Korean Catholics welcome Fatima statue during milestone year

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Male parishioners of the St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church in Dededo carried the International Centennial Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima out of the parish after the visit of the statue on Saturday, September 2, 2017. (Photo by Tony Diaz / tony.diaz@archagana.org)

About the Visit Statue

On Jan. 11, 2017 Pope Francis blessed six statues of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and conferred upon them the title of “International Centennial Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima.” Each of these pilgrim images have since been sent from the Eternal City to a continent, where their pilgrimage will be focused.

The Alliance of the Holy Family International and Human Life International Austria together conceived and coordinated the project on the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, where the Blessed Mother of Jesus famously appeared to three children. The apparitions have been approved by the Holy See as worthy of belief, and they have had a great effect in subsequent Church teaching and devotion.

From the website of Human Life International Austria at https://www.hli.org/2017/02/pilgrimage-begins-six-continents-fatima-centenary-jubilee-year

By Tony C. Diaz
Umatuna Si Yu’os

Two weeks before they celebrate the 40th anniversary of their parish and feast of patron St. Andrew Kim, Korean Catholics had extra reason for joy on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

About 100 parishioners of St. Andrew Kim joined Parochial Administrator Father Philip Byeon in welcoming the International Centennial Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The fact that the image of Our Lady visited their parish during the first Saturday of the Month devotion was added grace for parishioners like Gabrialla Kang.

“It’s a really graceful time for our parish here. Recently, my priest emphasized on the first Saturday Mass, the importance,” said Kang, the President of the Korean Curia group, the parish’s equivalent of the Legion of Mary.

“Fortunately, the Fatima Mother visit our parish on the first Saturday,” said Kang. “Yes, it’s amazing. It’s so graceful day. We are very, very happy to meet the Fatima Mother and on the first Saturday.”

The church community of St. Andrew Kim was established 40 years ago in 1977 when 11 members of the Korean community on Guam began gathering and attending Mass at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Tamuning.

The flicker turned to a flame which burns intensely today.

Now several hundred strong, the hardy and hearty parishioners of St. Andrew Kim will celebrate the church’s 40th year anniversary with Archbishop Michael Byrnes during the fiesta of the Korean martyr and their patron saint at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 in Harmon.

“It’s extraordinary,” said Deacon Assistant Dominic Kim, one of the original members. “I can hardly believe that it has been 40 years. It’s like it’s only 20 years since we met but before you know it, it’s already 40 years.”

Last Sept. 2, Father Philip led prayers after caretakers escorted the statue of Our Lady in the St. Andrew Kim Church in Harmon. The parishioners and visitors from elsewhere in Guam venerated the beautiful statue of Our Lady during the prayers. Father Philip celebrated Mass followed by the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and praying of the Holy Rosary.

Dozens of bright pink/white roses adorned the foot of the statue and front of the altar at the sanctuary.

The banner of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary hung at the front of the church signifying the Alliance of the Holy Family International and Human Life International Austria which is coordinating the statue’s visit to Guam as part of its pilgrimage to this region and other parts of the world.

Blessed by Pope Francis last January, the International Centennial Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima is a bit different from the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima which has visited our island at least four times in the past, though no less inspirational. This image of Our Lady has Mother Mary opening her arms, exposing her sacred heart.

The pilgrimage Our Lady is part of the 100th year anniversary of the Fatima apparitions when Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Her urgent appeal was for the world to turn away from sin and turn to God in peace, prayer and conversion. The statue will be on Guam through September 9.