Ballykelly set to host Fatima Conference

The Our Lady of Fatima statue and relics of Saint John Paul II will be brought to Ballykelly. (Photos by Joseph Ferrara; Beyond Forgetting)
The Our Lady of Fatima statue and relics of Saint John Paul II will be brought to Ballykelly. (Photos by Joseph Ferrara; Beyond Forgetting)

A major conference to mark the centenary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima will take place in Ballykelly next month.

The Derry Diocese will be hosting the Fatima Centenary Conference for Northern Ireland at The Drummond Hotel in Ballykelly over Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9.

The children of Fatima (l-r) Lucia de Jesus Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

The children of Fatima (l-r) Lucia de Jesus Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

First class relics of St John Paul II will be brought to the conference, along with the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Saint John Paul II reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005, and was canonised at the end of 2013.

The conference is being organised in conjunction with WAF-I, the Pontifical Marian Academy, the Marian Institute, and the Mariological Society of Ireland.

The two day event will explore in detail the events of Fatima and its message to the world today.

Organiser William A. Thomas said: “For the many of whom will not be able to go to Fatima for the Jubilee- in this unique occasion Fatima will come to them.”

It is now 100 years since three shepherd children from the mountains of central Portugal reported that the Virgin Mary had appeared to them.

The children, Lucia de Jesus Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, said the Virgin appeared to them six times. Two of the children died shortly afterwards while Lucia became a nun. She passed away in 2005 aged 97. In her third memoir she revealed the children had been entrusted with information that has become known as the Three Secrets of Fatima.

Among those who will be arriving in Ballykelly for the conference are Fr. John Walsh, Prior, Black Abbey, Kilkenny and Professor Father Ailbe O Kelly, Professor of Theology at Newman College.

Also taking part will be Professor Father John Harris, Doctor of Sacred Theology at Newbridge College, Kildare and Professor William A. Thomas of the Pontifical Marian Academy of the People Saint John Paul II Institute of Marian Studies and President of the Mariological Society of Ireland.

Master of Ceremonies will be shared by Charles Wm. Foster and Caroline O Connor.

Entrance to the conference is £30 payable on registration.

Registration opens on the Friday at the Hotel Conference Centre from 4pm and on the Saturday from 8am.