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SOUTH END -- Around 400 tiny voices rose together to pray the rosary at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Oct. 7, during the 14th annual Worldwide Children's Eucharistic Holy Hour.
An international event begun by the World Apostolate of Fatima, the Children's Eucharistic Holy Hour encourages children to pray for peace and learn about Our Lady of Fatima.
Individual dioceses across the globe are invited to participate, and the Archdiocese of Boston, with the World Apostolate of Fatima in Boston, has been participating for the last 11 years.
This year's holy hour, held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, was presided over by Bishop Robert P. Reed, and saw an estimated 400 Catholic school children and children from homeschooling families attend.
As in past years, the local Fatima Apostolate extended invitations to students in grades 3, 4, and 5. Children in these grades are about the same ages as the three children of Fatima, Portugal were (7, 9, and 10) when they saw the first apparition of Our Lady in 1917.
The event began with a short procession as several children carried flags to the front of the cathedral. Other children carried a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which one child crowned.
During the holy hour, the children recited the rosary, sang songs, and learned about Our Lady of Fatima from Bishop Reed and Father Edward Riley, who serves as the spiritual director of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Boston.
The children were also able to participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The holy hour ended as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was processed out of the cathedral. As it processed, the children waved white handkerchiefs, a practice that originated in Fatima.
Karen Landers, a fifth grade teacher at St. Augustine School in Andover, attended the holy hour with her class.
She said the entire third, fourth, and fifth grades from the school were present, totaling around 150 students. Landers noted she has been coming to the holy hour for the last several years.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for our students to come together as a community to pray the Holy Rosary," she said.
Two 5th grade classes from St. Catherine of Siena School in Norwood were also present, and with them was chaperone Dympna O'Carroll.
"This was beautiful," she said.
The children were "very engaged, their voices were beautiful, and they were very respectful. It was lovely," said O'Carroll.