History of the Appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal
On 13 May 1917, three children were pasturing their little flock in the Cova da Iria, parish of Fatima, town of Vila Nova de Ourém. today the diocese of Leiria-Fatima. They were called: Lucia de Jesus, aged 10, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, aged 9 and 7.
About midday, after praying the Rosary, as was their custom, they were amusing themselves building a little house of stones scattered around he place where the Basilica now stands. Suddenly they saw a brilliant light, and thinking it to be lightning, they decided to go home. But as they went down the slope another flash lit up the place, and they saw on the top of a holmoak (where the Chapel of Apparitions now stands), “a Lady more brilliant than the sun”, from whose hands hung a white rosary.
The Lady told the three little shepherds that it was necessary to pray much, and she invited them to return to the Cova da Iria during five consecutive months, on the 13th day at that hour. The children did so and the 13th day of June, July, September and October, the Lady appeared to them again and spoke to them in the Cova da 0a. On the 19th of August, the apparition took place at Valinhos, about 500 meters from Aljustrel, because on the 13th the children had been carried off by the local Administrator to Vila Nova de Ourém.
At the last apparition, on October 13, with about 70,000 people present, the Lady said to them that she was the “Lady of the Rosary” and that a chapel was to be built there in her honor. After the apparition all present witnessed the miracle promised to the three children in July and September :the sun, resembling a silver disc, could be gazed at without difficulty and, whirling on itself like a wheel of fire, it seemed about to fall upon the earth.
Afterwards, when Lucia was a Religious Sister of Saint Dorothy, Our Lady appeared to her again in Spain (10 December 1925 and 15 February 1926, in the Convent of Pontevedra, and on the night of 13/14 June 1929, in the Convent of Tuy), requesting the devotion of the five first Saturdays (to pray the Rosary, meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, confess and receive Holy Communion, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary), and the Consecration of Russia to the same Immaculate Heart, This request had been announced by the Apparition on 13 July 1917, in what is called the “Secret of Fatima”.
Years later, Sr. Lucia related that, between April and October of 1916, an Angel had appeared to the three seers on three occasions, twice in the Cabeço and once at the well in the garden behind Lucia´s house, who exhorted them to prayer and penance.
Since 1917 pilgrims have not ceased to come to the Cova da Iria in thousands upon thousands from all parts of the world, at first on the 13th of each month. later during the summer and winter holidays, and now more and more at weekends and any day all the year round.
The Message of Fatima
It was lived, to a heroic degree, by the three Little Shepherds.
The Message of Fatima, which is that of the Gospel, emphasizes the following points:
– permanent conversion;
– prayer, and namely the Rosary;
– the sense of collective responsibility and the practice of reparation.
The acceptance of the Message brings with it Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is a symbol of commitment to faithfulness and to the apostolate.
The prayers taught in Fatima by the Angel and by Our Lady help us to live the Message which, as Pope John Paul II said, means conversion and living in the grace of God. (Fatima 1982).
PRAYERS OF THE ANGEL
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You!”
“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 ali the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”
PRAYERS TAUGHT BY OUR LADY
Sister Lucia relates in the 4th Memoir that, on 13 July 1917, Our Lady recommended:
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
In the same apparition, Our Lady added: “When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery:
“O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead ali souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we consecrate ourselves, in an act of total entrustment to the Lord.
By You we will be led to Christ. By Him and with Him we will be led to the Father.
We will walk in the light of faith, and we will do everything so that the world may believe that Jesus Christ is the One sent by the Father.
With Him we wish to carry His Love and Salvation to the ends of the earth.
Under the protection of your Immaculate Heart, we will be one People with Christ. We will be witnesses of His Resurrection. By Him we will be led to the Father, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, Whom we adore, praise and bless forever. Amen.