Over the years, Martina Weed has taken part in many devotions to the Virgin Mary. Yet in early 2004, her piety was raised to a whole new level when she saw the movie “The Passion of the Christ” for the first time.
While she acknowledged that the graphic portrayal of Christ’s suffering was hard to watch, Weed was also deeply moved by Mary’s silent anguish.
“The emotional torment our Blessed Mother went through — that has remained with me. She was put in the background in the movie, and I brought her to the front in my life,” said Weed, a parishioner of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick in Tioga County. “It wasn’t until I saw ‘The Passion’ that I realized the true sufferings Our Lady went through for the love of her son.”
Based on her deep prayer life with Mary, it was fitting that Weed was approached by a national Marian group, America Needs Fatima, about hosting a special evening of devotion. The organization regularly circulates around the country statue replicas of Our Lady of Fatima as part of its promotion of the Fatima message, stemming from apparitions of Mary to three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Weed recalls that a Fatima statue presentation was held by St. James Church in Waverly a few years ago “and I was very impressed with it.” This past summer, America Needs Fatima contacted Weed to see if she’d be interested in doing the same.
“They sent me a postcard and said they were going to be in the area and had a few time slots open, and would I like to be part of it. I prayed on it, and said ‘I’m going for it,'” Weed recalled.
On Aug. 5, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to the Waverly home of Weed and her husband, Gerald. Approximately 50 people attended — parishioners of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick as well as many devotees from northern Pennsylvania.
The statue was transported by two representatives from America Needs Fatima, Norman Fulkerson and John Carlose. The evening began with a procession and crowning of the statue. Fulkerson and Carlose then conducted a question-and-answer session and presented a 20-minute film on Fatima. Many people then made individual prayers in front of the Fatima statue. Weed noted that some attendees were seriously ill, and others sought to go to confession.
Finally, Father Thomas Watts, the retired pastor of St. James Church, led the rosary. Weed said she gave away rosaries to anyone who wanted them, and that Fulkerson and Carlose sold some religious items.
Weed is active in the Altar and Rosary Society at St. James and is looking forward to a Living Rosary at the church in October — a month in which the Catholic Church puts special emphasis on Marian devotion, particularly with the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7.
Eventually, Weed hopes to have the Fatima statue return to her home.
“I’d do it next week, I would. I got so many graces for it,” she said. “It was more than an honor to have Our Lady’s Virgin statue in our home. It renewed my spirituality, and graces are still flowing in our family.”
“I have no doubt in my mind that for our prayers to be answered according to God’s will, it is through the rosary,” she added, stating that the Blessed Mother “has a bond with her son that we cannot fathom.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more details about America Needs Fatima and its umbrella organization, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, visit www.tfp.org.