The Archdiocese of Armagh is to celebrate 100 years since Our Lady appeared in Fatima by welcoming a blessed statue to the diocese today, Friday 3 March.

On 11 January this year, Pope Francis blessed six statues of Our Lady of Fatima to be brought to each continent, to appeal for prayer and reparation for world peace and to promote the sanctity of family life in our world.  One of the statues blessed on that day will be brought to Armagh today by representatives of the Alliance of the two Hearts.

The statue will arrive at the main gates of Saint Malachy’s Church this evening and there will be a short procession around the church during which time the Rosary will be prayed. The statue will be received by Archbishop Eamon Martin at the beginning of the 7.30pm Mass. There will be a Holy Hour after the Mass, to pray for healing for victims of abuse and there will be an opportunity for people to come and pray before the statue until 12 midnight.

On the morning of Saturday 4 March the statue will be brought to St Patrick’s Cathedral for the First Saturday Devotions. Confessions will begin at 9.15am. Mass will be celebrated at 10.00am and the Rosary will be prayed in Our Lady’s Chapel after Mass. Representatives of the Alliance of the two Hearts will lead prayers in the Cathedral at midday and there will be an opportunity for people and prayer groups to visit the cathedral throughout the day to pray before the Centennial Statue.

Archbishop Eamon Martin will join for the 7.00pm Vigil Mass on the Saturday evening and before the end of Mass, homes and families will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and people will have an opportunity to enrol in the Brown Scapular. The special Statue will leave St Patrick’s Cathedral after the Mass on that evening.

This year marks the 100th anniversary since Our Lady first appeared in Fatima, Portugal on 13 May 1917. The apparitions continued once until 13 Oct 1917. The Vatican has confirmed that the Holy Father Pope Francis will travel to Fatima to mark the centenary of the apparitions.

The Alliance of the Two Hearts, Ireland is a branch of the Alliance of the Holy Family International. Formed in 1990, the Alliance of the Holy Family International (AHFI) is a movement of youth, family, clergy, and media practitioners who organised themselves to promote the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, not only as a devotion, but also as a way of life.