The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is December 8. It is the Patronal Feast Day of the United States of America and a Holyday of Obligation for Catholics in the U.S. Therefore Friday, Dec. 8 seems like a very appropriate and timely day to run a feature on the centennial of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima.
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared June 26, 2000 in “The Message of Fatima”:
Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.
This same document went on to say, “Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions.” Our Lady of Fatima offered a clarion call and foretold the horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism in Communist Russia and of World War II. The centerpiece however, of this private revelation from 1917, was the plea by the Blessed Virgin Mary when she appeared at Fatima for devotion and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
You will find a link for that document below, in addition to The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops titled “Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers,” which answers among others the question: “What is the difference between public Revelation and private revelations?” and describes how private revelations, like those given during apparitions such as Our Lady of Fatima, “place no obligation on the rest of the Church.”
In your reflection on the Mother Mary this weekend, keep in mind this prayer from “Act of Entrustment” offered by Saint Pope John Paul II at Fatima in 1982 and published in “The Message of Fatima” document:
Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”
Link 1: https://goo.gl/PkA15K
“The Message of Fatima” on the Vatican Website.
Link 2: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/popular-devotional-practices-basic-questions-and-answers.cfm
“Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers” on the USCCB Website.
Link 3: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1336939
“Finding Fatima.” Documentary with archival footage, dramatic reenactments, original interviews with Fatima experts and relatives of eyewitnesses, combined with stunning visuals to tell the entire story. DVD in Falvey’s collection.
Link 4: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/709780
“The miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.” Screen chronicle based on actual 1917 events outside Fatima, Portugal, where three shepherd children report visions of the Virgin Mary and confront anticlerical government oppression in the process. DVD in Falvey’s collection.
Link 5: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1652159
Encountering Mary : From La Salette to Medjugorje. Although hundreds of apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been reported, this book offers a detective-like investigation of the experiences and interpretations of six major apparitions, including the one at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Online Book in Falvey’s collection.
Article by Assistant Director of Academic Integration and Theology Librarian Darren Poley.
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