100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima
April 29, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
First I want to congratulate our 2nd graders who receive First Holy Communion this Sunday! This is a special occasion for us to praise God for the unfathomable gift of the Holy Eucharist!
In less than two weeks the Church of St. Michael will host a 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima conference. There will be talks by Fr. Altier and myself. Please find the schedule in this bulletin. I encourage all to attend. Over the next few weeks I will put in the bulletin the story of Our Lady of Fatima. The Story of Fatima is taken from https://wafusa.org. I encourage you to visit this website to learn more about Our Lady of Fatima and to see a 13 part video series on her messages.
The Story of Fatima
“The following account of the Story of Fatima is based on the booklet, “Lucia Speaks-The Message of Fatima,” -a condensed version of Sister Lucia’s Memoirs –published by The World Apostolate of Fatima-USA.
During World War I, Pope Benedict XV made repeated but forlorn pleas for peace, and finally in May 1917, made a direct appeal to the Blessed Mother to intercede for peace in the world. Just over a week later, Our Lady began to appear at Fatima, Portugal to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos, age 10, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto (siblings), ages eight and seven. At the time, Fatima was a small village about 70 miles north of Lisbon.
The Angel of Portugal
However, it was in the spring of the previous year, 1916, that the children had their first supernatural encounter as a means of preparing them for their meetings with the Queen of Heaven. As they were look-ing after the sheep one day they saw a dazzlingly beautiful young man, seemingly made of light, who told them he was the Angel of Peace. He invited them to pray with him.
Later on in the summer, the Angel again appeared to the children and encouraged them to pray and make sacrifices as a way of drawing down peace on their country. In the autumn the children again saw the Angel as they were looking after the sheep. He appeared before them holding a chalice in his hands, above which was suspended a host from which drops of blood were falling into the chalice. The Angel left the chalice suspended in the air and prostrated himself before it in prayer.
He then gave the host to Lucia to eat, and let Francisco and Jacinta drink from the chalice while saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Then he prostrated himself again in prayer before disappearing. The children did not tell anyone about these visits of the Angel, feeling an interior necessity to keep quiet about these events.
May 13, 1917
On May 13, 1917 the three children took their flocks out to pasture in the small area known as the Cova da Iria. After lunch and the rosary they suddenly saw a bright flash of something like lightning, followed quickly by another flash in the clear blue sky. They looked up to see, in Lucia’s words, “a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light more clear and intense than a crystal cup filled with spar-kling water lit by burning sunlight.” The children stood there amazed, bathed in the light that surrounded the apparition as the Lady smiled and said: “Do not be afraid, I will not harm you.” Lucia, as the oldest, asked her where she came from. The Lady pointed to the sky and said: “I come from heaven.” Lucia then asked her what she wanted. “I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.”
Lucia then asked if they would go to heaven and was told yes, she and Jacinta would go to heaven, but Francisco would need to say many rosaries first. The Lady then said: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?” Lucia, as spokesman for all three, readily agreed. “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
Lucia recounted that at the same moment as she said these words the Lady opened her hands and streamed a “light” on the children which allowed them to see themselves in God. The Lady finished with a request: “Say the Rosary every day to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.” With that she began to rise into the air, moving towards the east until she disappeared.
The children got together and tried to think of ways they could make sacrifices as the Lady had asked, resolving to go without lunch and to pray the full rosary. Francisco and Jacinta received more support from their parents than Lucia, but the attitudes of the local inhabitants ranged from skepticism to utter contempt, and the children thereby suffered many insults. They would have much to suffer, just as the Lady had told them.
June 13, 1917
About fifty people turned up at the Cova da Iria on June 13 as the three children assembled near the Holm oak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary as she spoke to Lucia: “I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”
Lucia asked Mary to take them to heaven and was reassured in this way: “I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly, but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it. These souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by me to adorn his throne.” This last sentence is found in a letter written in 1927 by Sr. Lucia to her confessor.
Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply and asked: “Am I to stay here alone?” Mary replied: “No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” One of the witnesses to this apparition, Maria Carreira, described how Lucia then cried out and pointed as Mary departed. She herself heard a noise like “a rocket a long way off,” and looked to see a small cloud a few inches over the tree rise and move slowly towards the east until it disappeared. The crowd of pilgrims then returned to Fatima where they reported the amazing things they had seen, thus ensuring that there were
between two and three thousand people present for the July apparition. Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul may our good Lord Jesus grant to us and the whole world His Mercy and Peace!
In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kasel
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