October 13, 2018, was the 101st anniversary of the last apparition of the Mother of God to the “three shepherds” of Fatima in Portugal.
On this occasion, during Mass in the diocesan Shrine of Pleven (Bulgaria), a new altar-triptych was blessed in the center of the presbytery. The authors of this work are: Margarit IVANOW, Atanas ATANASOV and Stanimir ZHELEV. The new triptych was placed amid a group of sculptures depicting the Mother of God together with the three children of Fatima, created by Professor Kirila MESKINA.
The triptych was blessed by the local ordinary, our confrere, the Most Reverend Petko CHRISTOV, O.F.M. Conv., Bishop of Nicopoli, Bulgaria. Friar Wiesław PYZIO, the Minister Provincial of the Province of the Immaculate Mother of God in Poland (Warsaw), was present. He gave a homily on the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Many guests from the country and abroad took part in the celebrations. Among them were Friar Jacek CIUPIŃSKI, the Assistant General for the Foederatio Europae Mediae et Orientalis (FEMO) and Friar Anton BULAI, the Custos of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, which belongs to the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania.
The participants’ prayers were directed toward the “Valley of Peace” (Cova da Iria) where the Mother of God, revealing herself to the three shepherds, asked for their total dedication to God and to her, their heavenly Mother. It was then that Divine Providence intervened in a special way to help a lost humanity by warning against the dangers of civilization without God. Many idols were pointed out that in various ways attempt to destroy man who is created in the image and likeness of God, Creator and Father.
A little over twenty years ago, Bishop CHRISTOV, OFM Conv., while on a pilgrimage to Fatima, had a heartfelt desire that the Bulgarian nation might profoundly know the message of Our Lady of Fatima. He decided to highlight this message in his diocese where-like the beating heart of a person-there might be a continuous call to conversion. Today there is a Conventual community and parish in this place. We pray, with strong faith and hope, that this shrine will become an open door to God’s graces for the Church in Bulgaria.
Friar Ventsislav NIKOLOV, Shrine Director