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Image of Our Lady of Fatima makes stop at basilica

An image of Our Lady of Fatima sits on the alter of St. James Basilica on Tuesday, brought to the church by Brother Louis Diente of the Alliance of the Holy Family International based in Alabama. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown Catholics were given an opportunity to pray before a blessed image of Our Lady of Fatima on Tuesday at St. James Basilica.

The image is a statue depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary as described by witnesses who believe she appeared before children in the town of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Six images from Fatima were flown to the Vatican a year ago to be blessed by Pope Francis and will travel the globe until World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019, said Sister Clara Kelly from the Alliance of the Holy Family International based in Alabama.

Kelly, Sister Julia Amaya and Brother Louis Diente, also from the Alliance of the Holy Family International, are traveling with the image. The six images collectively have been to more than 30 countries on six continents, she said.

"We go to a lot of churches that are in the middle of nowhere but that is where you find such strong devotion," Kelly said. "It kind of shows that Our Lady really knows what's going on and that she's here for a reason."

The image of Mary was adorned with flowers and stood inside the basilica all day Tuesday. Students from St. John's Academy and other faithful came for Mass and to pray.

"It was fabulous," said Deacon Thomas Geffre. "A lot of hearts are being lifted and I think there are going to be some great prayers answered because of this."

The visit is to remind people of the message of Fatima as a call to prayer and reparation, Diente said. Even without a lot of notice, the image of Our Lady of Fatima brings a lot of people to prayer, she said.

"It's a great privilege and we are very grateful that we have the chance to be with Our Lady," Diente said.

The images were blessed for travel to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in 2017, he said. The travel was extended for a second year in 2018, he said.

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