May 13, 2020
On this day in 1917, three shepherd children Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta reported that the Virgin Mary appeared to them in Fatima, Portugal. They described her as being brighter than the sun, dressed in white and holding a rosary. Over the course of six apparitions that year, in her messages she called for conversion of hearts, repentance from sin, to pray for world peace and to pray the rosary daily.
The children faced great resistance from both church and civic leaders as great crowds of people began to gather at the site of the apparitions. Our Lady told them that on October 13th she would provide a miraculous sign. On that day, thousands gathered in a steady rain on a muddy field to pray and wait for the sign. Suddenly, witnesses describe the sun spinning and seeming to fall to the earth before zig-zagging back to its original position. They describe their soaked clothes becoming completely dry and the muddy field drying up as well. Witnesses describe different accounts of what happened that day. Following an investigation, the church declared in 1930 the apparitions as “worthy of belief”. Francisco and Jacinta died within the year from the 1918 flu pandemic and Lucia became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005.
The attached photo is from my family parish church back on Long Island. It is a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima and the three shepherd children and is located just outside the school entrance. When we were growing up, after Sunday Mass we would often stop there to pray. To this day, my sister Karen still does (hopefully to pray for her brother!).
Perhaps today would be a good day to pray the Rosary for a conversion of hearts and for the sick in our world. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.