Our Lady of Fatima.


SEPTEMBER 25 is a historic moment in our town.

Pope Francis, also known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be arriving in New York City, for the first time, to address the United Nations General Assembly.

The Assembly is comprised of 193 Member States.

To handle all the preparations needed for the Pope’s address in the UN, Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza leaves no stone unturned to make it successful.

After all, Archbishop Auza is the new permanent observer of the Holy See to the UN.

He replaces Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, an Indian-born prelate.

A native of Bohol, Auza becomes the first Filipino to represent the Vatican before the UN.

The Philippine Information Agency said Auza was born in 1959 and underwent seminary training at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

Auza’s new job as permanent observer of the Holy See to the UN requires him to follow “attentively and with interest the work of the United Nations Organization.”

“In this forum, the Holy See Mission communicates the centuries’ experience of the Catholic Church to humanity, and places this experience at the disposal of the United Nations to assist in its realization of peace, justice, human dignity, and humanitarian cooperation and assistance,” said the official website of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN.

Archbishop Auza is also the main celebrant at the Eucharistic mass to be held on Sept. 5 at the National Blue Army Shrine of our Lady of Fatima at 674 Mountain View Road in Washington, N.J.

More than 8,000 people are expected to visit the Blue Army Shrine in Washington, N.J. to celebrate the 98th anniversary of the miraculous sightings of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal.

The Blue Army of our Lady of Fatima, officially known as The World Apostolate of Fatima, was founded in 1946 by Rev. Fr. Harold Colgan, parish priest of Plainfield, N.J.

During his illness, he prayed to our Lady of Fatima to extend his life.

He attributed his recovery to his prayers to the Virgin Mary and in return, dedicated all of his life to prayerful devotions to Our Lady of Fatima.

Every year, people flock to the uphill shrine hoping for a sign at the shrine.

One such sign is the “Miracle of the Sun.”

In the Oct. 12, 2007 issue of the The Star-Ledger, staff member Jeff Diamant wrote in an interview with Victoria Tancio, of Leonia, N.J.: “The colors changed mainly at the sun’s ring. It started from purple, to green, blue-ish, yellowy and orange. It appeared like a moon, and there was like a veil that covered it. It lasted like two minutes...While the color changes, the sun goes up and down, left and right. And it spins very fast. It was like pulsating.”

One time my wife and I joined the pilgrimage to this Shrine in Washington, N.J.

My 5-year-old granddaughter Eliana had the task of putting on the veil to the Blessed Mother before the start of the procession.

The church was packed to capacity.

During the mass, a woman with a little child beside her was just a little bit outside the church entrance when we heard her shouting.

People started coming out to check on her.

Outside she was pointing at the sun, “Look the sun is dancing.”

The church was almost emptied except for the officiating clergy, the choir and a dozen of parishioners.

I could hardly see because the glare is too much for my eyes.

Then I covered my eyes with my hand to deflect the sun’s glare and, yes, I could see the sun seemed to be spinning.

It’s like pulsating.

I asked myself what solar phenomenon is this?

To a believer like me, it is a miracle of the sun.

There are buses all over the town for those don’t want to drive to the Shrine.

One of the bus organizers is Victoria or Betty Tancio.

Tancio has been a recipient of many awards, Excellence in Community Service, a nominee for National Nurse Hero, Nursing Spectrum and American Red Cross, Vision in America Award, International Immigration Foundation, Award for Outreach Program for the Needy and Undeserved, and a host of other.

She received her BSN degree from San Juan De Dios College of Nursing, and MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

She is also a 2004 graduate of the Christian Foundation for Ministry, Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

As a gerontology clinician, she is a co-author of a chapter, “Caring for the Elderly with Urinary and Bowel Problems” in Home Care of the Elderly by Zang and Allender.

Vicky or Betty, as known to her friends and colleagues, is an indefatigable coordinator of many successful events.

To name a few, she was Hermana Mayor of the Sto. Nino Buklod Group in 1989-1990.

She has been credited with starting the Sto. Nino devotion in Bergen County in the late 1970s when along with a Filipino-American family from Jersey City, they started the house to house week-end novena.

The group first started as the Tambuli Group of New Jersey with the support of the Bautista family, relatives and friends.

Rev. Fr. Rody Osorio, parish priest of Ridgewood, N.J., then organized the first Sto. Nino Group, which he then named, as the Buklod — or a united association of Sto. Nino devotees.

Drs. Eduardo and Erlina Farcon, very close friends of Fr. Osorio, then recommended Victoria Tancio as its first Herman Mayor.

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