A pilgrimage to Fatima for 50 young Catholics
This year, the Church is celebrating the centennial of the apparitions at Fatima. In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherds and entrusted them with a message for the world. She warned the children of the danger that the Russian Revolution and Communism represented for Humanity. She revels to them that prayer, repentance and inner conversion are the means by which the wars and calamities could in fact be prevented for the world.
On October 13, the day of the very last apparition – over 50,000 people were witness to a miracle often deemed the ‘Miracle of the Sun’. At the very place above the apparitions, the sun began to spin and then zigzag careening to the earth before returning back toward the sky. The two little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta, died of Spanish Fever in 1919 and 1920, respectively. They were canonized this past May 13 by Pope Francis. As for Lucia, she became a Carmelite nun – Sister Lucie – and lived to be 97 years old at Carmel de Coimbra. Her beatification process was initiated in 2008, three years after her death.
Inspiration for giving God to the world
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The pontifical charity has very close ties to the Fatima message. During his lifetime, the founder of the international charity, Father Werenfried van Straaten, considered the message given at Fatima by the Holy Mother as the guiding principle informing all his actions. He first heard talk of Fatima in 1942 while still a young religious Premonstratensian. On several occasions, he consecrated Aid to the Church in Need to the Holy Mother of Fatima, for it was clear to him that the world was in danger of death if the call of the Holy Mother was not followed.
The “rebellion against God,” culminating during the Russian Revolution and the unprecedented persecution of the Church which followed has continued to this day in various forms. ACN is an immediate response to the call of the Holy Mother of God to convert and to turn towards God.
In this jubilee year, initiatives to commemorate the Fatima message are planned across the entire planet . Some are supported by ACN, for example the pilgrimage of 50 young Russian Catholics to the Fatima sanctuary. For these young Catholics who feel like a small minority in a majority Orthodox country, such a pilgrimage to one of the most significant Catholic sanctuaries signifies a lot, affirming them in their faith and giving them the opportunity to pray with thousands of other pilgrims from around the world.
Thanks to you, our benefactors, we were able to give them $9,000 for their journey, which we believe will be a moving one which they will carry with them throughout their lives and faith journey.
Photo top: Portugal, Fatima 13.05.2017
Pope Francis in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Portuguese Marian shrine of Fatima.