The Message of Fatima

Msgr. Eugene Morris was on the air at KMOX for the 100th anniversary of the first Marian apparitions at Fatima on May 13, talking about the importance of Fatima today. Hear the interview here.


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Mary Sturm has long appreciated the Rosary, but it wasn't until she witnessed the dedication of a group of people praying it after daily Mass at her parish, Holy Infant in Ballwin, that her love grew deeper.

Through this prayer, Sturm finds guidance from the Blessed Mother to stay connected to Jesus. The Rosary also was a great consolation to her when her husband of 43 years, Jim, passed away last summer.

"She helps me participate fully at Mass and help others," Sturm said of the Blessed Mother. "She gives me company, protection and reassurance."

In her apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, the Blessed Mother called on three children — Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto — to pray the Rosary daily for an end to the Great War — World War I. Our Lady of Fatima's messages of conversion and prayer (especially for peace), reparation and penance and devotion to her Immaculate Heart — all in the name of drawing us closer to her Son — serve as timeless messages a century later.

While the Church places importance on the angels and saints in heaven, no one in that realm quite stacks up to our Blessed Mother. This certainly provides an understanding of why Mary of all people has appeared to the faithful, through her apparitions at places such as Fatima, Lourdes and Mexico — Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"She's the perfect messenger, because she was the first apostle," said Msgr. Eugene Morris, who is working on a doctorate in Mariology from the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, Ohio. "Mary is the first one to offer Christ. She participates in that self-donation that Christ makes, which is central to the mystery of the Eucharist. She's always drawing us more deeply into a relationship with her Son."

Msgr. Morris noted that during the Second Vatican Council, "Lumen gentium," the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, properly situated Mary in the life of the Church. In fact, the council described Mary as "Mediatrix" because of her role in helping us understand Christ as the ultimate Mediator.

So how do we live the message of Fatima today?

"By a devotion to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart, which will lead us to our Lord's Sacred Heart," Msgr. Morris said. "The more we go to the Sacred Heart of the Lord, the more we encounter, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His mercy."

That encounter with mercy involves the recognition and reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. That's something that Mary Sturm offers through her prayers in the Rosary. In fact, Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence (see related) for the Fatima centennial.

"The Rosary is the one I choose the most often, since Our Lady asked us at Fatima to pray the Rosary daily," she said. "With the Rosary, I can help souls detained in purgatory move more speedily to heaven." 

World Apostolate of Fatima

The St. Louis Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima has promoted the message of Fatima in St. Louis for decades.

The local apostolate is part of the World Apostolate of Fatima, an international Public Association of the Faithful established by the Vatican in 2005 to promote the Fatima message. That includes making daily sacrifices, praying a daily Rosary, wearing the Brown Scapular and practicing the five First Saturdays devotion.

There are several events marking the anniversary of Fatima, including:

• An annual Fatima novena May 5-13 at St. George Church, 4980 Heege Road in Affton. The novena will begin each evening with the Rosary at 7 p.m., followed by Mass at 7:30.

• A one-day symposium from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 4092 Blow St. in south St. Louis.

Msgr. Eugene Morris will reflect on the relevance of the Fatima message today as the 100th anniversary is commemorated. The day will include Mass, Rosary and Benediction. Cost is $20 per person, which includes lunch. To make reservations before July 3, call (314) 918- 8323.

• A eucharistic prayer vigil is held the last Friday of the month from 7 p.m.-midnight at St. George Church; the vigil includes Rosary, Stations of the Cross and prayers. Mass is celebrated at 8 p.m.

• A First Friday/First Saturday vigil is held from 7 p.m.-midnight at Cure of Ars Church, 670 South Laclede Station Road in Shrewsbury. Mass is celebrated at 8 p.m.

• A regular meeting at 1 p.m. the third Sunday of the month at its headquarters, 6009 Heege Road in Affton. For more information, call (314) 562-5927 or visit www.fatimastlouis.com. The group is on Facebook at World Apostolate of Fatima: St Louis Division. 

Plenary indulgence

Pope Francis has granted an opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence in the 100th anniversary celebration of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, which runs through Nov. 26.

"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471-79).

To obtain a plenary indulgence, the usual conditions must be met: go to confession and Communion, be detached from sin (state of grace), and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

In addition, the faithful must do at least one of the following: make a pilgrimage to the Fatima shrine in Portugal; pray before a venerated statue of Our Lady of Fatima in a church, oratory or other proper place during the months of the anniversary of the apparitions (the 13th of the month, from May-October, 2017); or for those who are elderly or infirm, pray in front of a statue of Fatima and unite themselves to the jubilee celebrations on the anniversary dates of the apparitions. They also must "offer to our merciful God with confidence, through Mary, their prayers and sufferings or the sacrifices they make in their own lives." 

Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin is one of numerous parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that will mark the centennial anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

A statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be available for veneration in the eucharistic adoration chapel on the 13th of the month, from May through September. The chapel is open from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. at 627 Dennison Drive in Ballwin.

On Oct. 13, a Fatima statue will be placed in the main church for an all-school Mass and celebration, which will include a living Rosary, Rosary procession, chaplet and other prayers.

The Legion of Mary also will be giving away handmade rosaries and other materials during the centennial celebration. 

>> Fatima on EWTN

EWTN has launched a special website for the centennial celebration of the apparitions at Fatima. The site includes information on the apparitions, videos and links to EWTN programming. Visit www.ewtn.com/fatima. 


 

Celebration at Pauline Books and Media

The Daughters of St. Paul will celebrate the centenary of Our Lady of Fatima with a series of events beginning this month. Events will take place at Pauline Books and Media, 9804 Watson Road in Crestwood.

• Rosary: Join the sisters in praying the Rosary in their backyard grotto at 7 p.m. on the 13th of each month from May-October;

• Fatima film screenings: "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima" will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 12; "The Three Shepherds of Fatima" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13;

• Children's events: "The Day the Sun Danced" movie will be shown at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 13; "The Rosary" movie will be shown at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 20; and "Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima" story time will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 27.

For more information, call (314) 965-3512.

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