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In 1917 Our Lady appeared five times to three children, Lucia dos Santos and her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, in the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. The first apparition was on 13 May when she said that she would appear on the 13th of the next consecutive 5 months. The children were kidnapped over the 13th August, so she appeared to them on 19th August instead, and after her final apparition on 13th October there was, as Our Lady had promised, a sign given - the miracle of the sun. Francisco and Jacinta both died very young, Francisco in 1919 aged 10 and Jacinta in 1920, aged 9. Lucia became a nun and met with Paul VI and John Paul II during their pilgrim visits to Fatima. She died in 2005, aged 98.

Pope St Paul VI was a pilgrim to Fatima in 1967, for the 50th anniversary of the apparitions. The assasination attempt on Pope St John Paul II in St Peter's Square was on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13 May 1981 (one of the bullets is now in the crown on Our Lady's statue in Fatima). JPII came to Fatima in 1982 to thank Our Lady for saving his life, again in 1991, and then in the Jubilee Year 2000 for the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta. Pope Benedict XVI was a pilgrim to Fatima in 2010 and Pope Francis for the 100th anniversary of the first apparition during the Holy Year in 2017, when Francisco and Jacinta Marto were canonised saints.

3 2us on Our Lady of Fatima by Monsignor Leo Maasburg     

"The angel asked the children in Fatima if they were ready to go out and they say yes, we are ready to face the sufferings of this world which nobody can avoid. On 13th May 1981 another great person had to suffer and that was Blessed John Paul II. And I happened to be at St Peter's Square when, in the evening, hundreds and thousands of people gathered just to pray. There were candles on the ground where he had been shot and he was in hospital. We were praying the rosary there. Suddenly you could hear a strong clicking noise and the loud speakers were switched on in St Peter's Square. And after a long time, maybe 10 minutes, you could hear a very heavy breathing, very slowly, and already the word spread that this was a broadcast from the room of the Holy Father in hospital. And then a very, very slow, a real suffering voice came across "Totus tuus ego sum." A long silence; it took him I guess at least 3 minutes to pronounce these words. And then he said "I have forgiven the man who made an attempt on my life." I believe this is exactly what the message of Fatima wants to tell us: are we ready to offer our lives, are we ready to offer our sufferings, in order to be able to forgive?"

(Recorded for 13 May 2011 - 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on John Paul II)

Mekaela, from London       
"When I was about 10 I went to Fatima and I couldn't speak, and the doctors thought I was disabled and how my dad paid for me to see like helpers and things like that. I remember the evening when we went to Fatima for like the pilgrim thing with my aunt, I went and lighted a candle for Our Lady, and I cried. When I woke up, I was speaking and I was reading and like everybody was shocked. So I went to the doctors and they asked like what happened and my mum said 'She asked Mary and Mary interceded for her.' So this is kind of like my connection with Mary."

Teresa, from the UK      
"I was in Fatima with my husband and we were sitting at the shrine and I had a sense that Our Lady was standing beside me; very powerful. And in fact I had felt very conscious that something would happen when we were making the journey to Fatima. And I believe she said to me "Teresa, pray the rosary and you will know me." Now, most of my life I've had tremendous difficulty in saying the rosary and I just felt this was a tremendous indication from Our Lady the significance of saying the rosary, how it can transform lives, and can actually bring a unity to the Catholic Church. If the rosary is said on a daily basis, we will certainly grow and Our Lady will protect us at all times."

Papa John Paul II's reflection on his Jubilee pilgrimage to Fatima
General Audience, Wednesday 1i7 May 2000 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dearest Brothers and Sisters!
1. Today I would like to reflect with you on the pilgrimage to Fátima, which the Lord gave me to accomplish/make last Friday and Saturday. The emotions I experienced/felt still live in me. I can see the immense crowd gathered on the esplanade in front of the Shrine, on Friday evening at my arrival, and especially on Saturday morning for the beatification of the two little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta. A crowd exuberant with joy and, at the same time, capable of creating moments of absolute silence and intense recollection.

My heart is full of gratitude: for the third time, on the recurrencce of 13 May, the date of the first apparition of Our Lady at the Cova da Iria, Providence granted me to go on pilgrimage to the feet of the Virgin, there where she showed herself to the three little shepherds, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, from May to October in 1917. Lucia is still alive and once again I had the joy of meeting her.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Bishop of Fátima and to the entire Episcopate of Portugal for the preparation of this visit and for the warm welcome. I also renew my greetings and gratitude to the President, the Prime Minister and the other Portuguese authorities for the attention they showed me and for the commitment they made to the success of this apostolic pilgrimage.

2. As in Lourdes,
(also) in Fatima the Virgin chose children,  Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, as recipients of her message. They welcomed it so faithfully that they merited not only to be recognized as credible witnesses of the apparitions, but also to become themselves an example of evangelical life.

Lucia, the
slightly older (and still living/) cousin (/who is still alive), has given significant portraits/descriptions of the two new blesseds. Francisco was a good, thoughtful child with a contemplative soul; while Jacinta was lively, rather sensitive, but very sweet and loving. Their parents had educated them in prayer, and the Lord himself atrracted them more closely to himself, through the apparition of an angel who, holding in his hands a chalice and a host, taught them to unite themselves to the Eucharistic sacrifice in reparation for sins.

This experience prepared them for the subsequent meetings with Our Lady, who invited them to pray assiduously and to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. With the two little shepherds of Fátima the Church has proclaimed Blesed two very young children because, although they were not martyrs, they demonstrated that they lived the Christian virtues to a heroic degree, despite their young age. The heroism of children, but true heroism.

Their holiness does not depend on the apparitions but on the fidelity and commitment with which they responded to/ the singular gift treceived from the Lord and from Mary Most Holy. After their encounter with the angel and with the beautiful Lady, they recited the rosary many times a day, offering frequent penances for the end of the war and for souls most in need of divine mercy, and they felt an intense desire to "console" the Heart of Jesus and that of Mary. Furthermore, the little shepherds had to bear/endure the great pressures of those who pushed them,
with force and terrible threats, to renounce everything and to reveal the secrets received. But they encouraged each another, trusting in the Lord and in the help of "this Lady", about whom Francisco said:  "She is our friend." For their fidelity to God, they constitute a luminous example, for children and adults, of how to conform in a simple and generous way to the transforming action of divine grace.

3. My pilgrimage to Fátima was also an opportunity to thank Mary for what she wished to communicate to the Church through these children and for the protection she has given me throughout my Pontificate:  a thanks which I wanted to renew to her symbolically with the gift of the precious episcopal ring that Cardinal Wyszynski gave me a few days after my election to the See of Peter.

Since the time seemed right to me, I thought it appropriate to make public the content of the so-called third part of the secret.

I am happy to have been able to pray in the Chapel of the Apparitions, built on the spot where the "Lady shining with light" appeared several times to the three children and spoke to them. I gave thanks for all that God's mercy has wrought in the 20th century through the motherly intercession of Mary. In the light of the apparitions of Fátima, the events of this tormented historical period become remarkably eloquent. It is not difficult, then, to have a better understanding of all the mercy God has shown to the Church and to humanity through Mary. We can only thank him for the courageous witness of the many heralds of Christ who remained faithful to him, even to the sacrifice of their lives. Here I would also like to recall the children and adults, the men and women who, following the instructions of the Blessed Virgin at Fátima, have offered prayers and sacrifices everyday, especially through penance and the recitation of the Holy Rosary. I would like to remember them all and give thanks to God.

4. A message of conversion and hope has spread from Fátima throughout the world, a message which, in conformity with Christian revelation, is deeply rooted in history. It invites believers, on the basis of their lived experiences, to pray fervently for peace in the world and to do penance so that hearts may be opened to conversion. This is the true Gospel of Christ, which is presented anew to our generation particularly tried by events of the past. God's appeal to us through the Blessed Virgin still retains all its timeliness today.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us receive the light that comes from Fátima:  let us be guided by Mary. May her Immaculate Heart be our refuge and the way that leads us to Christ. May the blessed shepherd children intercede for the Church, so that she can continue courageously on her earthly pilgrimage and proclaim the Gospel of salvation with constant fidelity to all mankind!"

Prayer to Our Lady

Pope Benedict XVI - 12th May 2010
- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Our Lady, Mother of all men and women,
I come before you as a son visiting his Mother,
and I do so in company with a multitude of brothers and sisters.
As the Successor of Peter, to whom was entrusted the mission
of presiding in the service of charity in the Church of Christ
and of confirming all in faith and in hope,
I wish to present to your Immaculate Heart
the joys and hopes as well as the problems and sufferings of each one of these sons and daughters of yours
who are gathered in the Cova di Iria or who are praying with us from afar.

Mother most gentle, you know each one by name,
you know each one’s face and personal history, and you love them all
with maternal benevolence that wells up from the very heart of Divine Love.
I entrust and consecrate them all to you, Mary Most Holy,
Mother of God and our Mother.

Pope John Paul II, who visited you three times here in Fatima
and thanked the “unseen hand” that rescued him from death
in the assassination attempt on 13 May in Saint Peter’s Square almost 30 years ago,
wanted to offer to the Shrine of Fatima a bullet which gravely wounded him
and was placed in the crown of the Queen of Peace.
It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned
not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes,
but also with the “bullet” of our anxieties and sufferings.
I thank you, beloved Mother,
for the prayers and sacrifices that the shepherd-children of Fatima offered for the Pope,
led by the sentiments that you inspired in them in the apparitions.
I also thank all those who, every day,
pray for the Successor of Peter and for his intentions,
that the Pope may be strong in faith, bold in hope and zealous in love.

Beloved Mother of us all,
here in your Shrine at Fatima I consign the Golden Rose that I have brought from Rome
as a homage of gratitude from the Pope for the marvels that the Almighty has worked through you
in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims to this your maternal home.
I am sure that the shepherd-children of Fatima, Blessed Francisco and Jacinta
and the Servant of God Lucia of Jesus, are united with us at this hour of prayer and jubilation.

Timothy, from England       
"I fell in love with Our Lady at Fatima and the beautiful manifestation of her Immaculate Heart which Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, said was given to the world in order to save it. And that’s what she said at Fatima, that’s why the children saw the vision of hell: not to frighten them but to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart because God wants to save them from that terrible loss of Himself through that devotion. So this is the centre of the meaning of Fatima. Can you imagine anything more beautiful? It's the Immaculate Heart of Mary alongside the Sacred Heart of her divine Son. When the request came for the consecration of Russia there was a vision of the Holy Trinity. Lucia was in the chapel, she saw the Trinity, she saw Jesus on the Cross, she saw the Precious Blood coming out of his side into a chalice suspended in the air and from his left arm came down the words 'Grace and Mercy' and on the altar Our Lady was standing there displaying her Immaculate Heart. And she said, on 13 June 1929, 'The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to consecrate the world, Russia, to my Immaculate Heart.'"

Address regarding the 'third part' of the secret of Fatima

by Cardinal Angelo Sodano at the conclusion of Mass, 13th May 2000
- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord ... On the solemn occasion of his visit to Fatima, His Holiness has directed me to make an announcement to you. As you know, the purpose of his visit to Fatima has been to beatify the two "little shepherds". Nevertheless he also wishes his pilgrimage to be a renewed gesture of gratitude to Our Lady for her protection during these years of his papacy. This protection seems also to be linked to the so-called "third part" of the secret of Fatima.

That text contains a prophetic vision similar to those found in Sacred Scripture, which do not describe with photographic clarity the details of future events, but rather synthesize and condense against a unified background events spread out over time in a succession and a duration which are not specified. As a result, the text must be interpreted in a symbolic key.

The vision of Fatima concerns above all the war waged by atheist systems against the Church and Christians, and it describes the immense suffering endured by the witnesses to the faith in the last century of the second millennium. It is an interminable Way of the Cross led by the Popes of the twentieth century.

According to the interpretation of the "little shepherds", which was also recently confirmed by Sister Lucia, the "Bishop clothed in white" who prays for all the faithful is the Pope. As he makes his way with great effort towards the Cross amid the corpses of those who were martyred (Bishops, priests, men and women religious and many lay persons), he too falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.

After the assassination attempt of 13 May 1981, it appeared evident to His Holiness that it was "a motherly hand which guided the bullet’s path", enabling the "dying Pope" to halt "at the threshold of death" (Pope John Paul II. Meditation with the Italian Bishops from the Policlinico Gemelli, Insegnamenti, vol XVII/1, 1994, p1061). On the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Pope decided to give him the bullet which had remained in the jeep after the assassination attempt, so that it might be kept in the Shrine. At the behest of the Bishop, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The successive events of 1989 led, both in the Soviet Union and in a number of countries of Eastern Europe, to the fall of the Communist regime which promoted atheism. For this too His Holiness offers heartfelt thanks to the Most Holy Virgin. In other parts of the world, however, attacks against the Church and against Christians, together with the burden of suffering which they involve, tragically continue. Even if the events to which the third part of the Secret of Fatima refers now seem part of the past, Our Lady’s call to conversion and penance, issued at the beginning of the twentieth century, remains timely and urgent today. "The Lady of the message seems to read the signs of the times - the signs of our time - with special insight... The insistent invitation of Mary Most Holy to penance is nothing but the manifestation of her maternal concern for the fate of the human family, in need of conversion and forgiveness" (Pope John Paul II, Message for the 1997 World Day of the Sick, N. 1, Insegnamenti, vol XIX/2, 1996, p561).

In order that the faithful may better receive the message of Our Lady of Fatima, the Pope has charged the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with making public the third part of the secret, after the preparation of an appropriate commentary.

Let us thank Our Lady of Fatima for her protection. To her maternal intercession let us entrust the Church of the Third Millennium.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix!


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Father John Edwards vocation story begins with Fatima     ¤

"I'm talking about the priesthood and me: how it happened to me and what it means. Well, when I was a young man I was in the navy and while in the navy extraordinarily I learnt out about Our Lady's apparition at Fatima and I realised that if it was true, and it couldn't not be true, I ought to start praying the rosary, so I did. And then after a while, the penny dropped, that the Mass was terribly important so I started trying to go to Mass when I could, when my ship was in harbour..."

Ato de Confiança e de Consagração à Nossa Senhora de Fátima

Papa João Paulo II - 13 de Maio de 1982
- in italiano qui

“À vossa protecção nos acolhemos, Santa Mãe de Deus!”

AO PRONUNCIAR estas palavras da antífona com que a Igreja de Cristo reza há séculos, encontro-me hoje neste lugar escolhido por Vós, ó Mãe, e por Vós especialmente amado.

Estou aqui, unido com todos os Pastores da Igreja por aquele vínculo particular, pelo qual constituímos um corpo e um colégio, assim como Cristo quis os Apóstolos em unidade com Pedro.

No vínculo desta unidade, pronuncio as palavras deste Acto, no qual desejo incluir, uma vez mais, as esperanças e as angústias da Igreja no mundo contemporâneo.

Há quarenta anos atrás, e depois ainda passados dez anos, o Vosso servo o Papa Pio XII, tendo diante dos olhos as dolorosas experiências da família humana, confiou e consagrou ao Vosso Coração Imaculado todo o mundo e especialmente os Povos que eram objecto particular do vosso amor e da vossa solicitude.

Este mundo dos homens e das nações também eu o tenho diante dos olhos, hoje, no momento em que desejo renovar a entrega e a consagração feita pelo meu Predecessor na Sé de Pedro: o mundo do Segundo Milénio que está prestes a terminar, o mundo contemporâneo, o nosso mundo de hoje!

A Igreja, lembrada das palavras do Senhor: “Ide... e ensinai todas as nações... Eis que eu estou convosco todos os dias, até ao fim do mundo”, no Concílio Vaticano II, renovou a consciência da sua missão neste mundo.

Por isso, ó Mãe dos homens e dos povos, Vós que “conheceis todos os seus sofrimentos e as suas esperanças”, Vós que sentis maternamente todas as lutas entre o bem e o mal, entre a luz e as trevas, que abalam o mundo contemporâneo, acolhei o nosso clamor que movidos pelo Espírito Santo, elevamos directamente ao Vosso Coração, e abraçai com o amor da Mãe e da Serva este nosso mundo humano, que Vos confiamos e consagramos, cheios de inquietação pela sorte terrena e eterna dos homens e dos povos.

De modo especial Vos entregamos e consagramos aqueles homens e aquelas nações, que desta entrega e desta consagração particularmente têm necessidade.

“À Vossa protecção nos acolhemos Santa Mãe de Deus”! Não desprezeis as nossas súplicas, pois nos encontramos na provação!

Não desprezeis!

Acolhei a nossa humilde confiança e a nossa entrega!

2. “Porque Deus amou de tal modo o mundo que lhe deu o seu Filho unigénito, para que todo aquele que n’Ele crer, não pereça, mas tenha a vida eterna” (Io 3, 16).

Precisamente este amor fez com que o Filho de Deus se tenha consagrado a si mesmo: “Eu consagro-me por eles, para eles serem também consagrados na verdade.”

Em virtude desta consagração, os discípulos de todos os tempos são chamados a empenhar-se pela salvação do mundo, a ajuntar alguma coisa aos sofrimentos de Cristo em benefício do Seu Corpo, que é a Igreja.

Diante de Vós, Mãe de Cristo, diante de Vosso Coração Imaculado, desejo eu, hoje, juntamente com toda a Igreja, unir-me com o nosso Redentor nesta sua consagração pelo mundo e pelos homens, a qual só no seu Coração divino tem o poder de alcançar o perdão e de conseguir a reparação.

A força desta consagração permanece por todos os tempos e abarca todos os homens, os povos e as nações, e supera todo o mal, que o espírito das trevas é capaz de despertar no coração do homem e na sua história, e que, de facto, despertou nos nossos tempos.

A esta consagração do nosso Redentor, mediante o serviço do sucessor de Pedro, une-se a Igreja, Corpo místico de Cristo.

Oh! quão profundamente sentimos a necessidade de consagração, pela humanidade e pelo mundo: para nosso mundo contemporâneo, na unidade com o próprio Cristo! Na realidade, a obra redentora de Cristo deve ser participada pelo mundo pela mediação da Igreja.

Oh! quanto nos penaliza, portanto, tudo aquilo que na Igreja e em cada um de nós se opõe à santidade e à consagração! Quanto nos penaliza que o convite à penitência, à conversão, à oração, não tenha encontrado aquele acolhimento que devia!

Quanto nos penaliza que muitos participem tão friamente na obra da Redenção de Cristo! Que tão insuficientemente se complete na nossa carne “aquilo que falta aos sofrimentos de Cristo!”

Sejam benditas portanto, todas as almas que obedecem à chamada do Amor eterno! Sejam benditos aqueles que, dia após dia, com generosidade inexaurível acolhem o Vosso convite, ó Mãe, para fazer aquilo que diz o Vosso Jesus e dão à Igreja e ao mundo um testemunho sereno de vida inspirada no Evangelho.

Sede bendita, acima de todas as criaturas, Vós, Serva do Senhor, que mais plenamente obedeceis a este Divino apelo!

Sede louvada, Vós que estais inteiramente unida à consagração redentora do Vosso Filho!

Mãe da Igreja! Iluminai o Povo de Deus nos caminhos da fé, da esperança e da caridade! Ajudai-nos a viver com toda a verdade da consagração de Cristo pela inteira família humana, no mundo contemporâneo.

3. Confiando-Vos, ó Mãe, o mundo, todos os homens e todos os povos, nós Vos confiamos também a própria consagração em favor do mundo, depositando-a no Vosso Coração materno.

Oh, Coração Imaculado! Ajudai-nos a vencer a ameaça do mal que tão facilmente se enraíza nos corações dos homens de hoje e que, nos seus efeitos incomensuráveis, pesa já sobre a nossa época e parece fechar os caminhos do futuro!

Da fome e da guerra, livrai-nos!
Da guerra nuclear, de uma autodestruição incalculável e de toda espécie de guerra, livrai-nos!

Dos pecados contra a vida do homem desde os seus primeiros instantes, livrai-nos!
Do ódio e do aviltamento da dignidade dos filhos de Deus, livrai-nos!
De todo o género de injustiça na vida social, nacional e internacional, livrai-nos!
Da facilidade em calcar aos pés os mandamentos de Deus, livrai-nos!

Dos pecados contra o Espírito Santo, livrai-nos, livrai-nos!

Acolhei, ó Mãe de Cristo, este clamor carregado do sofrimento de todos os homens! Carregado do sofrimento de sociedades inteiras!

Que se revele, uma vez mais, na história do mundo, a força infinita do Amor misericordioso! Que ele detenha o mal! Que ele transforme as consciências! Que se manifeste para todos, no Vosso Coração Imaculado, a luz da Esperança!

Quero dirigir-vos ainda uma oração especial, ó Mãe que conheceis as ansiedades e as preocupações dos vossos filhos. Suplico-vos, em imploração ardente e dorida que interponhais a vossa intercessão pela paz no mundo, pela paz entre os povos que, em diversas partes, contrastes de interesses nacionais e actos de prepotência injusta opõem sangrentamente entre si. Suplico-vos, em particular, que cessem as hostilidades que dividem já, há muitos dias, dois grandes Países nas águas do Atlântico meridional, causando dolorosas perdas de vidas humanas. Fazei com que se encontre finalmente uma solução justa e honrosa entre as duas Partes, não apenas pela controvérsia que as divide e ameaça com consequências imprevisíveis, mas também, e sobretudo para o restabelecimento entre elas da mais digna e mais profunda harmonia, como convém à sua História, à sua civilização e às suas tradições cristãs. Que em breve a grave e preocupante controvérsia seja superada e concluída, de tal maneira que também se possa realizar felizmente a minha projectada viagem pastoral à Grã-Bretanha, para ser satisfeito não só o meu desejo pessoal, mas também o de todos aqueles que esperam ardentemente esta visita e que com tanto empenho e com todo o coração a têm vindo a preparar."


Steven, from England      
"Our Lady came to Fatima in Portugal in 1917 and gave some very profound instructions to the three children and they made very heroic sacrifices really. So I feel the little contribution I make is only minor compared to them."