Dear Parishioners and  Visitors,

When visiting with us at St. Joseph’s Church, have you ever noticed how often people pray and light candles at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima? As May, Mary’s month, draws to a close, here’s something interesting about the rich and special history of the famous crown worn by Mary at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

It was crafted in 1942 by the Portuguese royalty’s own jewelers. Its materials were donated from the jewelry boxes of women throughout Portugal who donated gold and jewels to honor Our Lady of Fatima for her protection during the Second World War. Nearly 3,000 pearls and precious stones encrust the crown.

One gem, however, far outranks all the diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. With its dull, dark gray coloring and a simple almond shape, this gem doesn’t look like much – because it’s not a gemstone at all. It’s the bullet that struck Pope St. John Paul II. One year after the attempt on his life – May 13, 1981 – the Holy Father went to Fatima bearing the bullet as a gift for the Blessed Mother. Uncertain what to do with this unique token, the rector of the Shrine went to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and examined her crown. At the top, there was an empty space that just so happened to be the exact circumference of the bullet! It is set now as a permanent part of the treasured crown.

Pray for us, O    Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!

With prayerful best wishes,

Fr. John Mahoney