ST. FRANCIS — Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will entrust the faithful of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the other four dioceses in Wisconsin to Mary, Mother of Mercy, Friday, Oct. 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, at St. Veronica Parish, Milwaukee. It will mark the first time the entire state has been entrusted to the Blessed Mother at one time.

Individually, the bishops will commemorate the entrustment in their own dioceses.

The traveling pilgrimage statue of Our Lady of Fatima is illumined Aug. 21 at St. Paul Church in Sellersburg, Indiana. The statue, a duplicate of the one at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, was commissioned in 1947 to travel the world, sharing the message of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared six times to three shepherd children in 1917. (CNS photo/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion )

The traveling pilgrimage statue of Our Lady of Fatima is illumined Aug. 21 at St. Paul Church in Sellersburg, Indiana. The statue, a duplicate of the one at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, was commissioned in 1947 to travel the world, sharing the message of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared six times to three shepherd children in 1917. (CNS photo/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion

“Entrustment gives us a direction or a focus on what the expectation is when we’re engaged in prayer,” said Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki in a Sept. 23 interview with the Catholic Herald. “You’re receiving something you are responsible for. It’s an understanding of placing our trust in Mary.”

Coinciding with the centennial anniversary of the 1917 Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima will be present at the act of entrustment, during its three-day visit to Milwaukee as it travels coast-to-coast on a two-year tour across the United States.

During the “Tour for Peace” journey, March 2016 through November 2017, the statue will visit all 50 states in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of Mary at Fatima, Oct. 13, 1917.

Dick Boldin, director of the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate, is coordinating the entrustment with his wife, Terry.

“Pope Francis dedicated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima and entrusted the world to her, and this Year of Mercy coincides with the 100th anniversary of Fatima,” said Boldin. “The climax of the statue’s visit will be during the entrustment.”

Bishops Robert C. Morlino of Madison, David L. Ricken of Green Bay, William P. Callahan of La Crosse and James P. Powers of Superior will unite with Archbishop Listecki to pray for peace and mercy within Wisconsin during the entrustment.[su_pullquote align=”right”]If you go
The statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be on display: Wednesday, Oct. 5, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, 2224 45th St., Kenosha, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, St. Stanislaus, 524 W. Historic Mitchell St., Milwaukee, 10 a.m. arrival; Mass at noon and 6:30 p.m.; 8 p.m. procession to St. Anthony, 711 S. 9th St., Milwaukee, with return to St. Stanislaus at 9 p.m. where it will remain for the All Night Vigil; 8:30 a.m. Mass on Oct. 7. Friday, Oct. 7, “Mary Mother of Mercy Celebration,” at St. Veronica, 353 E. Norwich St., Milwaukee, doors open 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. presentation and 7 p.m. Mass. [/su_pullquote]

“If you take a look at this time, notice the confusion that seems to permeate our society. Where do you look for that beacon of direction? Well hopefully Catholics and Christians look to the church,” said Archbishop Listecki. “In a spiritual sense, we look to the blessed mother, whose relationship with God was true, ‘Be it done to me according to your word, my soul magnifies the Lord.’ In entrustment we are taking our confidence and placing it in Mary and the prayer that we have through her.”

Archbishop Listecki noted how responsive the bishops were to his petition for the entrustment.

“They see the need to run to Mary,” said Archbishop Listecki. “With the entrustment, we’re going to have a more consistent prayer with Mary. Our community is going to be more prone to see Mary as a focal point of their intercession before God with prayer.”

As Archbishop Listecki leads the entrustment, he will kneel in front of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima.

Before the entrustment takes place at St. Veronica, the statue will visit Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, Kenosha, Oct. 5. There will also be a procession of the statue in Milwaukee from St. Anthony Parish to St. Stanislaus Parish, where there will be an all-night vigil on Oct. 6.[su_pullquote align=”left”]Holy cards available
The Rosary Evangelization Apostolate has produced a holy card with the Act of Entrustment prayer, 
accompanied by a photograph of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima. Electronic copies of the proclamation and holy card are available at Printed holy cards can also be 
ordered through the Rosary 
Evangelization Apostolate by 
emailing [/su_pullquote]

José Thedim sculpted the statue in 1947, which he based on the description provided by Sr. Lúcia dos Santos, one of the three witnesses of Mary at Fatima. There are actually three International Pilgrim Virgin Statues of Fatima. The first was created in 1921 but does not depict the features of Sr. Lúcia’s description. The statue is retired in the shrine at the Basilica of Fatima in Portugal but is transported to Rome when the pope performs a consecration.

In 1947, twin statues were created — one statue was intended to travel to the east and the other to the west. The eastern statue is retired in Fatima and the western statue continues to travel the world.

The statue has visited more than 100 countries, including Russia and China. Patrick Sabat, the primary custodian of the statue since 2003 who lives in Munster, Indiana, transports the statue for local tours in an RV, but for international trips the statue is transported by plane.

“She likes to have the window seat,” joked Sabat in a telephone interview with the Catholic Herald. He also noted the statue is meant to serve as a visual catechism.

“We (Catholics) don’t worship statues; we don’t even worship Mary,” said Sabat. “The statue represents Our Lady and is a messenger of her royalty.”

When the bishop of Fatima blessed the statue in 1947, he prayed for the presence of Mary to travel with the statue. The statue has been cited as a source for many spiritual conversions and also some physical healings.

Sabat recounted that last month he reunited with a man who helped carry the statue in a procession nine years ago in Detroit. The man had suffered from chronic shoulder pain for 30 years, but the day after the procession he stopped feeling any pain in his shoulder.

Sabat also recalled an account of a mother estranged from two of her five children. The night after seeing the statue, both of the children called their mother to resolve their differences. The daughter acknowledged to her mother that she had saved her life by answering the phone that evening.

The statue is administered by the World Apostolate of Fatima, the authentic voice of Fatima for the Vatican. The World Apostolate of Fatima prays that the statue, which visited Wisconsin in 2008, has a lasting legacy everywhere it travels.

“The tour is intended to bring a message of peace. No matter what a person’s ethnicity or cultural background is, they want to have peace,” said Barb Ernster of the World Apostolate of Fatima.

As the statue moves closer to Wisconsin, Archbishop Listecki is optimistic about the outlook the act of entrustment will have on the conclusion of the Year of Mercy.

“In the Year of Mercy, the pope raises our consciousness on corporal and spiritual works of mercy to invite more participation in those works,” the archbishop said. “My sense is after this year there were will more people involved in feeding the poor, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, due to the fact we have concentrated on it (mercy).”