Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Mary visits Diocese of Madison Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 06, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
40 days statue
A crowd gathers to pray outside the Planned Parenthood facility on Madison’s east side during a Eucharistic Procession for Life to end abortion September 29. The procession and Holy Hour were led by Fr. Stephen Imbarrato from Priests for Life. Also present, was the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which recently made stops in the Diocese of Madison. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- While there have not been any reported apparitions of the Blessed Mother in the Diocese of Madison recently, her presence was greatly felt.

From September 26 to September 29, the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima made stops in the diocese as part of its U.S. Tour for Peace.

The statue appeared at St. Cecilia Parish in Wisconsin Dells, St. Clement Parish in Lancaster, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Monona, and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Mt. Horeb.

From May to October 1917, the Mother of God appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, and gave them a peace plan from heaven. In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of these apparitions, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima is touring the U.S.

Praying ‘inconveniently’

In addition to its parish stops, the statue was also brought near the Planned Parenthood clinic location on Madison’s east side.

It was part of a Eucharistic Procession for Life lead by Fr. Stephen Imbarrato from Priests for Life -- an organization that serves to galvanize clergy to preach, teach, and mobilize their people more effectively in the effort to end abortion and euthanasia.

Father Imbarrato, who has been leading these processions since 2008, said, “The fullness of life is in the Eucharist,” adding, “Abortion is the sacrament of the evil one. It is the epitome of death . . . The way to battle this sacrament of the evil one is to bring Jesus to these abortion mills.”

He also encouraged everyone not only to pray for an end to abortion, but to “pray inconveniently. Abortion is the ultimate sin of convenience,” adding that it’s “inconvenient” to pray near abortion facilities,” but they are the “modern day Calvaries”.

Father Imbarrato, along with Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Mt Horeb and Perry; Fr. Andrew McAlpin, OP, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison; and Fr. Jorge Miramontes, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Marshall and Waterloo, led the procession in front of a crowd that filled most of the sidewalk outside the facility.

After the statue was placed on an altar on the sidewalk, the Blessed Sacrament was placed in a monstrance along with the singing of “O Salutaris”. Those gathered then prayed the Rosary, while the priests said silent prayers of exorcism upon the abortion facility and grounds.

At the conclusion of the Rosary, the priests processed with the Blessed Sacrament around the grounds, while more prayers of exorcism were said, along with sprinkling of Holy Water and sacred salt. The crowd prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet during this time.

Resting in Mary’s Immaculate Heart

One of the statue’s other stops was at Immaculate Heart of Mary School and Church in Monona.

Prior to processing to the church, the students prayed near the statue at the school.

Pastor Fr. Chad Droessler led prayers, along with some of the Sisters of Mary, Morning Star, who are in residence at the parish.

“Let us ask Mary to hear our petitions on our hearts and our procession as a sign of always growing closer and walking toward Christ,” said Father Droessler.

Students processed behind the statue as it was brought into the church.

One student from each grade placed a candle near the statue and every student placed a flower before it.

Statue custodian Larry Maginot spoke to the students about the devotion to Mary, appropriate at the parish and school named for the patronage of her Immaculate Heart.

Maginot told the students about Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima to the three children -- ages seven, nine, and 10 like many of the students -- and her message to them.

“She never told them that when you get older, you can put into practice what I am saying,” said Maginot. “She wanted them to start now when they were very young.”

“She asked them, ‘are you willing to offer yourselves to God and accept all the sufferings God intends to send you in order to save souls and make reparation for sin?’” he added.

He also told them that Mary told the children to pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world.

Father Droessler then led the students and adults gathered in the church in the Litany of Loreto to Mary.

He also blessed Brown Scapulars for the students for them to be enrolled in the sacramental.

For more on the Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace, go to

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