The eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the 7th of December, at the Formation House of the Aliança de Santa Maria, in Fatima, was a moment of great joy for us with the Consecration of our Chapel, a celebration presided by His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal António Marto.
During his homily, referring to the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal António Marto raised the question of what made her attractive to us, what might her power of attraction be. And in answer he stated that when we lift our gaze to her Motherly face “Immaculate and beautiful, we recognise the tenderness and the smile of God, the pure reflection of grace, of light, of the beauty of God, the beauty of a love that saves us, leaving us, as it does Her, in awe!”
This awe-inspiring beauty of God, is also the beauty of a celebration, it is the beauty of a space which becomes His home. A Chapel is undoubtedly for practical use, it serves for liturgical celebrations and moments of prayer, but more than this it is a symbol of a Church of living stones who gather in it. Thus, the celebration of the Consecration of the Chapel and the Altar is a celebration which reflects Christian initiation.
There were three main moments in the celebration: the first, reminding us of Baptism, was the blessing and the sprinkling of holy water; the second a reminder of Confirmation, with the anointing of the Altar with the oil of Chrism, leading us then to the Eucharist, the third moment of this rite.
As from that moment the tabernacle received and held the Body of Christ with the lighting of the lamp, which always signals the presence of Our Lord in the consecrated Host.
Adoration everyday during the whole day as well as one night per week will be the “hallmark” of this chapel. Adoration, which extends and prepares for the celebration of the Eucharist, our encounter with the Spouse. Since the Chapel is the symbol of a Church of living stones, it will always be the whole Church before the Blessed Sacrament. The whole of Humanity that, in each of the Allies in adoration, will be under the gaze of the Good Shepherd who unceasingly surrenders to the Father for each one in particular.
Together with Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, Patrons of this chapel, may the presence of Our Lord, with that light which on the 13th May 1917 streamed from the Our Lady’s hands, allow us to see ourselves in God and God in us, and may we with them understand Who is God, how He loves us and wants to be loved! (Cf. In Lucia’s Own Words)
Natália Rocha asm