Sakkad Sangatha Melya! Faithful Grace the Blessing of the Altar & Statue at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine
Mangaluru : The Mangalore Retreat House was constructed and established in 1950 on a land donated by a prominent Catholic of Mangaluru, James Britto. This was possible thanks to the efforts of Fr. Adrien Le Tellier SJ, a Beligian Jesuit, known for his indefatigable zeal and fervor in directing Ignatian Retreats and establishing Retreat Houses. The house was established with an intention of holding closed retreats and recollections in an atmosphere of solitude, prayer and silence. In 1954, with the Retreat House being placed under the aegis of Our Lady of Fatima, it was christened for the first time as the Fatima Retreat House.
Over the years, the Retreat House has been a hub of retreats and spiritual seminars and several other allied activities. Presently as a place of prayer run by the Jesuits of Karnataka, people of all walks of life come here and spend time in solitude and silence. The Prarthanalaya chapel is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for short visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Residential facilities are available for those who come for closed retreats and seminars.
The Vision of Fatima Retreat House is a destination of choice for Catholics, all Christians, and in fact, all people of good will, and become an even more vibrant center for all who seek spiritual growth through the discovery, renewal, and deepening of personal faith in Christ, with an accompaniment of our Blessed Mother, in order to be disciples who will continue the mission of Jesus – bringing God’s mercy, love and justice into the world. And the Mission, they provide a place of peace, rest, pilgrimage, illumination, and closeness to God to promote right relationships with God, with each other and with Creation, especially through spiritual development in the Catholic tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The Jesuits priests commit themselves to meet and collaborate with people of all backgrounds, wherever they may be in their spiritual life, and offer them the resources and contemplative atmosphere to foster spiritual ignition necessary to be free and fully alive as children of God. And the Morals/Values of Fatima Retreat House are rooted in the Catholic Christian tradition and building on the history of the Jesuit community in Mangaluru, where they value: all creation, compassion, unity in diversity, ecological sustainability, interfaith connections, social justice, the spiritual journey, and the Beatitudes.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal is one of most famous Marian shrines in the world. Some four million people visit Fatima each year, drawn by apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported by three local shepherd children Jacinta, Francis and Lucia in 1917, for six times on every 13th of the month from May to October. What began as a devotion to Our Lady in 1954, took the shape of a Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in 1955, and eventually became a place of natural beauty, communal prayer, and renewal for the Faithful of Mangaluru who began visiting this place of prayer. The magnificence and natural beauty of the Shrine is highlighted by a beautiful Dome that has been in place since 1959. The Outdoor Stations of the Cross constructed in cement in the same year, have ever since been a source of great spiritual appeal, attracting large crowds every year, especially on Lenten Fridays.
There were two days of celebrations- on 5 October the newly renovated Altar at the Shrine was blessed by Most Rev Bishop Aloysius Paul D’souza (Emeritus), followed by a Holy Eucharist, at the the Chapel by the Bishop (Emeritus) along with the former Superior and director of FRH-Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ, present Director of FRH- Fr Maxim SJ, Fr Pradeep SJ, Fr Kevin SJ, Fr Michael John SJ, Fr Alphonse SJ, Fr Santhosh Kamath SJ, and Fr Anand Pereira SJ. Fr Maxim Misquith SJ. Present Director and Superior welcomed the guests and installed the statue of our Lady of Fatima, prior to which it was taken in a short procession from the Chapel after the Mass.
Rev.Fr.Maxim (Director of the Fatima Retreat House) with Mrs. Blossom B. Soares ( Nee. Brito) the Great Grand daughter of the Donors of The KODIALBAIL CHAPEL and Grandneice of the DONOR of the Land of The Fatima Retreat House
On Sunday 6th October 2019, Rev Fr Jerome Stanislaus D’souza SJ provincial of Karnataka Province was the main celebrant of Holy Eucharist and inaugurated the Fatima Shrine. In His homily, Fr Jerome D’souza SJ said, “Today we are celebrating two events- Inauguration of the Renovated Shrine, and also the Feast of Our Lady of Holy Rosary. We should all know that Bible is not for information, instead it is for transformation. Bible is to love and follow Jesus. By reading the Bible daily you’ll come to know more about Jesus While there are numerous ways that reading the Bible brings us closer to God and benefits us daily- to name a few : Gods word leads us to salvation; God’s instructions for life are housed in His word; We gain wisdom from it; Scripture releases our chains and lifts our burdens; God’s word brings us joy; and The Bible gives us hope”
“Mother Mary was just like our Mother who gave us birth. She taught Jesus how to walk, talk and many other things. Mary was a family woman just like our Mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary is a compendium of catechesis. She is a living catechism. The faith of the Church becomes incarnate in her person. Mary is “the first and most perfect of Christ’s disciples” . She is thus the best model for those who seek to acquire a deeper knowledge and experience of the Word of God. In her they will see the life-giving results of the believer’s openness to God’s power: the fruit of “hearing the Word of God and keeping it.” (Lk 11:27-28) They will see her as the Woman of Faith, who actively surrendered fully to God’s love. Therefore we need to seek Mary’s blessings in our lives and keep loving her” added Fr Jerome.
On the occasion, candles and mementos were given to the donors/benefactors/well-wishers who had contributed towards the renovation of the Shrine and Altar. A bunch of balloons were released as a symbol of unity and peace led by Fr Jerome Stanislaus and the congregation. Fr Maxim SJ Present Director and Superior welcomed the gathering and Fr Francis D’souza SJ. thanked the guests. Appreciating the support and encouragement from the Faithful to the Shrine, Fr Maxim SJ said, ” I feel extremely grateful to God and His Son Jesus Christ for the marvelous blessings He has poured upon Fatima Retreat House, and the Shrine. My heart, filled with immense joy and gratitude to God and one another sings praises to the Almighty who is the source of all good. (Lk 1:46).The Fatima Retreat House was like a small seed which began with small and humble steps has now grown has a mighty tree which shelters thousands of devotees from near and far, providing them with spiritual and emotional support through the Eucharistic Celebration, sacrament of reconciliation, spiritual talks, retreats, novenas and many more devotions. Thanks to all the great superiors who sowed the seeds of spirituality at Fatima Retreat House”.
“At this juncture I want to thank our dear benefactors who donated the land to the Karnataka Jesuits for the purpose of retreat and other spiritual ministries. As I pray for their departed souls, I also would like to assure of my continued prayerful support for the families of the benefactors. Presently the Retreat House campus consists of Divine Mercy Church, the Fatima Shrine, and the Adoration Chapels, a Residence for the priests and a house for the pilgrims that attract many people to come here and spend time with the Lord. As the new Superior and Director of Fatima Retreat House I invoke God’s choicest blessings on all families, benefactors and well wishers. May Our Lady of Fatima the patroness of the campus continue to intercede for us with her Son Jesus” added Fr Maxim. .
Ending this report with a hymn to Our Lady of Fatima :