21, when they traveled from Lone Tree to St. Mark Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch. Inside the chapel, they sat before a 3-foot statue of a delicate woman wearing a red crown and holding a beaded rosary in her hand.The statue is one of two world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statues of Fatima, a town in Portugal where the Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherd children 100 years ago. The apparitions of Virgin Mary started in 1917, during the First World War in Europe and the Russian Revolution. She appeared to bring messages of hope and peace during international turmoil.In 1947, the 40-pound statue was carved out of mahogany and blessed by Bishop of Liera of Fatima with more than 200,000 people present. The statue was first taken around Europe — which had been devastated by World War II — and has since traveled to every continent in the world, except Antarctica. Its purpose is to bring the Virgin Mary's message of “hope, peace and salvation to those many millions of people who may never have an opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Fatima,” says the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, which owns the statue.To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Virgin Mary's first appearance in Fatima, the statue has been visiting churches across the U.S. It has graced St. Mark Catholic Church, 9905 Foothills Canyon Blvd., twice this year.At the Sept. 21 visit, dozens of people trickled in and out of the quiet chapel throughout the day. Some sat in the rows of seats, bowing their heads. Others knelt before the small but powerful statue.“Having the Fatima statue visit St. Mark Catholic Church fills my heart with so much hope and love,” parish administrative assistant Kathy Nuss said through tears. “Our Lady has truly blessed us.”Since the day after Easter in 2016, two men from northwestern Indiana have been driving an RV carrying the statue cross-country. Of the 195 dioceses — or a church under a bishop — nationwide, they have covered 145. At each stop, they spend a day at a local church and invite people to Mass, confession and prayer in the presence of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima. They also give talks on the history of Fatima.While spending the day with the statue, McCubbin said she was overcome with the feeling that anything is possible.“When you leave,” she said, “reality hits you.”The custodians of the statue report miracles in her presence: After attending Mass at a church in Portland, Oregon, a 12-year-old regained hearing in an ear that was deaf; a Vietnamese man in North Carolina said he was cured of malaria as a child after his father brought him to an International Pilgrim Virgin Statue.The statue's message of peace is needed now more than ever.“It's a very hopeful message,” said statue custodian Larry Maginot, “that somehow she is going to overcome all the divisions in the world today.”
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