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Fatima relics create special connection for Toronto parish

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100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima reminds us to pray for peace
By Jean Ko Din
Photo caption: Slivers of wood from Fatima are housed in the middle of the cross, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. From May 26 to June 4, the parish will be host to a travelling Vatican International Exhibition on Marian apparitions and shrines. (Photo by Jean Ko Din)
While Pope Francis and countless thousands of Catholics flocked to Portugal May 12 and 13 to celebrate one of the most famous Marian devotions in the world, a little piece of Fatima can be found in the Archdiocese of Toronto.
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, a Scarborough parish dedicated to Our Lady received new relics from the Holy See.
Our Lady of Fatima parish is now in possession of a chip of wood from the original tree on which the Virgin Mary appeared, and splinters of the original caskets in which Jacinta and Francisco Marto were buried.
“In a way, you’re bringing Fatima to them and that is the connection,” said Father  Victor Mallia, who requested the relics from Rome. “I think (the relics) are something that gives more value to the devotion because not everyone can go to Fatima.”
Father Mallia plans to build an outdoor shrine beside the church where the new relics can be venerated at all hours. Plans for the outdoor shrine have already begun and he expects to have it ready for visitors by August.
The parish already has a Fatima relic displayed on a pedestal inside the church. The relic was bequeathed to Father Mallia from a priest friend who received the chip of wood from a descendant of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, who together with cousins Jacinta and Francisco witnessed the apparitions in 1917.
The story goes that a sibling of Sister Lucia ripped off a branch of the tree Our Lady appeared on. When a grandson entered the seminary to become a priest, he was gifted with a large chunk of this branch which he then shared with his fellow seminarians.
One of these seminarians was the priest friend who then gave it to Father Mallia to display in the parish shrine.
“I insist that the important thing is that we know the message of Fatima and live by that message because after all … knowing the story on its own is no good,” said Father Mallia.
Mallia said the parish’s centenary celebrations must be centred on the Fatima messages itself – to pray the Rosary, do penance, and pray for peace in the world.
“And the world needs peace right now,” said Father Mallia. “I think we need to once again recognize that urgent message that the Virgin Mary gave in Fatima and do something about living it.”
From May 26 to June 4, the parish host a travelling Vatican international exhibition on Marian apparitions and shrines around the world.
For more information about the parish and its centenary celebrations, visit

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