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Sacred Heart procession reminds that Fatima message still relevant


“Are you happy with the world today?” That was the question presented as Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish & Diocesan Shrine kicked off their monthly tribute to Our Lady of Fatima. The May 13 Mass included a rosary procession to the outdoor stone shrine. The special devotion will continue on the 13th of every month until October.

A rosary procession begins its route to the Sacred Heart Shrine with Father Lukasz Kopala, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish and Shrine in Bowmansville on May 13. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

Father Bryan Zielenieski, vicar for Renewal and Development for the Diocese of Buffalo, served as guest celebrant. He began his homily by asking, “What is your reason for hope?”

He pointed out that the following day was the sixth Sunday of Easter and Mother’s Day, and that resurrection was a reason to hope, along with Jesus’ love and mothers. 

“The Blessed Mother, the model of all mothers, cares about her children so much so that she appears to three little children 106 years ago to this very day. One hundred and six years ago, she saw faith in these three small children. She knew those three children had the potential to change the world.”

Beginning on May 13, 1917, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, claimed to have seen a vision of the Blessed Mother promising to return and reveal three messages meant to bring salvation to the world.

Father Zielenieski said the messages need to be remembered today.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not happy with where our world is at today. Are you?” he asked. Some mumblings could be heard in response from the 250 people in attendance. “If we’re not, then what are we doing about it?”

Not intending to scare anyone, Father Zielenieski laid out the Fatima message that there is a Hell.

“Our actions have consequences and our turning away from Jesus, who is the risen Lord, who is love, who is the embodiment of everything that God sends to us in love; by not responding to that love has consequences,” he explained as he stepped out of Sacred Heart’s sanctuary into the nave among the congregation.

Father Bryan Zielenieski, vicar for Renewal and Development for the Diocese of Buffalo, delivers a homily about the message of Our Lady of Fatima at Sacred Heart Parish and Shrine in Bowmansville on May 13. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

The Blessed Mother told the children they could change the destiny of souls going to Hell by praying for them.

“That message was not just for those three children, but for every single one of us,” Father Zielenieski said. “The message of Fatima is that we need to make sure we are responding in our own faith life. We have to make sure that we are loving, as God loves us.”

The second message is that the world is a destructive place. Our Lady of Fatima is said to have predicted the start of World War II and Russia coming into power.

“Who would have thought that in 2023 we have to speak about war in our world?” Father Zielenieski asked.

He questions if Christians have become lukewarm in their faith.

“Are we doing everything we can to make a difference?” He asked.

The message of Fatima is as true today as it was 106 years ago. “(The children) were open enough to listen. What will take us to hear the message of hope that Our Lady is trying to warn us about – of listening to the Lord and not the world, of pleasing Christ and not ourselves, of loving neighbor instead of infecting harm, of truly living the Gospel instead of living gossip. When will we live as our Lord and Our Lady are asking us to do?”

At the finish of Mass, the congregation processed around the parking lot to the shrine while reciting the rosary. Led by the Knights of Columbus, students from Chesterton Academy carried a statue of Our Lady.

Rosary prayers and Ave Maria filled the air as a procession through Sacred Heart Parish’s parking lot led 250 people to the outdoor shrine on May 13. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

Father Lukasz Kopala, pastor of Sacred Heart, thanked those who came and worked on the service.

“You warmed my heart with your response of your generous time, talents and treasures,” he said.

The parish will continue the service on the 13th of every month until October.


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