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100th Anniversary of Fatima

Back in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children on the 13th of each month from May through October.  The children were Lucia, who was nine years old, and her cousins, Francisco who was eight, and his sister, Jacinta who was six.  This apparition of the Blessed Virgin is one of the few apparitions approved  by the Catholic Church.  To be approved, it has to go through scrutiny and investigation by the Church.  You are not obligated to believe in this apparition even if you are Catholic but if it strengthens you faith, then learn more about it.  This is a long story and there is a lot of details so I encourage you to look for more on the story but I will try to do it justice.

The Angel of Peace came to the children in 1916 (possibly early spring) and taught them prayers and gave them Holy Communion.  He taught, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love Thee.  I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee, do not love Thee.”  In the summer, the Guardian Angel of Portugal appeared again to them, asking them to “Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended…”  In Autumn, the Angel appeared again, holding a chalice and a Host was hovering over it from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice.  He let go of it and it suspended in the air while the Angel prostrated himself on the ground in adoration, while he prayed this prayer, “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges outrages and indifferences by which He Himself is offended.  And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”  He gave Lucia the Host and the contents of the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta as he said, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.  Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”

(First Apparition) On May 13, 1917, the children were out in the Cova de Iria where the sheep grazed, they saw a flash of lightening so they were going to start for home when they saw a small holm oak tree and above it was this beautiful Lady.  She was “dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun”.  She said to them, “Fear not! I will not harm you.”  She wanted them to come to the same spot for six months on the 13th of each month.  She asked them if they wanted to offer themselves to God to “endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?”  They agreed.  She said, “Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” and “Say the rosary everyday to bring peace to the world and the end of the war (This happened during WWI).”

On the second apparition on June 13th, Our Lady taught the children another prayer to be said between the decades of the rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.”  She stated that she would take Francisco and Jacinta soon (to heaven), Lucia, however, is to stay here a longer time.  Jesus wants to use Lucia to make Our Lady known and loved…”

(Third Apparition) One July 13th, Our Lady wanted the children to say the rosary daily, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, for the end of the war “for She alone can save it.”  She promised them a miracle she would perform in October “so that they would believe“.  She asked again for them to sacrifice themselves for sinners.  She opened her arms and the light from her opened up the earth.  The children saw a “sea of fire and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form, as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from them along with clouds of smoke, falling upon every side…amidst wailing and cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror.  We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures and baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire” according to the words of Lucia.  Our Lady told them “You have seen Hell–where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”  She predicted WWII and persecution of the Church, which came true.

On August 13th, the Chief Magistrate told the children he was taking them to the Cova in his carriage. Lucia realized he had lied to them and was stealing them.  He took them to the County House and questioned for the secret the Lady told them.  They were threatened with many punishments including being boiled in oil but wouldn’t tell the secret.  They were thrown in jail with hardened criminals.  The children prayed the rosary in the jail and got the criminals to pray with them.  The Magistrate released them because of an angry mob outside.  Our Lady came to the children on August 19th instead and told of the miracle that will happen in October.  She said that “St. Joseph will appear with Baby Jesus to give peace to the world“.  She wished for a chapel to be built in the spot of the apparitions.

September 13th, Our Lady told more about the miracle that was to take place in October and asked for the rosary to be said.

October 13, 1917 is the day of the “Miracle of the Sun”.  It was very rainy that day and the night before and everyone’s clothing was drenched and the ground was thick with mud.  There were about 70,000 people there in the Cova.  The sun danced for about 10 minutes and appeared to come closer to earth as if it were crashing but then went back up to the sky.  After the sun danced, the ground and all of their clothing was dry when before this they were all muddy.  St. Joseph and baby Jesus appeared and blessed the world.  This miracle has been documented accepted by the Catholic Church.

Please click on the link below to see a poster about the miracle.

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The message of the Virgin Mary is to

  1. Go to Confession often
  2. Say the Rosary daily
  3. Repent of sin
  4. Make sacrifices and reparation for poor sinners and for our sins
  5. Go to Mass
  6. Make the Five First Saturday devotion (Go to confession, Holy Communion, Rosary, and 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the rosary, in atonement for the sins of the whole world on the First Saturday of each month for five Saturdays.)

This May 13, 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherd children.  October 13th will be the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.  Please consider beginning a devotion of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary for She will lead you to Christ and you will see Him for the first time through her eyes as a mother.  You may say, I don’t need His mother to lead me to Jesus, but in this world of instant gratification, we need to slow down and contemplate the many facets of Jesus and this is one of them that many people miss.  Jesus loved and honored His mother and we should too at the very least out of respect for Jesus, but also for the Mother of God.

The Blessed Virgin Mary wants us to amend our lives, pray the rosary for peace, sacrifice for poor sinners and come to the Her Son in the Eucharist to change the world.  This has been her consistent message for about 150 years in all of her apparitions, yet she has been rejected repeatedly.  When will we listen…when it’s too late?  She is the Arc of the Covenant, like the Arc of Moses.  When things get tough, will we turn back to her after the door of the Arc is closed?  It’s too late then.  Please pray the rosary for peace and please don’t reject her.  She comes to you softly and lovingly as your Mother too.  (And you don’t have to be Catholic to ask for Her intercession and to honor Her.)

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What is a Novena?

A novena (no-vee-na) is a devotion that you can do for an intention.  You say a particular prayer every day for nine days in a row to Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit , the Virgin Mary or a saint.  When your nine days are done, then you say another nine days of the prayer in thanksgiving regardless of the outcome.  This has been a very effective form of prayer when someone is really in need of something.  There are some good apps in the Google play store you can download on your phone if you put in the search bar “novena”.

This form of prayer shows persistence and obedience in your prayer life.  I have also found one novena prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague that you say for either nine hours (once per hour) or nine days.  This is not vain repetition of prayer, this is asking for the intercession of the saints or going to Jesus or God for help.

What kind of prayers should you say a novena for?  Well, you can’t make anyone fall in love with you or have selfish intentions.  You have to have good intentions and God’s will in mind when you pray.  Ask yourself, “What would God want?”  Praying for sinners to turn to Jesus is always a good choice.  Another one is, “God, please give that person or myself the graces that others refuse.”  Saying a novena to a saint or the Holy Trinity, for their intercession is always a good idea.  The saints are always there for us, to intercede for us on our behalf.  There is strength in prayers in numbers.

I have been saying a novena for the last five days and already I have received part of my prayer.  It also helps if you can get others to say the novena with you.  I have two others saying the novena everyday for the same intention.  My novena has produced a deeply moving answer for me in reply.  I couldn’t have asked for a better reply.  I was praying to St. Joseph, Patron of the Church.  He always answers your prayer because he is the earthly father of Jesus and He would listen to him.  Blessed be St. Joseph!  Thank you St. Joseph!

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Who was St. Joseph?

St. Joseph was a man who we never hear much about.  He didn’t say anything in the Bible but we know something about him.  Most pictures show him with white hair like he was a lot older than the Virgin Mary but he was not many years older than she was.  She was about 15.  The Bible says that he was a “righteous man”.  He is usually pictured with Baby Jesus and a white lily symbolizing St. Joseph’s purity and virginity.

Click here for more information and prayers.

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The Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were betrothed before Jesus was conceived.  That means they were engaged to be married but in their tradition that means they were married but lived apart for one year.  An angel came to Joseph in a dream telling him “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).    When she gave birth, he was there and assisted her.  Logically, he was the first one to see the Child Jesus after his birth.  In Matthew 2:13-23, Joseph has another dream telling him of danger to his family, Mary and the child Jesus.  He takes them to Egypt without question and keeps them safe until King Herod dies and it is safe again to return home.  King Herod had killed all children under the age of two.  These are called the Holy Innocents as they are the first martyrs of Christ.

Joseph was a carpenter and taught Jesus how to be a carpenter also.  He died sometime before Jesus began His ministry.  St. Joseph was of noble blood of the House of David.  This fulfills prophesy that the Messiah would be from the lineage of the House of David.

St. Joseph was a man who had the most beautiful woman on earth, the Virgin Mary, as his wife but he never touched her in a disrespectful or sexual way.  He kept her dignity intact and never tarnished her purity.  He protected her virginity and kept it intact for the rest of her life.

Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.  Joseph is also patron saint of the Catholic Church, families, fathers, stepparents, pregnant women, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

Consider a devotion to St. Joseph asking for his intercession in prayer for you.  Jesus listens to his stepfather answering many prayers.  Try putting a piece of paper with your prayer on it stuck in the frame of his picture.  Or put that same prayer in the hand of a statue of St. Joseph or under it.  This is not expecting the statue to answer the prayer, but instead, when St. Joseph sees that you are honoring his image, he will intercede for you.  This is not worshipping the statue but honoring his image, like we would a family member.  St. Joseph is also a great saint to have as a patron saint for anyone who needs fatherly guidance such as a baptismal saint or for someone who doesn’t have a father in the home.

St. Joseph is the protector the family.  Ask for his assistance if you have struggles in your family.  He will take it to Jesus and Jesus can’t refuse His father because He respects His father.