Inaugural Tour Stop: Our Lady of the Rosary: Downtown San Diego
Blessed on May 13, 1951 at the close of the Holy Year designated by Pope Pius XII, part of the mission of the World-Famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue (IPVS) of Fatima is to bring the graces of Our Lady of Fatima to those around the world unable to make the pilgrimage to Fatima. Although my colleague, Thomas McKenna has been to Fatima numerous times having dedicated his life to serving the Church, I have not been.
I can attest the encounter with the statue is miraculous, deeply moving and edifying. Watching the affect she has on others, especially the elderly who over the course of hours, remained in her presence; I could only imagine they were reflecting on their lives, interceding in prayer for their families, and many more infinite desires and needs they hold in their hearts.
When we arrived at Our Lady of the Rosary, we were greeted warmly by Fr. Joseph Tabigue, fellow priests and deacon. Father Joseph organized and led a wonderful 4 hour visit that included a procession into Mass, Rosary, and ample time for parishioners to reflect and venerate the statue as well as sacred relics of the Crown of Thorns, the Veil of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph’s mantle and St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, provided by courtesy of and under the custodianship of Catholic Action for Faith and Family.
The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Albino Vecina who gave a beautiful homily and wake up call for many of us that whoever wishes to be exalted or great, it will only be achieved when it is all said and done through humility. Following Mass, Father Joseph led the rosary and procession to conclude.
Our pilgrim crew was honored to have its inaugural visit at Our Lady of the Rosary Church and deeply appreciative to receive a final blessing for the journey ahead from Father Joseph.
Side note: Patrick Sabat told me to watch Our Lady decide what she wants to happen. As we were winding down, parishioners were still inside the Church in the presence of the statue. I went to prepare our parking and was standing in front of the Church.
A passerby and his wife walked by and asked irreverently, "is it too late to get married?" (as if Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church were a wedding chapel in Las Vegas). "Have a nice evening," I said.
He looked into the parish and proceeded to walk maybe 50 more steps past the Church down the sidewalk. Then, he and his wife walked back to me and with a tear welling up in his eye said, "you know, my brother was married in this Church." I said "why don’t you go on in"...and they did.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for all of us!
“Always go forward and never turn back.”
~ St. Junípero Serra