We have concluded an incredible Jubilee Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis, inaugurated on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Francis invited the entire Catholic Church to renew itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love. The Church, during this Year of Mercy, sought to emphasize one of her most profound characteristics, to make it visible for all to understand and experience. “Mercy, the inexhaustible capacity to welcome and forgive all men and women in need of pardon whether alive or dead.”In this way the Church reveals the authentic face of God, our Father “rich in mercy”. God’s mercy is infinite, hence it never ceases to flow. Closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy is not shutting the doors of mercy but unsealing the floodgates of mercy in a different fashion.And it is surely providential that the Pope decided that the Year of Mercy should immediately precede 2017, the Centenary of the Fatima Apparitions to the three young seers, Lucia,Jacinta and Francisco, between May and October of 1917. So it could be said that, liturgically, the Year of Mercy leads us from Our Lady to Christ by means of her apparitions at Fatima.
The theme of mercy is one of the core messages of Fatima.For example, when the Angel of Peace appeared to the three young shepherds during the summer of 1916,the Angeltold the children: “Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you.”The three shepherd children participated in these designs of mercy. They obtained abundant graces for the Church and for all of mankind throughout many years of tribulation and darkness. These children totally consecrated themselves to the Immaculate Heart, allowing themselves to be formed by Mary and to fully embrace her mission to the world. As a result, they became great channels of mercy and conversion for the Church and the world. This invites us also to participate in the designs of mercy that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary have for us in our lives.
At Fatima, with its events and message, they form for us a large piece of God’s divine plan for mercy for our times. The little shepherds of Fatima saw many ways to help save souls through God’s mercy. He asks us to honor the Heart of Mary, the maternal, most-pure love of Mary. This means to open our hearts to her love and to offer our hearts to be formed in the love of Christ. Therefore, it is critical that we not only turn to the Immaculate Heart of Mary but also worthily prepare ourselves to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and relive her message more deeply. As we close the year of Mercy and anticipate the 100thAnniversary of Our Lady’s message of hope, peace and salvation to a world suffering under the weight of sin, Pope Francis tells us that Our Lady of Fatima “invites us once again to turn to prayer, penance, and conversion.” “She asks us to never offend God again. She forewarns all humanity about the necessity of abandoning oneself to God, the source of love and mercy,”
The Diocese of Sacramento declares Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center as the Pilgrimage center for the Centenary Celebration of Our Lady of Fatima. Bishop Cotta has appointed Father Giltus Mathias and the Passionist Community as custodians of a statue, crafted in Portugal, of Our Lady of Fatima. The statue, a perfect and beautiful replica was gifted to the Bishop.
This statue is placed in an especially dedicated shrine where members of the public can visit and pray to the Blessed Virgin. The statue and shrine was officially blessed and dedicated by Bishop Cotta on Thursday, December 8, 2016, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Christ the King Retreat Center welcomes pilgrims to visit the statue of Our Lady.