Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fatima

Along with Lourdes and Guadalupe, Fatima is the most visited country as far as religious pilgrimages are concerned. And as if to further accentuate its importance in history, May 13, 1917 was replicated in 1981 for a moment of importance, although in a negative way. On that day Pope John Paul II was shot inside the Vatican Square and almost died. But he recovered enough to make a pilgrimage a year later on May 13, 1982, to thank the Blessed Mother for her intervention in saving his life.
But very much like Lourdes and Guadalupe, the quietness of these small little villages was turned upside down when the Blessed Mother appeared to 3 young children, Francisco and his sister Jacinta Marto, and Lucia dos Santos. Nobody would believe them at first, and they were almost imprisoned for fabricating lies. But eventually, religious leaders, priests and bishops in Fatima, Portugal investigated the whole story and found it to be true, with the Vatican officially proclaiming that the apparitions were believable. Francisco and Jacinta died shortly afterwards, but Lucia became a nun and lived into the third millennium in a monastery in Portugal, being visited by 2 Popes. 

Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia in 1917
A huge basilica was built on the spot where the Blessed Mother appeared to the children, encouraging them to pray the Rosary, and pray for the conversion of souls. She even gave the children some well-kept secrets, which were only shown to the reigning Popes, but we know now that they spoke about the conversion of Russia and other tragic events that took place over the years, and other historic events which were predicted, like the end of World War I. Thousands of pilgrims visit Fatima every year, and the devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary spread far and wide. The prayer that is said between each decade of the Rosary was devised after the Fatima apparition: O my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who have most need of thy mercy.

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