Lead article from the May 2017 bulletin, online now.
2017 marks the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, Fatima, Portugal, beginning on May 13 and ending October 13, 1917. The children were Lucia Santos, age 10, and her younger cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
This amazing story begins with these children reporting that on May 13, 1917, a woman adorned like the sun appeared to them from the sky and lighted on a shrub.
The woman asked them to devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to “pray the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to war.” The woman asked the children to return on June 13th, and when Lucias’ mother heard about this she sought counsel from the parish priest, Fr. Ferreira. He suggested she allow them to go and said he would question them afterward.
The Virgin Mary appeared as promised and told the children to pray the Rosary daily to bring an end to World War I – the war which precipitated the rise of godless Communism in Russia with the Bolshevik Revolution occurring in October, 1917. Mary also revealed that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to heaven soon, but Lucia would live longer to spread her message and devotion to her Immaculate Heart, which she promised would eventually triumph over Communism’s errors. The 1918 flu pandemic, from which about 50 million died globally, took Francisco in 1919, and Jacinta in 1920. Both were beatified by St. John Paul II on May 13th, 2000.
Our Lady allowed the children to see a vision of hell and asked them to pray for sinners. They became fervent in their prayer life for the conversion of hardened sinners. She also entrusted to them a secret.
Government officials intercepted the children before they reached the Cova da Iria on August 13th. The parents and officials tried to convince the children to stop what they perceived as nonsense; but neither derision nor threats persuaded the children, and they courageously held true to their witness.
The Virgin Mary appeared to them on Sunday, August 19th, at nearby Valinhos, and spoke to them about a miracle at the Cova da Iria on October 13th. She reminded them to pray the Rosary daily and “pray a lot… for sinners and sacrifice a lot, as many souls perish in hell because nobody is praying or making sacrifices for them.”
Although it rained incessantly for three days before October 13th, an estimated 70,000 people gathered to witness the promised miracle, soon to be called “Miracle of the Sun”. Our Lady appeared to the children and Lucia saw light rising from Mary’s hand and reportedly cried out, “Look, the sun.” For about 10 minutes the sun seemed to dance and then zigzagged to the earth only to spring back to its original position. The people were at first horrified thinking it was the end of time, but then they broke out in praise as the sun returned to its position, and all their clothes had become dry.
In 1930, after ongoing investigations, the Catholic Church officially recognized the apparition events as “worthy of belief”. It is important to note that the Catholic Church defines these events as “private revelations.” They do not form the deposit of the Catholic faith, and we are not bound to believe in them. Yet, Holy Mother Church holds them out to those who wish to receive such miracles as supernatural gifts to deepen the practice of their Catholic faith by following Jesus in his Catholic Church.
In the coming monthly newsletters there will be small vignettes of the miracles and messages of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima until its conclusion on Oct. 13th, 2017. Look for opportunities at both St. Albert and St. Michael Churches to draw closer to God’s promises through devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. First monthly event: Mass, May 13th, 9:30 a.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church with Patriotic Rosary until Noon near the Historic Church (unless inclement weather).
Father Thomas McCabe
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Deputy Grand Knights Message
The long winter's over and we will be mowing our lawns soon. We are also nearing the end of Grand Knight Joe VanHoorik's second year at the helm and I would like to personally thank him for his great leadership and the great things he has accomplished for Council 4174. We are also closing in on the Albertville Friendly City Days (AFCD) softball tournament and beer tent event. This three day annual effort funds much of what we do during the year. We will need the assistance of many Knights to make this important three day event a great success. Multiple shifts on June 8th, 9th, and 10th will be open on the Sign Up Genius website soon. We will need more volunteers than in years past. There will be opportunities to serve beer as well as help out with score keeping and ball shagging during our new multi-tier softball tournament. I would like to ask the new Knights in particular to sign up for this year's AFCD events. Let's get this new 4174 Council year started with a bang! Thank you for your help. God bless you and your families.
Deputy Grand Knight