World Apostolate of Fatima USA The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima
Located on 150 acres on the southern portion of Washington Township and Franklin Township is located the “National Blue Army Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”, a Catholic shrine dedicated to the message of Fatima. The shrine is located at 674 Mountain View Road, Washington NJ and is operated by the World Apostolate of Fatima USA. The facility contains a retreat center, shrine, chapel, 1,400 seat sanctuary, gift shop and gardens. The facility draws upward of 50,000 visitors a year and is officially recognized by the Catholic Church. The Blue Army is active throughout the United States with divisions in 70 dioceses and in 120 countries around the world.
It all began at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, when the Virgin Mary appeared to three illiterate shepherd children Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Her message to the children. was to adopt a lifestyle of prayer, reparation for sin and charity. In 1946 a Plainfield New Jersey parish priest (Harold Colgan) was cured of a terminal heart condition after he prayed to the Lady of Fatima He attributed his recovery to his prayers and began preaching to his congregation on a regular basis about the Fatima Message. To make a more lasting impression upon his congregation that “one should try to uphold the Fatima Message values” he wore a blue ribbon. After enrolling his entire congregation in 1947 and other parishes, he met with Pope Pius XII and received approval to continue and expand his preaching of Fatima thus officially starting THE BLUE ARMY OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA association.
At this writing it is unknown when and why the Washington property was acquired by the Blue Army association. However, since the early 1970’s a number of very important structures were built on the property. These include “The Blue Army Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”, “The Holy House Chapel” and a “Replica of the Chapel of Apparitions at Fatima (Capelinha)”.
“The Holy House Chapel” built in 1973 is an exact replica of the Holy House of Loreto, where Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived. Stones from the actual Holy House were pulverized and added to the mortar used to construct the Holy House U.S.A. Chapel. The chapel is the same size as the original Holy House and is similarly constructed.
In 1978 “The Blue Army Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” was built topped by a crown of twelve stars and in 1979 a 26 foot bronze statue weighing 6 tons was installed standing 145 above ground level overlooking the Musconetcong River valley. The statue was cast in a foundry in Florida and at the time was the largest bronze statue cast in the twentieth century. The right hand of the statue is holding Rosary beads and the left hand is holding a Scapular both made of stainless steel.
The “Replica of the Chapel of Apparitions at Fatima (Capelinha)” is an exact replica of the chapel built at Fatima, Portugal at the actual site of the 1917 Mother of God apparition.