A statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the patron saint of Keyport's Our Lady of Fatima Parish. John Batkowski photo
A statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the patron saint of Keyport's Our Lady of Fatima Parish. John Batkowski photo

A Shore-area parish named for the Blessed Mother will honor her with a public procession and the recitation of a bilingual candlelight Rosary.

“We want to bring Our Lady to our community to pray with us, to rejoice with us and to connect with us,” explained Cathy Strauss, pastoral ministry assistant in Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Keyport, host of the Oct. 13 event that begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Jesus the Lord Church worship site. Faithful will remain in their vehicles throughout the event, thus enabling them to participate in a socially distant manner.

Strauss continued, “It is very important to bring our community together through this pandemic. Many parishioners have returned to our parking lot Mass, as well as our indoor Mass. But we still have many [others] who are afraid to come out.”

After assembling at the parking lot of Jesus the Lord Church (123 Broad St.), the procession will commence at 7 p.m. Led by a truck laden with roses and transporting a large cross, the procession will journey through the streets of Keyport to St. Joseph Church, located at 360 Broadway. Faithful will be accompanied by a car transporting the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Upon arrival at the St. Joseph Church parking lot, Our Lady of Fatima pastor, Father Renè Pulgarin, will lead the recitation of the Rosary in English and Spanish. Participants are invited to submit prayers of thanksgiving or requests to the Virgin in a prayer offering box, and they will be symbolically burned in an offering to Mary.

The procession comes after an initiative by Bishop David. M. O’Connell, C.M., for faithful to pray the Rosary from mid-August to Oct. 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The event is the culmination of a month of Marian praise and worship events by the parish, which included Masses; weekly praying of the Rosary on their Facebook page; anointing of the sick and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and an outdoor showing of the new “Fatima” movie. No matter the medium, the message of faith remained the same, Strauss noted.

“Father Renè closes every Mass and daily reflection with a message to our parishioners, which is to stay connected to God, to the Church and to one another,” she said, “and that is what we want to do with this procession.”