Fatima grotto installed, blessed at Cathedral

Fr. Adam Keiter, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, swings a thurible of incense during a blessing of a Fatima grotto Friday, Oct. 13. (Advance photo)

Fr. Adam Keiter blessed a new Fatima grotto Friday, Oct. 13, after the noon Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

The Marian shrine features a nearly five-foot-tall statue of Our Lady of Fatima and the statues of three kneeling children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The Carrara marble statues are located on a patio on the south side of the interior garden of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

Fr. Keiter said the grotto was installed to honor the namesake of the cathedral. “For over 100 years she’s been drawing people to her son, Jesus Christ.”

The grotto, like the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, helps strengthen one’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he said.

“Our Lady of Fatima has been in my thoughts a lot in the last few years because of her request that we pray the rosary, that we offer sacrifices for the conversion of hearts to her son Jesus,” he said. “So I think that’s a really beautiful thing in this day and age when it seems like we have less influence in the world. Nevertheless, our opportunity to pray for others is undaunted.”

With the situations around the world becoming more unstable, he said, “it’s a good time to lean into prayer. It’s always been good to lean into prayer, but I think nowadays it’s especially helpful.”

Fr. Keiter added that he hopes the space helps the faithful better encounter Our Lord and the Blessed Mother.

The Blessed Mother appeared from May 13 to Oct. 13, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, urging them to pray the rosary.