Where The Heart Is: Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal
Our Lady of Fatima Shrine (photo courtesy of Bambie Carlos)
How can three children bring millions of people to one little town in Portugal? The answer is because of the power of and the message from Our Lady of Fatima.
One hundred years ago, in 1917 during the Great War, three children from the town of Fatima, namely Lucia (10) Francisco (9) and Jacinta (7) were visited by “an angel of peace”, who was accompanied by a white and shining light, more brilliant than the sun, giving them three messages that would eventually change the world. Our lady’s message to the children includes a call to conversion of heart, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through praying the Rosary (Source: Catholic Culture). Read more on the Three Secrets of Fatima.
Between May and October of 1917, the three children witnessed several apparitions. The last one, on October 13, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 70,000 people known as “the day the sun danced”.
100 years of the same message of love
Since the first appearance of Our Lady of Fatima, on May 13, 1917, her message of love has constantly pointed to Jesus and His teaching.
The universal relevance of Our Lady of Fatima is clearly demonstrated by the number of pilgrims that visit her shrine everyday — 4 million pilgrims come from all over the world every year.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, the town prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from more than a hundred countries with countless pilgrimages preparing to kick off across five continents.
When faith multiplies miracles. A multitude of devotees at the Fatima Shrine during a service (photo courtesy of Turismo De Portugal Centro)
Being in Fatima, with so many other pilgrims sharing the same faith, makes you feel closest to the Lord with Mary our Mother who teaches us how to love Jesus. The entire pilgrim site provides a welcoming peaceful, and spiritual haven for all Christians.
Because of her message, which remains timely even after a century, Our Lady of Fatima brings many miracles of love and light that continue to shine and illuminate people’s lives.
Let the children come to me
A quote I particularly love and will always remember is,
“God has a history of using the insignificant to accomplish the impossible”.
Our Lady could have chosen countless “worthier” people to receive her messages.
But when our Lady wanted to tell the world to pray, repent, do penance,and live a devotion to her Immaculate Heart, she chose three shepherd children to receive her messages.
The example of how God worked through Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta wonderfully demonstrates Jesus’ words in Matthew 18: “Unless we become like little children we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven”.
This site with the three kids is where the angel appeared to them a few times. (Photo courtesy of Bambi Carlos)
Through their obedience, faithfulness, and witness to our Lady, the three children of Fatima constantly remind the world that it is only in prayer, penance, and action that we can continue to live for Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. And it is in living humbly and faithfully that we know that the Lord is always with us and that everything comes from him.
Pope Francis will be coming to celebrate Mass and canonize Francisco and Jacinta in Fatima on May 13. The diocesan phase of the canonization process for Sr. Lucia (she entered the Carmelite monastery in 1948) ended on Feb. 13, 2017.
Pope Francis will be the fifth ourth pontiff to visit the Marian shrine, following the footsteps of Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who each paid homage different years to Mary on the anniversary of the first apparition on May 13, 1917 (Source:CatholicNews).
Every day, thousands of pilgrims gather and pray by Our Lady of Fatima at the candle light Rosary every evening by the Fatima Shrine (Source: Fatima Sanctuary)
The simple things to live by
The Shrine of Fatima reminds us that our faith must constantly be celebrated and live out despite the reality that we will never be able to fully grasp its mystery.
Faith draws our heart to live with purpose and integrity. Loving and bringing people closer together is the most meaningful way to live one’s life just like the example given to us by the three children of Fatima.
The secrets of Fatima continue to guide the Church. It is a constant reminder to pray and offer good works to bring peace to the world. 100 years later, and after two World Wars, and countless other conflicts, which continue to this day, peace eludes us.
At its simplest level, how can we live in peace as Christians? Bro. Bo Sanchez in His Holy Week recollection shared:
“We can achieve peace by first living in gratefulness, humility and practicing love in all aspects.”
“May the message of their (Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta’s) lives always remain alive to shine on the path of Humanity”- Pope John Paul II.
May the first 100 years of the message of Our Lady of Fatima continue to bless you and inspire you to continue believing in the power of prayer, faithfulness, and love.
“My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. Pope Benedict XVI has interpreted this utterance as follows: “The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time (Source: Catholic News Agency)
Watch the Fatima 100th year anniversary Click here for the Fatima Coverage
Journey with Pope Francis in Fatima here
Beautiful articles on the miracles of Fatima