On May 13 of 1917, the three shepherd children Lucia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto have witnessed the first apparition of the virgin mary. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. They described Mary as “a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun”. This is followed by five more apparitions in which the last one occurred on October 13, 1917 was witnessed also by a huge crowd. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.
In celebration with the Centenary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima which also coincides with the Year of Parish as Communion of Communities the Diocese of Imus came up with a special pilgrimage that encourages devotees and Catholics to visit six special pilgrim churches in Cavite dedicated to the miraculous Our Lady of Fatima. These special pilgrim churches were assigned by the Most Rev. Reynaldo G Evengelista.
The Pilgrimage tour comes up with a special Guide book that will give details about the churches to be visited. Those who completed the tour will also receive a Certificate of Completion. The process actually reminds me of the Pilgrim Passport and the five designated Jubilee Churches in Manila last year (in celebration of the Year of Mercy) – Check : The Pilgrim Passport and the Five Designated Jubilee Churches in Manila.
Accompanied by my friends, we were able to finish the pilgrimage tour within the day. So without any further ado, here are the six designated Special Pilgrim Churches in the Diocese of Imus for the Centenary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.
Note: Handbooks are mostly being issued in Immaculate Heart of Mary in Bucandala, Imus so I suggest you to start your tour in this Parish so you can get a guide book that will help you in your entire pilgrimage. In addition to that, each of the designated church will also put a stamp in guide book as a proof of your visit. The certificate can only be issued once you have visited all the churches and this can also be claimed from the Immculate Heart of Mary in Bucandala so therefore, you will also conclude the tour in this church.
1. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Binakayan, Kawit Cavite
It was in 1966 when the first church was built and on the same year a wonderful image of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal was brought by couple from New York. The miraculous image was first enshrined in a church in Brgy Bantayan in 1970 and in 1996, the image was transferred to her newly built shrine near the Congbalay Rd in Binakayan. The church celebrated its Golden anniversary last year and was also declared as a Special Pilgrim Church by Pope Francis from May 13, 2016 to May 13 of this year. We often include this church in our yearly pilgrimage. Check more details here – Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church in Binakayan, Kawit.
2. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Soldier’s Hills 4, Molino VI, Bacoor City, Cavite
It started off as a small chapel located on a vacant lot in Soldier’s Hills subdivision. It was built under the guidance of the Our Lady of Peace Parish in Queen’s Row Subdivision. It was in year 1999 when the chapel was declared as a Pastoral Center. Six years after (May 2005) , it finally became a Parish under Fr Hector Arellano and the late Rev Fr Sharkey Brown.
3. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Salitran, Dasmariñas City, Cavite
Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Salitran also started as a chapel and was later elevated as a Pastoral center under the administration of Fr Conrad Amon in 1992. The amount of devotees in Salitran eventually grew and with the continuous growth of population in Dasma and the rise of many subdivisions, the community decided to build a bigger church to accommodate the growing number of people and devotees of Our Lady of Fatima. The construction of the Pastoral center was completed in 1993. The pastoral center eventually became a parish in 1997 under Father Nonilon Tibayan.
4. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Anabu I , Imus Cavite
The devotion to Our Lady of Fatima in Anabu started since 1950s when an American Soldier brought the miraculous image of the Lady in their barangay. To pay tribute, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima was built. It was a small chapel built in bamboos. The devotion to our Lady eventually grew and with the cooperation of the community, the chapel was renovated and improved. It soon became a parish in May 13, 2015 with Rev Fr Benjamin Francisco as the newly assigned parish priest.
5. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Anabu II, Imus, Cavite
The original parish was established in 1983. It was just a chapel then and it serves as the home of the image of Our Lady of Fatima which was given by four missionary nuns in 1950. Like the others, the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima in the community of Anabu II eventually grew until it became a parish in May 4, 2012 under the administration of Rev Fr Teodorico Santiago.
6. Immaculate Heart of Mary – Bucandala, Imus, Cavite
The Parish was built in 1990 under the patronage of Immaculate Heart of Mary. Rev Fr Efren Bugayong was the first to be assigned as the parish priest. Because of the growing community and the growing amount of devotees, they decided to find a new and bigger location and a new parish was built in 2008. Once done with all the visitations, the certificate of completion can be claimed in the parish office. I’ve already visited this parish once during a Marian Exhibit (Check :Immaculate Heart of Mary , Imus 2nd Marian Exhibit)
The Pilgrimage to the six pilgrim churches can be performed from May 13 to October 13 of 2017 so you still have time to complete the visitation.
Note: It is not necessary to complete the visitation in one day. You can do it anytime you want with no specific time frame. Devotees were also encouraged to receive a sacrament of confession prior to the visitation. It is also important to attend a mass in any of the listed churches
Source: “Gabay Sa Paglalakbay Sa Panahon ng Sentenaryo ng Fatima”
Will provide more details about each church soon!
For the mean time, feel free to watch the Video below
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