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Internationally Recognized Statue of Our Lady of Fatima Visits Elysburg Monastery

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RALPHO TOWNSHIP -- A statue of Our Lady of Fatima is on a historic journey across the country to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal.

The faithful believe that the Virgin Mary appeared to three young children several times in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal. On Friday, the statue was displayed at a church near Elysburg.

"She appeared to them and told them the war that was going on then, which was World War I, was going to come to an end, but unless some people repented and did God's will, an even greater war would break out which of course did happen," said Fr. John Szada.

Normally, there aren't too many visitors at Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Monastery near Elysburg  -- let alone a tour bus. But that's what happens when the internationally recognized statue of Our Lady of Fatima comes to the area, spreading the message of peace.

"I think we're on the verge of a meltdown," said Teresa Tracy of Lancaster. "That's why I'm here: to pray to her and ask for her help."

Harry and Candace Thomas drove all the way from Pottsville to see the statue. There's only a matter of hours and days left for Harry's mother, Jean, a devout Catholic who believes deeply in the Virgin Mary.

"It was perfect," said Thomas. "Perfect timing and through God, we think it's just one complete circle -- Mom, God and this showing up at that time. Can't ask for nothing better."

The statue started its trek across the United States this past March and will continue until December of 2017.

"We're just happy people were able to read about it," Szada added. "The statue is traveling around the diocese and there's a number of places where it'll be stopping, but we're very happy we were able to have her here."

The statue will visit 100 dioceses across the U.S. as a part of this centennial tour.