Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Our priest said an interesting thing at Mass this morning. He said that it was very revealing that Our Lady appeared at both Fatima and Lourdes to children and that this was probably because children in their innocence have the ability to see what is behind the image. This is something we lose as we get older and more sophisticated.
Mary appeared to three children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco at Fatima, a small town in Portugal in 1917.
“The three children who received the apparitions had been brought up in an atmosphere of genuine piety: Lucia dos Santos (ten years old) and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. Together they tended the sheep and, with Lucy in charge, would often pray the Rosary kneeling in the open. In the summer of 1916 an Angel appeared to them several times and taught them a prayer to the Blessed Trinity.
On Sunday, May 13, 1917, toward noon, a flash of lightning drew the attention of the children, and they saw a brilliant figure appearing over the trees of the Cova da Iria. The "Lady" asked them to pray for the conversion of sinners and an end to the war, and to come back every month, on the 13th.”
I read this piece on the Catholic Culture website and there is a full account of the story plus a beautiful photo of the children. I never knew that an angel appeared to the children before the apparition of Mary, but I suppose that it was fitting that they be prepared for such a momentous event.
Mary asked for people to pray the rosary for sinners and for people to be converted. She also asks for works of penance in reparation for the sins of the world. The messages of Mary always appear simple; pray and repent, but in these few lines lie the whole Christian message.
Popes Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II as well as Benedict have all visited the shrine at Fatima. Mary brings her message to the world in many ways, but it is always the same; pray for sinners, the world and for repentance.