Our Lady of Fatima

(video of Latin mass


Following Vatican II, a number of Catholics were dissatisfied with the changes mandated in the Catholic tradition. The Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement was formed in response to that dissatisfaction. There was debate over whether the movement constituted a schism. In 1970 Pope John Paul II stated, “Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.” The Catholic Church ultimately decided that the movement did not constitute a schism, and therefore members cannont be excommunicated for participating churches affiliated with it. The Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement and its members assert that the new mass is unsound and is influenced by the Protestant tradition. Members believe in freemasonry, a modest way of dressing, and obedience to the Pope. Churches affiliated with the moment understand themselves to be practicing Catholicism its traditional, historic form.


In 1977 members of Our Lady of Fatima who were opposed to changes in the Catholic tradition learned of the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement. They then contacted the founder of the organization, Father Francis Fenton. Father Fenton  explained what membership in the movement entailed and agreed to give a traditional mass in Richmond. On May 1, 1977, Father Fenton came to Richmond and performed the first traditional mass since Vatican II. The mass was performed at the Airport Holiday Inn, with approximately 350 people in attendance. Our Lady of Fatima became an official parish on May 15, 1977. The congregation elected a council but had no church building. As a result, parishioners celebrated mass at various hotels and motels throughout Richmond but were not able to meet every weekend because there was not a permanent priest of the parish.  It was in 1988 when Father Joseph Terry Marks became the parish priest, a position that he held for 15 years until his death in 2003. Currently Father Gary Dilley serves as the parish pastor. Consistent with traditional Catholic faith, Our Lady of Fatima parishioners wear conservative clothing, and all of the women are required to wear veils when attending mass. The Chapel also holds a Holy Rosary service one hour before mass is held. All of the masses at Our Lady of Fatima are performed in Latin, with bulletins providing the English translation. There are approximately 100 members of the Chapel, with many parishioners traveling a considerable distance to attend mass. Our Lady of Fatima Chapel is now located on Future Avenue on the south side of Richmond. Although the church does not maintain any direct affiliation with the local Diocese or the Vatican, it does maintain a relationship with the Vatican through the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement.

Our Lady of Fatima
5217 Futura Avenue
Richmond, VA
(804) 222-3530 

Profile prepared by Sarah Aune
October, 2006