- Jan 24, 2020
Dr. Pedro Valinho Gomes, director of pilgrim services at the Fatima shrine, noted the number of groups and pilgrims visiting Fatima from Asia has been climbing noticeably amid the general increase in pilgrimages, “which is something rather new that has started in the past 10 years.”
Fr. Dwight Longenecker says the Miracle of the Sun happened in Fatima on October 13, 1917. We have documentary, eyewitness, and photographic evidence that 70,000 people ‘saw’ the sun spin, felt it was yanked from the sky and that it plunged to earth. Everyone said they saw the same thing. Everyone was so frightened they screamed and ran for their lives. Clearly something happened, what was it? The answer given by believers is more rational than the answer given by atheists.
In 1917, meaning, purpose, value, along with transcendence, dignity, and benevolence were rapidly being shed, and this interior emptiness was fueling humanity’s ungodly rage and desire for annihilation. It was into that environment that Mary injected herself in Fatima, bringing a message of light and hope.
Portuguese Bishop Antonio dos Santos Marto of the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima said the centenary celebrations of the apparitions at Fatima “wouldn’t be complete without the presence of the pope,” explaining that the pope “is part of the message of Fatima.” Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the children who saw Our Lady, will be canonized May 13 during Pope Francis’s Mass at the Fatima shrine.
The priests, deacons, and seminarians who make up the Vatican’s cricket team will be traveling to Fatima to take part in an interreligious tournament. The event will take place just three weeks before Pope Francis will visit Fatima for the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady to three shepherd children in the country.
On the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, we look back on its very special relationship with the last three popes. St. John Paul II credited Mary his near-escape from death, Pope Benedict XVI was a “great devotee” and Pope Francis will visit the site this year in honor of the centennial.