Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Homily
Fr. Paul Ward

Sat. & Sun., Dec. 3 & 4, 2016
2nd Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

 

Summary of the Apparitions at Fatima

1.     

   Christmas will fall on a Sunday this year; this means that we get four full weeks of Advent, the longest period allowed for this season. Next year, Christmas will fall on a Monday, giving us the shortest of all Advent periods possible.

   As we enter into Advent, our minds and hearts turn to the Blessed Virgin. Her pregnancy with Jesus gave her a nine-month Advent. We spend that last month with her, waiting. She is the most pro-life of all women, the first Christian, and full of grace.

   I therefore wish to spend two Sundays speaking about Mary. Since we are in the 100th year anniversary of Fatima, this Sunday I wish to provide a summary of those apparitions, only addressing the main points, and leaving the details, beautiful and important as they are, for later in the year. Next Sunday, since it will be the day before the feast, I will summarize the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in what is now Mexico City.

   First, some reminders about parish life. This Tuesday and Wednesday we have “Adult Catechism,” in which I warmly encourage participating. [Spanish: On Wednesday, during the activities of the novena, I will offer time for confessions, as also next Sunday the 11th.] On Thursday, the Church brings Mary to our minds yet again with the feast of the Immaculate Conception – being a Holy Day of Obligation, I’ll offer opportunities for Mass at 7pm in English and 8pm in Spanish, with no morning Mass that day. And finally, please support the cookie walk, a delightful parish tradition, by baking, or buying, or both.

   Discussing Fatima today, in fact, is especially appropriate; for in Fatima, Mary, concerned for the salvation of souls, brought a message of penance and reparation – the same message, one might say, preached by John the Baptist in today’s Gospel reading.

   For today, then, I will explain the chronology and salient facts of the apparitions, so that, as the rest of the year comes along, and I descend into details, you can have a mental map of how it all went, so as to fit the details into the whole story.

   First there were three apparitions of an angel; and then six apparitions of our Lady. For those of us who love both Angels and Mary, our interest is already whetted.

   It all began in the Spring of 1916. World War I was raging in Europe. Three very small children were tending to sheep in the Portugal countryside. They were Jacinta, age 6; Francisco, age 8, and Lucia, age 9. An Angel appeared to them, and said, “Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me!” The angel knelt on the ground and bowed low so that his forehead touched the ground. He then prayed, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.” Then he rose and said: “Pray this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” Many times thereafter the children would pray this prayer, for extended periods of time, imitating the angel’s posture.

   The second apparition of the angel occurred later that summer. The children were praying, and suddenly the angel appeared among them, and said, “What are you doing? Pray! Pray very much. The most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High… Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. By this you will bring peace down upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission all the suffering the Lord will send you.” And so these small children began to practice penance. Who says one must be old to do penance? And parents, do you introduce your children to the art of penance, by teaching, but also by example?

   The third apparition of the angel was in the fall. The children knelt, and put their foreheads to the ground, praying as the angel had taught them before. And then the angel returned with extraordinary light. He held a chalice in his left hand, with a host suspended above it, and drops of the precious blood fell into the chalice from the host. Letting go of the chalice, for it too remained now suspended, he prostrated himself, and prayed, “Most Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences whereby he is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.” Then he gave the children holy communion. I pray these two prayers of the angel of Fatima whenever I celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass.

   Then followed the six apparitions of Mary, the Mother of God.

   The first was on May 13 of the following year, 1917. I don’t know if I am the only one who notices that that was Mother’s Day that year! [An anachronism of mine, perhaps?] In this apparition, Mary said she was from heaven, and promised to take the children there; only that Francisco, in particular, would have to pray many rosaries. She revealed her motherly love in a marvelous way, and instructed the children to pray the rosary every day for peace in the world and an end of the war – referring to WWI. She also promised to appear to them on the 13th of every month for six months, including the present one.

   In the second apparition, that of June, Mary spoke much of her immaculate heart, and God’s will that devotion be established to it.

   The third was in July. Mary promised a miracle in October. She also revealed to the children a vision of hell. She spoke of devotion to her heart for the conversion of Russia, lest Russia spread her errors, and cause great persecution. It was in this apparition where Mary taught the children to pray, after each decade of the Rosary, “Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.”

   The fourth happened a bit late, as the local, atheist, anti-Catholic political authorities got involved, and actually imprisoned – yes, imprisoned these little kids – on the 13th, with frights and threats, but then let them go; so Mary came to them on the 19th of August, asking the children to pray for sinners, as many go to hell, lacking persons who might pray for them.

   The fifth was in September, and Mary foretold some of the details of the miracle that would take place in October.

   Finally, October came, and when Mary appeared to the children, many tens of thousands were present, and saw the miracle of the sun, and said much more and gave instructions.

   Of all these marvelous events we shall speak on further occasions. For now let us at least renew our resolve to pray our rosary daily, to do penance for sins – our own, and those of others – and to strive to be strong in living with faith and avoiding sin. Mary is a gift of immeasurable value to the Church; let us turn to her to imitate her and ask her intercession. Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Librevia Editrice Vaticana

 

Vatican Website

 
 
 

 

 
 

 

 

Archives of Homilies on Elijah during Lent 2016

Online FlipBook

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Archives of Homilies on the New English Translation