In 1917 the first of a series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children, namely, Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia Santos, at Fatima, Portugal. The Blessed Mother identified herself to the children of the “Lady of the Rosary.”
The Marian apparition in Fatima gained popularity not only because she appeared frequently – every 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917 – but also of supernatural occurrences such as the so-called “Miracle of the Sun” that were witnessed by thousands of people gathered at the Cova da Iria. But more importantly, the prophetic message of the Blessed Mother caught the attention of many Catholic believers as well as that of the non-believers.
At Fatima, the Blessed Mother appealed to all to pray hard so that the war would cease. On many occasions, the children were asked to tell the people to pray the rosary daily for personal conversion and world peace.
It is also believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary confided three “secrets” which, after decades, have been revealed to the public – the last of which was revealed by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
The Church, after carefully studying the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima, has declared it authentic and, therefore, worthy of the belief of Christians. Many Popes have propagated the devotion to the Holy Rosary and consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as requested by the Blessed Mother.
The saintly Pope Pius XII, on July 7, 1952, consecrated Russia to the Blessed Virgin. Pope John Paul II consecrated the entire world to the Virgin Mary in 1984, a year after the assassination attempt on him. John Paul II believed that he was saved because of the protection of Our Lady of Fatima. Thus, after consecrating the world to her Immaculate Heart, the Pope placed the bullet that hit him on the crown of Our Lady.
Let us continue to pray to Mary and ask her intercession to heal our relationships. We ask her to keep our families bonded together in love and unity. Let us entrust our nation and the whole world to her maternal care and guidance. Her message at Fatima is that of world peace and reconciliation to God. May all men and women heed the call of the Blessed Virgin Mary and be promoters of love and peace in today’s society.