A little over six years ago, my family and I moved from Northern New Jersey (Passaic County) to Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Moving down here opened us to a brand new world of farm life in comparison to city life which was a welcome change. With that move came a wide variety of new places to see and visit. As part of this Catholic mom blog, I really wanted to venture out and explore the Catholic venues that are in my area. While there may be times where we go for longer adventures similar to our trip to the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, I realized that there are plenty of fascinating places to visit in and around my area.
It’s been on my heart to visit this beautiful location forever and I finally decided to pack up the kids and take the half hour trip to Washington, New Jersey and visit the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.
Who is Our Lady of Fatima?
Before I get into the details of our visit to the Blue Army Shrine, I thought that it may be helpful to cover who Our Lady of Fatima is, just in case you’re not familiar with this Marian title. Our Lady of Fatima refers to a title given to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, based on her apparitions in the town of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. According to the accounts provided by three young shepherd children—Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto—Mary appeared to them on the 13th day of each month from May to October 1917.
During these apparitions, Mary conveyed various messages to the children, including the need for prayer, repentance, and the devotion of the world to her Immaculate Heart. She also revealed three secrets to the children, which were later disclosed by Lucia. These secrets contained prophecies about future events, including the end of World War I, the rise and fall of communism, and an assassination attempt on a pope.
The events at Fatima gained widespread attention and attracted pilgrims from around the world. The miracles, such as the “Miracle of the Sun” witnessed by thousands of people, added to the significance of the apparitions. The messages and revelations associated with Our Lady of Fatima have had a profound impact on Catholic devotion and spirituality, emphasizing the importance of prayer, conversion, and devotion to Mary.
Today, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal is a major Catholic pilgrimage site, visited by millions of people each year. The message of Fatima continues to be celebrated and promoted within the Catholic Church, and the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima is observed on May 13th.
What is the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima?
Throughout the world, there are numerous locations that have a special dedication to Our Lady of Fatima. The National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is a Catholic shrine and retreat location which is run through the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.
When the kids and I first got here, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Yes, I had seen pictures of this location but I didn’t realize how big the property really was! When we pulled in, our main focus was on the shrine itself which features an outdoor church as well as a chapel named the “Blessed Sacrament Chapel”. Mass is held in this chapel every day at 12pm with the exception of Sunday during which time mass is held in the outdoor church.
The Rosary Garden at the Blue Army Shrine
Without question, one of my favorite parts of this beautiful shrine is the Rosary Garden. I’ve never seen anything like this before. There is a paved walkway throughout this garden which features a variety of statues dedicated to the different mysteries of the rosary. Not only that, but the pavement had markers on it representing the decades of the rosary which helped you to follow along with the rosary if you forgot your rosary beads. Amazing!
Running along the side of the rosary garden was a path which allowed you to meditate on the Stations of the Cross. We happened to go on a particularly beautiful day which made getting lost in all of the features of the Shrine that much easier. Even my kids, who tend to become easily distracted because of their age, were fascinated by everything that this shrine had to offer.
My Thoughts on My Journey To the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima
Since this venue is so close to where I live, I know for a fact that we will be going back, probably soon! The Shrine offers daily mass at 12pm as well as the opportunity to participate in confession with Eucharistic adoration immediately following mass. Not only is there something seemingly always going on at the Shrine but the location is, in a word, stunning. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to going back to the Shrine for mass but I would also love to take more videos and pictures and share them with everyone!