Fatima Seers on Track to Sainthood

News: World News
by Trey Elmore  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 24, 2017   

The Vatican announced confirmed miracles for two of the shepherd children of Fatima

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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - In the centennial of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, two shepherd children who witnessed the apparitions are one step closer to canonization. After a second miracle was approved by Pope Francis, he signed the decree for the cause of canonization for Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto Thursday. The third seer, Servant of God Lucia Santos, who died in 2005, is also advancing in her cause for canonization, opened in 2008.

Francisco Marto died on April 4, 1919 at age 10. Francisco's First Holy Communion was also his last, known in the Catholic faith as Viaticum. His sister Jacinta died the following year on February 20, also at age 10. Their cause for canonization has been open since 1946. Both siblings were beatified on May 13, 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917.

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In her messages to the seers, Our Lady instructed them to pray their Rosary daily and offer sacrifices for sinners.
"Pray, pray very much," she insisted. "Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to Hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice."
The children followed Our Lady's instructions, going without their lunch, wearing a rope with knots, patiently enduring the ridicule of those who didn't believe them.

There were six apparitions total, occurring on the 13th of each month from May to October, with the exception of the August apparition, which took place on Aug. 19, the Feast of the Assumption. This was owing to the children's being prevented by the secularist government, which was trying to force the children to deny the apparitions. These attempts included death threats.

The apparitions were preceded by a wave of anti-clerical laws associated with the revolution that had taken place in Portugal in 1910. Our Lady stated in her messages to the children that she desired consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart and the practice of the Five First Saturdays devotion. She said if her requests were not followed, Russia "will spread her errors throughout the world." In November 1917, following the final apparition of Our Lady in October and the Miracle of the Sun, Russia fell to the Bolsheviks.

The Fatima message consists of three parts, or "secrets": The First was the vision of Hell. The second was the the requests of Communions of Reparation on five consecutive first Saturdays of the month, and the Consecration of Russia. There were several consecrations made by popes under varying circumstances, which has given rise to controversy over whether this part of Our Lady's request has been fulfilled. The Third Secret was released in the year 2000, and has likewise been the subject of controversy.

The date May 13 holds significance owing to being the date of the first appearance of Our Lady of Fatima. It was also on this date in 1981 that Pope St. John Paul II survived an assassination attempt where he was shot four times. One bullet struck the Holy Father in the abdomen, missing a major artery by a fraction of an inch. The pope would later credit his survival to Our Lady, saying that her hand guided the bullet's path.

The name Fatima, the town in which the three children received Our Lady's messages, was named for the daughter of Mohammed, the founder of Islam. This is from the period of Moorish occupation of Portugal and Spain, which lasted from 711–1492. Some have speculated a connection between the Fatima message and its emphasis on the Rosary with the military victory over Muslim forces at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, which Pope Pius V credited to Our Lady of the Rosary.


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