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Appendix I

From the Fatima Network Website http://www.fatima.org

Reprinted with permission

The Story of Fatima

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children (“the Three Seers”)1 near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13th and October 13th, 1917. Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that She had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, She promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if Her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed. “If My requests are granted ... there will be peace.”

 Our Lady of Fatima explained to the children that war is a punishment for sin and warned that God would further castigate the world for its disobedience to His Will by means of war, hunger and the persecution of the Church, the Holy Father and the Catholic Faithful. God’s Mother prophesied that Russia would be God’s chosen “instrument of chastisement,” spreading the “errors” of atheism and materialism across the earth, fomenting wars, annihilating nations and persecuting the Faithful everywhere. “If My requests are not granted, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer much and various nations will be annihilated.”

In all Her appearances at Fatima, the Blessed Mother repeatedly emphasized the necessity of praying the Rosary daily, of wearing the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice. To prevent the terrible chastisement at the hands of Russia and to convert “that poor nation”, Our Lady requested the solemn public Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world.

She also asked that the Faithful practice a new devotion of reparation on the first Saturday of five consecutive months (“the Five First Saturdays”).

 The heart of Our Lady’s Message to the world is contained in what has come to be called the “Secret” which She confided to the three child seers in July 1917. The Secret actually consists of three parts, the first two of which have been publicly revealed. The first part of the Secret was a horrifying vision of hell2 “where the souls of poor sinners go” and contained an urgent plea from Our Lady for acts of prayer and sacrifice to save souls. The second part of the Secret specifically prophesied the outbreak of World War II and contained the Mother of God’s solemn request for the Consecration of Russia3 as a condition of world peace. It  also predicted the inevitable triumph of Her Immaculate Heart following Russia’s consecration and the conversion “of that poor nation” to the Catholic Faith.

 The last part of the Secret (often called the “Third Secret”) has not yet been made public, but was written down by Lucy dos Santos, the last living Fatima seer, in 1944 and has been in the possession of the Holy See since 1957. Most informed sources speculate that this portion of the Secret concerns chaos in the Catholic Church, predicting widespread apostasy and a loss of faith beginning in the sixth decade of the 20th century. “You saw hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish devotion to My Immaculate Heart in the world ... If people do what I ask, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

At the time that She confided the Fatima Secret to the three seers, the Blessed Virgin also promised that God  would work a great  miracle the following October “so that all may believe.” On October 13th, 1917, in the presence of 70,000 eyewitnesses, a miracle was worked in the sky above Fatima at the exact moment and in the precise spot that the children had announced earlier. Witnesses recounted that the sun appeared to actually “dance” in the sky and seemed to fall to the ground before resuming its normal place in the heavens. “On the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”

This event has now become known as “the Miracle of the Sun”4 and has been justly characterized as the greatest supernatural occurrence of the 20th century. As one leading Fatima authority has noted, this great miracle “does not belong (only) to the domain of faith, or even that of science. Before all else it is an historical event.”

The Catholic Church has officially endorsed the Fatima Message “as worthy of belief” since 1930. Five successive popes have publicly indicated their approval and belief in the validity and critical importance of the Fatima apparitions. Several popes have visited Fatima on solemn pilgrimage and Pope John Paul II has gone at least once in every decade of his pontificate. His Holiness has publicly credited Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life during an assassination attempt in 1981 (which, parenthetically, took place on the 64th anniversary of the first Fatima apparition). The following year, while in Fatima to give thanks for Her intervention, the Pope stated that “the message of  Fatima is more relevant and more urgent” today than even when Our Lady first appeared. “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me and she will be converted and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

 Belief in the Fatima apparitions and Our Lady’s full Message are now widely synonymous with an orthodox adherence to the doctrines, rites and traditional practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

 Many theologians believe that Our Lady’s Message is uniquely designed for the difficult and trying times in which we live today and suggest that it is Heaven’s intervention to save the world from war, hunger  and need, the Catholic Church from apostasy and chaos and the souls of countless millions from eternal damnation. While stern in its warning of the terrible punishments for sin and disobedience, Fatima remains fundamentally a life-affirming and faith-building message of hope and peace for all Catholics and others of good will everywhere. “Only I can help you ... My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

 

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