WARWICK — Tributes to the Blessed Mother were in abundance, from the statue of Our Lady at the front of the sanctuary at St. Timothy Church during Sunday Mass, to the Marian blue table settings and miraculous medals at each place setting at the parish’s Faith Formation Day Breakfast following nearby at the Knights of Columbus hall.
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Father Andrew Messina, pastor of St. Timothy, said that this year’s event, which brought students in the parish’s faith formation program and their families together, was designed as a celebration of the special “Year with Mary our Mother” promulgated in the diocese this year by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.
“We’ve done a lot of focus on Mary over the course of the year in faith formation, and we really want our students to focus on this day,” he said.
In a touching moment during Mass, a number of students approached the statue of the Blessed Mother and carefully draped colorful rosaries upon her hands in prayer.
In his homily, the pastor spoke of how all gathered could strive to live their lives more like Mary.
“She wanted to do exactly what God wanted her to do, she wanted to be a blessing to others,” Father Messina said of Mary heeding God’s call to bring the Savior into the world.
“She said, yes, I want to make a difference,” he said. “She bore her son, the savior of the world and she wants to see all people become great people, loving people, holy people, compassionate people, filling the world with all sorts of good things. We can follow in Mary’s example by our participation in the life of the Church, and we like Jesus can be transformed.”
Following Mass, the students and their families proceeded to the breakfast, where there was an array of posters depicting various aspects of Mary’s life that each grade was assigned to research and present.
Mary’s appearances to the faithful at Fatima, Portugal, 100 years ago this year, and at Lourdes, France, in 1858, were two such research projects. Another featured a birthday card and cake made out of craft materials to honor her.
Seventh-graders Dan Halliwell and Grace Forrester presented research on behalf of their class into the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, which transpired before three shepherd children between May 13 and October 13, 1917.
“They took place during the period of the First World War,” said Halliwell.
He said that during this period of world turmoil the forces of oppression, persecution and the Communist Revolution in Russia were taking shape. A brief civil war in Portugal around this time brought a period of instability and suppression there as well, and government officials became concerned about the attention the children and their claims were receiving.
“In the government’s attempt to silence the children and the messages of Fatima, the children were abducted, thrown into prison and interrogated with the threat of death by the government administrator. But the children did not give into the threats,” Forrester said.
About 220 people were in attendance at the event.
“We’ve got a great group of people working very hard,” said Lucille Peloquin, St. Timothy’s faith formation coordinator.
“The kids did a wonderful job with their presentations,” she said.