What you need to know about Fatima

It’s the most popular and well-known Marian apparition in the recent history of the Church.

One hundred years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in a field in Fatima, Portugal.

She brought with her requests for the recitation of the rosary, for sacrifices on behalf of sinners, and a secret regarding the fate of the world.

Every local bishop since has approved the apparitions and deemed them worthy of belief, the highest recognition a Marian apparition can receive from the Church.

Miracle researcher Michael O’Neill told CNA that the Fatima apparitions could be considered the “gold standard of Marian apparitions.”

“It has everything you’ve ever wanted to look for in a Marian apparition. It’s got these secrets, the prophecies… you also have a feast day in the general Roman calendar, the approval of the local bishop, and of every pope afterwards, you have the canonization of the visionaries and the basilica that was built, so all the hallmarks of a Marian apparition are there,” he said.

O’Neill records the details of Fatima, other Marian apparitions and all things miraculous on his site, miraclehunter.com.

This year, Pope Francis visited the apparition site on May 12-13, the 100th anniversary of the first Fatima apparition. The visit included the canonizations of two of the child visionaries, who died just a few years after the visions.

But even though it’s been 100 years, “the messages of Fatima are as relevant today as they were in 1917,” O’Neill said.

“The essence of the message is a call to conversion, and that’s something that’s as important in our life in modern times as it was when Mary appeared in 1917. I think this 100 year anniversary is a great opportunity for us to revisit the devotion and to re-incorporate it into our lives today.”

Historical context

In 1917, the country of Portugal, like most of the rest of the world, was at war. Continue reading

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