Saturday, May 13, marks the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparition to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Pope Francis will visit Fatima May 12-13, a visit which will include the canonization of two of the three visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died only a few years after Mary appeared. Lucia dos Santos, the oldest of the seers, later entered the Carmelite order and died in February 2005. Her cause for beatification is currently underway.
Even though the apparitions occurred 100 years ago, the message of Fatima is as relevant as ever before. Mary appeared to the children asking them to pray the rosary and to pray for the conversion of sinners. She asked for devotion to her Immaculate Heart which would be an effective means to lead people to salvation in Christ.
It is fitting that Bishop Tobin has asked the entire diocese to dedicate this year in a special way to Mary, our Mother, for as the world frets over the possibility of nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula, and as tensions with Russia rise, the message of Fatima needs to be heeded more than ever. Recitation of the rosary for peace in the world (daily recitation if possible), devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and penance for the conversion of sinners are all spiritual acts that we can do to play our part in living Mary’s message.
May the message of Fatima be boldly proclaimed and lived as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of this most miraculous intervention from Heaven.