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Event celebrates longtime tradition in community
For Theresa Martin, celebrating Mother's Day every year is more than a way of celebrating mothers. It's also a way to celebrate her heritage.

In downtown Brunswick, Martin's family began celebrating Our Lady of Fatima, a Portuguese tradition, on Mother's Day 74 years ago.

Martin was 8 years old when it started and has only missed one in her lifetime.

"My mother started it when I was a child," Martin said. "She started the tradition for Portuguese families here and it's been carried through four generations since."

As the daughter of Portuguese shrimpers and a part of the Little Portugal community in the mid-20th century, Martin said the celebration has been dear to long-time families in the community.

Celebrating Our Lady of Fatima, the patron saint of Portugal, commemorates the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children near the town of Fatima on May 13, 1917.

Commemorating the event here was done for other members of Portuguese families who came to live and work as shrimpers and fishermen in the early 1930s.

Today, the celebration is kept alive through St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and dedicated generations of families like Martin's.

"To think that this has been around here for 74 years ... it's just beautiful for everyone to see," Martin said. "We're just trying to keep it alive for the families here and for the city."

The wooden statue of Fatima is adorned with red and white flowers to represent living and deceased mothers. Carried by eight members of Knights of Columbus, the statue is displayed in a procession around Hanover Square across from the church.

The procession will follow the 11 a.m. Mass Sunday. The statue of Fatima will be crowned and then carried outside.

At 3 p.m., it will be taken to Mary Ross Waterfront Park where the Rev. Willfrid Logsdon will bless the shrimp boat Miss Lupe.

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