Dear Catholic.net Friends in Christ,
Our Marian Newsletter launches today. I’m sharing with you our first edition. I hope you enjoy it and subscribe not to miss the next editions. It’s free subscribe now: www.catholic.net/newsletters
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on revelations states:
CCC 66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ." Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.
CCC 67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
The Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain non Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".
Our Lady of Fatima - Feast Day on May 13
by Charles Mollenhauer
Portugal, once the most powerful and kingly nation of Europe, by the turn of the 20th century was a country which had taken the back seat in world politics and wealth. The once great universities, some of the first in Europe, were no longer the most sought after places of learning they once were, the government no longer played a major role in world politics, and no longer did many turn to them as a colonizing power.
In Europe, as a whole, during early years of the 20th century, there was much political and international unrest. Nations arguing with nations. Deep struggles within nations for the faith and allegiance of the people ensued. And all of this turmoil had broken out in armed conflicts and all-out war by 1914.
By the end of the World War in November of 1918, over 65 million men were involved, over 9 million had lost their lives fighting and in total over 15 million died, and millions more were wounded. Russia was going through their bloody revolution, the Bolsheviks gained control in October 1917, and at the hands of this future regime, over another 20 million lost their lives. Cities lay in ruin throughout Europe. High prices, inflation, and shortages of food and supplies loomed over most of the world. It was a time filled with deep loss, suffering, and little hope. Germany and the central powers were being punished by the allied powers for their actions during the war. Hundreds of thousands of children and families were without their parents and homes. And yet, even though the fighting had ended, in the middle of all the turmoil and pain, the stage was being set for another unimaginable still greater war….World War 2. (Over 60 million lost their lives in World War 2).
This is a simplification of the horrific historical stage in which the following events unfold:
May 13, 1917
On May 13, three small poor children in the countryside of Portugal, in an area called “Cova da Iria”, were tending to their sheep when a beautiful woman appeared to them. This was the first of many visits. The three children were Francisco Marto, 8, his sister, Jacinta Marto, 7, and their cousin, Lucia Santo, 10. This was not the first time the children had a heavenly visitor.
As early as the spring of 1916 and throughout that year, an angel visited them three times. The angel introduced himself as the “Angel of Peace.” On the first visit, the angel taught them to pray:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”
On the second visit, the angel taught them to sacrifice:
“In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for sinners. In this way you will bring peace to our country, for I am its guardian angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings God will send you.”
On the third visit, gave them Holy Communion:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
This was their preparation for their visitor on May 13, 1917. In all, a mysterious beautiful woman was to visit them 6 times, on June 13, July 13, August 19, September 13, and culminating on October 13.
Who was she? Why had she come? And what was her urgent message?
It is interesting to note, on her first appearance, the first thing she tells the children is something we read over and over again in the bible, a phrase John Paul II repeated many times to us during his papacy: “Do not be afraid…”
And then she asks them to come again, every month, for the next six months, when she will tell them who she is and “…what it is that I most desire.”
She told them during this first visit that they will suffer much and asked them to pray the rosary: “Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”
This first visit of the mysterious woman, of whom Jacinta would repeat over and over again “such a beautiful woman,” brought them incredible joy and happiness, and much anticipation too.
June 13, 1917
On June 13, the beautiful woman came back to visit them and told them again to pray the Rosary. She also taught them a new prayer to say at the end of every decade of the rosary:
“I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
She tells them more about who she is and what she wants: “Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”
As this was the second month of the visits, a few had begun to hear the stories about the first visit, many people were doubtful, and others had come to see what this “visitation” was all about. The general public was beginning to learn about the supernatural happenings in the Cova da Iria. It brought much doubt, questioning and suffering to the three little children.
July 13, 1917
On the third visit of July 13, again the mysterious lady asks the children to pray the Rosary for peace. This is the third time! She wants us to pray for peace! She also does now two additional things! She says she will tell them who she is in her visit in October, when she will give them a miracle so all may believe. She then opens up the earth and gives the three children a vision of hell, she explains it, and she gives them a prophecy, a secret which she asks them to keep:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. This war will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God, another and more terrible war will begin during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light [this occurred on January 28, 1938], you will know it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world with war and with hunger, and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.”
She also gives them hope: “But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace.”
August 13, 1917
On August 13, when the fourth visit was to take place, the children were kidnapped! The children were taken into custody, interrogated, threatened to reveal and recant everything. This went on for two days. Thus, the apparition never took place on the 13th as requested.
Nevertheless, the beautiful lady was able to modify her plan and instead appeared to them on the 19th. She tells them again of the miracle to come in October, she expresses the wish to have a chapel built on the site of the apparition, and she continues to ask them to pray.
September 13, 1917
Again, the children suffered much ridicule, jokes, and many things during these months. Nevertheless, when September 13 arrives 30,000 people also come for the apparition. The beautiful lady tells them again of October: “Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”
October 13, 1917
The night before and the morning of October 13 had brought much rain to the Cova da Iria. Along with the rain, came over 70,000 people to see the three children and the miracle the beautiful lady had promised. When the beautiful lady arrived, the sun was at the highest point in the sky. Again the conversation began with Lucia and the lady conveyed what she wanted and who she was, as promised:
“I want a chapel built here in my honor. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.”
“I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
And then, as promised, the miracle of the sun began for all of the 70,000 to see. During this miracle, the three children beheld St. Joseph and the Child Jesus with Our Lady in blue blessing the world, and then Our Lady of Sorrows with Jesus, and then Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
The 70,000, standing and watching on the muddy field, stood looking up to the sun, which was spinning, some say “dancing.” It began to descend on them growing immensely. It lasted anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and besides the 70,000 people present, people as far as 15 miles away saw “spectacular” things happening with the sun. When the miracle had ended, most of the 70,000 were on their knees, and the mud they knelt in, the mud they stood in, all of it was dry! They were kneeling and standing in dry ground!
The miracle was witnessed by many believers, many non-believers, and professed atheists. No one could deny the miracle had indeed happened! Others not present who chose not to believe made ridiculous claims of mass hallucinations, but no one can claim that for all of the 70,000 present! The miracle had happened!
In all, Our Lady of the Rosary had given the three children three secrets:
1. The vision of hell.
2. The end of World War I and the sign in the night sky and beginning of a new, more devastating World War (World War 2), along with the message of Russia spreading her errors throughout the world.
3. And the third dealt with a future Pontiff, who would suffer greatly and fall down as if dead. This message is taken to be understood as John Paul II, who in his great love for Mary, was to suffer greatly during his papacy and suffer the assassination attempt. Indeed, as the doctors said, John Paul II should have died, and it was a miracle itself that he survived.
Nevertheless, whether we choose to believe the visitation, the miracles, the secrets or not, we do have to believe in the message, because it is a message that Christ Himself in the Gospel has given to us: repent, pray, make sacrifices, love and honor God, turn away from sin!
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima Today
Today Fatima, and the shrine found there, is one of the most visited shrines in the world. There are many places for pilgrims to stay. They come all year long to visit the small chapel on the spot where the beautiful lady came to visit the small children. And every May and October the town and square around the chapel is alive with pilgrims who all come to see Our Lady of the Rosary! The evening before the 13th, many of the pilgrims participate in an evening candle-lit rosary procession around the square. In the morning they fill the square to pray the rosary, sing beautiful Portuguese songs in honor of Our Lady, and they wave little white handkerchiefs as the procession of Our Lady of the Rosary passes. The most moving is to hear and see the thousands and thousands of pilgrims singing beautiful hymns to Our Lady! And around the shrine there are many places to visit and see as well. The place where the Angel of Peace, the Guardian of Portugal, came to visit the children is such a peaceful and beautiful place. The museum of the history of the visitations and of Fatima is another. In the museum you can also find the original crown made for the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, in which John Paul II placed the bullet which almost killed him. Millions and millions have visited this blessed site since 1917, and millions and millions more have been touched and changed their lives because of the visit of the beautiful lady to three small poor children in the middle of a field.
The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated on May 13th!
| Place honoring the visit of the Angel of Peace.
|Candle-lit procession October 12, 2005.
|Procession of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 13, 2005.
|Cova da Iria today.
|Sister Lucia Santos (age 10, pictured in the middle) and her two cousins: Francisco (age 9) and Jacinta Marto (age 7) holding their rosaries. Fatima, Portugal.
FACT (from Zenit.org):
The most visited catholic shrines in the world are:
1. Virgin of Guadalupe, Patroness of all America, in Mexico City
2. San Giovanni Rotondo in the south of Italy, where Capuchin Padre Pio of Pietrelcina's body lies
3. Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil
4. Sacred Heart of Jesus, built on a hill in Montmartre, Paris
5. Czestochowa in Poland
6. Lourdes in France
7. Luján in Argentina
8. Fatima in Portugal
9. The basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Italy
10. Santiago de Compostela in Spain.