CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.—October 14 will be a special day for parishioners at St. James the Greater Church in Charles Town. On that day, Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, will join Catholic faithful of the area to bless and dedicate the church’s new Our Lady of Fatima Shrine.
Thanks to the generosity of Tony Braddock, the shrine will honor the Blessed Mother for generations to come. “It is beautifully fitting that, at this time of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, we are building this shrine to Our Lady. I am so grateful to Tony Braddock for making this possible for our diocese,” Bishop Bransfield said. “I am fortunate that, at this stage of my life as bishop and former rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, there will be a tangible expression of Our Lady’s presence in West Virginia in this beautiful shrine standing beside this fantastic Church of St. James in Charles Town.”
Ground was broken for the shrine during a ceremony May 20, 2017. The shrine will feature a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary with statues of the three children of Fatima as its center. Other statues at the site will feature the Angel of Peace—who also appeared to the children at Fatima—and St. John Paul II.
The shrine will be enclosed with nearly three-foot wall featuring four semicircles—each representing the mysteries of the rosary. The shrine will also include bronze plaques with images of the Fatima apparition. The floor of the shrine will depict the rosary. Benches and landscaping features will also be included.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Bishop Bransfield thanked Tony Braddock and the Alfred and Barbara Braddock Foundation for their financial support and for making the project possible.