June 1, 2023 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Members of the St. Joseph community carry a statue of Mary across the train tracks near downtown Bowling Green, Ky., on Saturday, May 13. COURTESY OF JAMES KENNEY

On Fatima anniversary, faithful pray in downtown Bowling Green


On Saturday, May 13, about 75 of the faithful gathered in front of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bowling Green, Ky., 106 years after the Virgin Mary, recognized in this context as Our Lady of Fatima, made the first of her reported six appearances to three children living in the village of Fatima, Portugal, in the midst of WWI. During one of her visits to the children, on June 13, 1917, Mary told them to pray the Holy Rosary every day for peace and for the end of WWI.

The morning of St. Joseph’s Fatima Rosary walk threatened rain, but it never came. Those participating in the procession received a blessing from Fr. Ryan Harpole, pastor of St. Joseph, before walking the mile to the Bowling Green Downtown Square, publicly professing their faith on the streets of Bowling Green through praying the Rosary and singing songs.

Fr. Corey Bruns, who serves as parochial vicar of St. Joseph, says spiritual events like this are critical to the Catholic community in Bowling Green.

“I think it is important,” he said. “Here in America, we don’t necessarily let faith and culture intersect. We need to share what we believe with others; we can’t just keep it to ourselves. The faith doesn’t really live unless it is taken out; we do that by sharing.”

Though the Saturday, May 13, anniversary of Mary’s appearance at Fatima brought threatening skies, the rain held off for the procession from St. Joseph to downtown and back. COURTESY OF JAMES KENNEY

After arriving at the Bowling Green Downtown Square, Gavin Mendez holds a crucifix during prayers before helping to lead the procession back to St. Joseph on Saturday, May 13. COURTESY OF JAMES KENNEY

Maria Flores (kneeling) prays with her fellow parishioners in Fountain Square Park in Bowling Green, Ky., after a rosary procession in honor of Our Lady of Fatima on Saturday, May 13. “She (Mary) is always here for us,” Rivas said. “She is the mother of God.” COURTESY OF JAMES KENNEY

During the Our Lady of Fatima celebration and rosary walk from St. Joseph Catholic Church to the Bowling Green Downtown Square on Saturday, May 13, William Flores, right, holds a rose given to him by Gladys Rivas, as they pray in Fountain Square Park. Antonella Mayo Zarate, 4, plays nearby. COURTESY OF JAMES KENNEY

James Kenney is the coordinator of the photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

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