By Ryan Blessing
The streets of Stonington Borough welcomed walkers holding candles on the evening of Saturday, May 18, as parishioners and friends of St. Mary Church honored Our Lady of Fatima.
A group of men dressed in white ceremonial capes carried the church’s statue of Our Lady of Fatima from its place on the altar out the front doors of the church, while parishioners lit candles. The image of Our Lady of Fatima, a life-sized statue, was positioned on a bed of white carnations atop a wooden platform, which the men held high while the parade took place.
Bishop Michael R. Cote led a recitation of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary as the procession commenced on Broad Street. The procession proceeded down Water Street past its shops and old homes and returned to the church by way of Main Street after darkness had fallen.
The participants recited the Rosary and sang “Ave Maria” and other hymns while walking through the streets. The Feast of Our Lady is especially meaningful in the Borough, with its strong Portuguese population. It celebrates the famed Marian apparitions reported in 1917 by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, in Fátima, Portugal.
The candlelit procession was preceded by a Mass in Honor of Our Lady of Fatima. Returning to the church after the procession, the faithful participated in a Benediction.