Marian Festival a Timely Reminder to Pray to Mary for Peace

MarianFestival 2The Marian Festival has been held annually in Bendigo since 1974 to mark the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on 13 October 13, 1917; and to emphasise and put into practice Our Lady’s instructions for world peace.

Bishop Shane Mackinlay spoke of Our Lady’s role as the Mother of God and how she humbly accepted the role of Mother of Jesus so willingly, after she had been preparing to marry Joseph. Bishop Shane paralleled the Gospel of the day (Mark 10:17-30) with the rich man who, although hearing Jesus say to him “Go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor … then come follow me”; could not give up everything to follow Jesus. Mary, however, was prepared to do exactly what God asked of her. She sacrificed many things to become the Mother of Jesus, Mother of God and Mother of the church. Mary is also our mother who can help us to fulfil our role as followers of Jesus.

Bishop Shane crowned the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and recited the prayer of Entrustment and the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Father Stephen Bolling led the Rosary and Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his reflection Fr Bolling spoke of the role of the Immaculate Heart in today’s world. Emphasizing her message to pray for peace in our world.

Fr Bolling pointed out that although 13 October was the 104th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, it is instructive to reflect on another recent annivesary. 7 October was the 450th Anniversary of the Victory of the Battle of Lepanto in which Christians engaged in battle against the Ottoman Turks, who had been conquering all before them, defeating cities and enslaving or killing all who opposed them. Pope Pius V realised all would be lost for Christendom if a campaign of prayer and penance was not undertaken. He called upon all Christians to pray the Rosary and do penance and assembled a Holy League of Christian forces. Under the leadership of Don Juan these forces won an overwhelming and miraculous victory at Lepanto where their success was so obviously the result of Our Lady’s intercession.

Like Pius V, who instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we must realize that we need to engage the aid of Our Holy Mother Mary to overcome forces of evil by prayer and penance. Father Bolling added that we may not be involved in a military battle, but we need to appeal to the Immaculate Heart for assistance in the battle of ideas and faith which are escalating in our time, so that eventually the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the promised era of peace can be achieved.

Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament completed the beautiful tribute to Our Lady, with magnificent organ played by Dr Paul Taylor, who also planned and directed the music, and the superb voice of Joanne Bonazza throughout the entire afternoon.

What relevance do Our Lady’s apparitions to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 have for the world today?

We see Our Lady’s warnings coming to fruition in the world today and so it is even more important to heed her requests for prayer and penance. However, despite the persecutions she foretold, Our Lady promised that her Immaculate Heart will ultimately triumph and there will be an era of peace in the world.

The Marian Festival can still be viewed online at

In 2022, the Marian Festival will be held on 9 October.