I was blessed to celebrate the centenary of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Lakewood, Colorado. The church has a special Holy Door and a second class relic from the coffins of Sts. Jacinta and Francisco. You can obtain a plenary indulgence by making a pilgrimage there this year. For the anniversary, the parish had a procession, rosary, Mass, and picnic. It was a beautiful celebration!
We have five months to celebrate Our Lady’s apparitions. Here are the dates of the apparitions in the year 1917, along with some selections of Our Lady’s messages:
May 13 – First apparition at Cova da Iria.
Our Lady said: “I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. . . . Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners? . . . Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war.”
June 13 – Second apparition.
Our Lady: “He wants to use you to establish in the world a devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.”
July 13 – Third apparition.
Our Lady: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often this prayer, especially during any sacrifice, ‘O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’” The children experienced a vision of hell, Our Lady asked for prayers for the conversion of Russia, and she gave the children the Fatima prayer we now say at the end of each decade of the rosary. She also related an important prophecy which we await: “But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
August 19 – The children were kept in prison so couldn’t be at the cove on the 13th.
When Mary appeared on the 19th she asked them to come again on the 13th of the following month: “I, in the last month will make the miracle that all will believe. . . . Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for the sinners. You know that many souls go the hell because there is none who pray for them.”
September 13 – Fifth apparition.
Our Lady: “I Want you to come here on October 13 and that you continue to recite the Rosary to obtain the end of the war.”
October 13 – Sixth and final apparition.
Our Lady: “I am the Lady of the Rosary, I desire here a chapel in my honor to be built, that people continue to recite the Rosary every day. . . . People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended!” Then the Miracle of the Sun occurred, during which not only Our Lady appeared, but also St. Joseph and Our Lord, both of whom blessed the world.
What can we do throughout these months of the centenary?
- The World Apostolate of Fatima, Our Lady’s Blue Army, is a good place to look for events throughout the coming months. The Blue Army in Denver is planning a Mass and rosary procession on the 13th of each month at different parishes.
- Pray the rosary more regularly, even daily, keeping in mind Our Lady’s intentions for conversion, penance, and peace.
- Begin the First Saturday Devotion, which Our Lady requested from Lucia on Dec. 10, 1925: I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess; receive Holy Communion; recite five decades of the Rosary; and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
- Embrace the practice of penance. Exodus 90 provides a great way to answer the call of Our Lady of Fatima for more prayer and penance. The centenary provides a fitting opportunity to form a fraternity with other men.