June 30, 2016

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Symbol of Catholic peace visits Brunswick parish

About a thousand people stopped Thursday night to say a prayer when a statue of Our Lady of Fatima stopped at St. Ambrose Catholic Parish in Brunswick.

Visitors pray in front of the Our Lady of Fatima statue of the Virgin Mary during the statue’s visit Thursday night to St. Ambrose Catholic Parish in Brunswick. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

The statue is a symbol of peace for many Roman Catholics.

Between 850 and 900 people attended Mass and more than 100 people stopped before and after the Mass, said Carl Malburg, one of the statue’s caretakers.

Malburg said he has traveled with the statue for more than 20 years.

Patrick Sabat, who also travels with the statue, said the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, between May and October 1917, carrying a simple message: “Peace will come into the world by means of prayer.”

The statue was created by a Portuguese sculptor who heard the vision of Mary described by Lucia, one of the children, Sabat said.

Mary Vadini, president of the Legion of Mary at St. Ambrose and who coordinated the statue’s visit, said many people say they experience miracles in the statue’s presence. Vadini said Catholics do not worship Mary, but pray to her and believe she speaks to Jesus on their behalf.

Lisa Homady, a Liverpool Township resident and St. Ambrose parishioner, said she was pleased the statue visited her home church.

She described the experience of seeing it as “amazing” and “touching.” “You just feel completely blessed, very spiritual,” she said. “It makes you believe in miracles.”

The statue has toured 20 churches in Greater Cleveland.

The statue was blessed in Fatima on May 13, 1947, and has been traveling the world since.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.