About the Bendigo Marian Festival

About the Bendigo Marian Festival

Since 1977, the Marian Festival has been celebrated every year in the Bendigo area as a special day of prayers and devotions in honour of Our Lady of Fatima. It has taken place at different Churches in the Bendigo area over the years, but in the 1990s it was moved to Sacred Heart Cathedral and in 2001 it was made an official event of the Sandhurst diocese by Bishop Joseph Grech. Since then the festival has always included a procession around the Cathedral, praying of the Rosary and the crowning of the statue of Our Lady. The festival has grown in size over time and in recent years hundreds have come from all over the Sandhurst Diocese as well as from Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong.

The festival is run by the Bendigo Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima, which is the local branch of the worldwide movement. The work of the Apostolate is to promote devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the messages she gave at Fatima. At Fatima in 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children and spoke to them. She exhorted us to pray and offer up sufferings for the salvation of poor sinners, and in reparation for offenses against her Immaculate Heart. She also warned of very difficult times to come for the world and the Church, but promised that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. To face these challenges, she asked us to entrust ourselves and the world to her, especially through praying the Rosary and the First Saturday Devotions.

In Bendigo, the Apostolate consists of a small number of lay faithful from several Bendigo parishes. In particular, John and Wilma McCormack have been a driving force for the festival every year and for Apostolate since it was first founded in Bendigo in 1974 when John was elected as the inaugural President.

Especially in these challenging times, we need to turn to the Blessed Virgin for strength and consolation. At Fatima, Our Lady revealed that these times would be extraordinary, and that Our Lord had placed especially in her hands the remedy against, and final triumph over, the sin and error that has spread and become embedded in our modern world. As we navigate these confusing times and stormy waters, there is nothing safer and surer than turning to Our Lady, the Star of the Sea. Please join us in honouring Our Blessed Mother and entrusting into her hands our diocese, our nation and our world at the Marian Festival.

Fr Stephen Bolling, Chaplain to the Bendigo Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima