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Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and Soduyar Miriam Shrine in Fatima Village

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The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is a big feast for Nwalawo Parishioners here in Loikaw. There are two reasons why this feast is celebrated solemnly. The first reason is there is a village in the parish called Fatima, named after the city of Fatima in Portugal where Our Lady appeared to the three children. As May 13this the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the villagers also consider this day as their feast. The second reason is the local people here believe that there were apparitions of  Mary on the Soduyar Hill between 2013 and 2015 (though the Local Ordinary has not officially approved these apparitions). After some reported apparitions, a big statue of Mary was set up on that hill in 2014. 

From 2014 onward, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima has been celebrated solemnly. And the Miriam Shrine on the Soduyar Hill (which is located just next to Fatima village) has slowly become a pilgrimage site for the devotees of Mary. With the donations received every year from the devotees of Mary, the Friars in Loikaw and their parishioners have been trying to develop the shrine and have been improving the road to the site year by year. The shrine is now accessible more easily and there are already some shelters on the hill. With the guidance and care of the Friars in Loikaw, this Soduyar Miriam Shrine has gradually become a popular pilgrimage place for the devotees of Mary. Year after year the devotees of Mary are increasing. In 2014, there were only around one thousand faithful who came to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on the Soduyar Hill. Year by year the devotees increased in thousands.

This year, there were more than five thousands of devotees of Mary who turned up for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Bishop Emeritus Sotero Phamo presided over the mass and 26 priests concelebrated with him. There were also about one hundred religious sisters who came to join the celebration. Every year, a parcel of meal was offered to anyone who came for this occasion. However, this year, there were so many people that the ready-packed meals were not enough for everyone. But still, it was a joyful occasion for everyone.

Fr. Moses Dereh, OP - Myanmar