Riverview's Our Lady of Fatima designated a shrine

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Riverview chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima has been named an archdiocesan shrine, the Archdiocese of Detroit said this week.

The title recognizes the site that serves as a "popular place of pilgrimage" and for "its abundant availability of the sacraments," the Archdiocese of Detroit said in a statement.

Parishioners gather at the site last year.

The chapel and adjacent bookstore near Ray Street are overseen by volunteers with the Detroit Archdiocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima, whose mission is to help people learn, live and spread the messages of Our Lady of Fatima.

Catholic devotion to Our Lady of Fatima started in May 1917, when the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal. Worshipers believe that apparition, the centennial of which was celebrated in Metro Detroit and around the world three years ago, launched several visits that revealed plans for pursuing global peace.

“With its designation as an archdiocesan shrine, we recognize that Our Lady of Fatima Shrine will continue its service as a sacred place of pilgrimage, a source of devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and a welcoming place for all the faithful seeking lives of peace and holiness,” Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said in a statement.

Our Lady of Fatima in Riverview was dedicated as a private chapel on April 4, 2006.

Our Lady of Fatima is now among three shrines encompassing an entire campus in the archdiocese, following St. Joseph in Detroit and the Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, church officials said. There are several smaller shrines throughout the archdiocese, including a Shrine to St. Anne inside the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit and a Shrine to St. John Paul II within Our Lady of Orchard Lake Chapel. 

To mark the designation, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Gerard Battersby will publicly read the Vigneron's decree and celebrate Mass at the shrine on Oct. 13, the 103rd anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun.” On that day, more than 70,000 people reportedly witnessed "the sun dancing in the sky and unexplainable spiritual and physical cures among many of those gathered" in Fatima, Portugal, the archdiocese said. 

"Our desire is for the faithful who visit Our Lady of Fatima Shrine to receive the same joy and spiritual blessings experienced by millions of pilgrims who visit Fatima, Portugal, each year,” said the Rev. John Hedges, pastor of St. Stephen Parish in New Boston, who serves as the Detroit apostolate’s spiritual director and rector of the Shrine.

The shrine features relics of the Fatima saints, stained-glass windows and life-size statues depicting Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions.

Stained glass depicting Our Lady of Fatima.

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine and the St. Joseph bookstore are open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Masses are celebrated at 7 p.m. on the first Friday of each month, 8 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month, and 7 p.m. on the 13th of each month from May to October in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. 

For information, go to www.fatimashrinedetroit.org