Watching their flocks and playing in a field outside town on May 16 (the actual date of the first apparition was May 13), Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto see a flash of light and think it is going to rain. Gathering their sheep together and heading for home, they run straight into an unusual "cloud of light" surrounding a little tree on which a lady stands. Speaking slowly and gently, the lady asks them to return on the 13th of each month and to offer their sufferings to God for the salvation of sinners. She entreats them to say the Rosary for world peace. Later, they encounter their agnostic friend Hugo who tells them it is best not to reveal the vision to anyone else, but of course on returning home Jacinta immediately divulges her sightings.
Jacinta and Francisco's parents believe, but Lucia's mother reacts with disgust and subjects her daughter to emotional and physical abuse. She forbids Lucia to return to the Cova, but Lucia does so, and is told that her cousins will die and go to heaven "soon", while she will live a long life in holy service. The church father suggests the visions might be from Satan. Kidnapped by provincial administrator Arturo Santos, the children are threatened with death if they don't change their story. Trying to frighten them, he has first Jacinta, then Francisco dragged into another room. Jacinta's terrified screams convince Lucia that her cousins are dead, but she refuses to deny what she's seen. Warning her that she's about to experience "the full treatment", Santos reunites her with her cousins, who are very much alive, then throws them all in jail. There they find Hugo, who stands by them as they convince all the prisoners to join in the Rosary.
Unable to find any prosecutable evidence, Arturo frees the children, who find that the entire population of Fatima has been standing outside waiting for them.
On October 13, when the lady promised "a sign that will make them believe," about forty thousand people arrive, waiting through a torrential downpour. At precisely noon the clouds part and the sun shines brightly upon all the people -- then the sun shifts through a rainbow of colours and appears to drop toward the ground.
As early as July the Lady had promised a miracle for the final apparition, on October 13, so that all would believe. What transpired became known as "Miracle of the Sun". A crowd believed to be approximately 70,000 in number, including newspaper reporters and photographers, gathered at the Cova da Iria. The incessant rain had finally ceased and a thin layer of clouds cloaked the silver disc of the sun such that it could be looked upon without hurting one’s eyes. Lúcia called out to the crowd to look at the sun. Sometime while Lucia was pointing towards the sun and seeing various religious figures in the sky, the sun appeared to change colors and rotate, like a fire wheel. For some, the sun appeared to fall from the sky before retreating, for others, it zig-zagged.
The Three Secrets of Fátima
Three Secrets of Fátima:
The first two secrets
The first secret was a vision of Hell, which Lúcia describes in her Third Memoir, as follows:
"Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
Lúcia was transferred to another convent in Tui or Tuy, Galicia in 1928. In 1929, Lúcia reported that Mary returned and repeated her request for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart
In 1947, Sister Lúcia left the Dorothean order and joined the Carmelite order in a convent in Coimbra, Portugal. Lúcia died on February 13, 2005, at the age of 97. After her death, the Vatican, specifically Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (at that time, still head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) ordered her cell sealed off. It is believed this was because Sister Lúcia had continued to receive more revelations, and the evidence needed to be examined in the course of proceedings for Lúcia's canonization.
Lúcia's cousins, the siblings Francisco (1908–1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910–1920), were both victims of the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1919.
Francisco and Jacinta were declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in a public ceremony at Fatima on May 13, 1989. John Paul returned there on May 13, 2000, to declare them 'blessed' (a title of veneration below that of sainthood; see Canonization). Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified.
In 1941, Lúcia claimed that the Virgin Mary had predicted the deaths of two of the children during the second apparition on June 13, 1917. Some accounts, including the testimony of Olímpia Marto (mother of the two younger children) state that her children did not keep this information secret and ecstatically predicted their own deaths many times to her and to curious pilgrims.
The consecration of Russia Statue of Pope Pius XII in Fatima, Portugal. Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart…
According to Sister Lúcia, The Virgin promised that the Consecration of Russia would lead to Russia's conversion and an era of peace. Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter of July 7, 1952 Sacro Vergente consecrated Russia to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Pius XII wrote,
Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart…
In 1952 the Pope reminded the Russian people, that the Virgin Mary was always victorious. "The gates of hell will never prevail, where she offers her protection. She is the good mother, the mother of all, and it has never been heard, that those who seek her protection, will not receive it. With this certainty, the Pope dedicates all people of Russia to the immaculate heart of the Virgin. She will help! Error and atheism will be overcome with her assistance and divine grace".
Pope John Paul II again consecrated the entire world to the Virgin in 1984, without mentioning countries like Russia. Some believe that Sister Lúcia verified that this ceremony fulfilled the requests of the Virgin. However, in the Blue Army's Spanish magazine, Sol de Fatima, in the September 1985 issue, Sister Lúcia said that the ceremony did not fulfill the Virgin's request, as there was no specific mention of Russia, and "many bishops attached no importance to it".
A 2008 Conference in the former Soviet Union focused on a future accompanied by Mary. Orthodox Russians gathered in Minsk with Catholics of Belarus to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mary's apparitions in Lourdes and to consider her role in their personal and national history. It was recalled that Our Lady told Bernadette Soubirous that she was the Immaculate Conception. To some faithful, this may be an indication that the prayers to the Lady of Fatima about Russia are effective.
The Third Secret:
The third secret, a vision of the death of the Pope and other religious figures, was transcribed by the Bishop of Leiria and reads:
"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!' And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'.
Some sources claim that the third part of the secret revealed in the year 2000 was not the real secret, or at least not the full secret. This was long suspected because it was known that the third part of the Secret began with the words, "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc." Sister Lúcia revealed this in her Fourth Memoir. These words and even this theme were not reflected by the version released by the Vatican on June 26, 2000.
Another argument for this revolved around the decision to release the secret much later than when specified by Sister Lúcia. It was thought that the secret might contain condemnatory remarks about the last pope (who obviously would not have wanted to release it), or that it might contain inflammatory remarks about Russia.
On November 11, 1984, as reported in the Pauline Catholic magazine Jesus, Cardinal Ratzinger stated that he had "read the text of the Third Secret." When asked why he had not revealed it, he replied:
"Because, according to the judgment of the Popes, it adds nothing to what a Christian must know concerning what derives from Revelation: i.e., a radical call for conversion; the absolute importance of history; the dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian, and therefore of the world. And then the importance of the end times. If it is not made public - at least for the time being - it is in order to prevent religious prophecy from being mistaken for a quest for the sensational."
An image of Our Lady as the three children had described their vision. This followed the report in the October 1981 issue of the German Catholic magazine Stimme des Glaubens of a discussion at Fulda in November 1980 when Pope John Paul II had stated to a select group of German Catholics, in response to the question why he had not revealed the Third Secret of Fatima, "If you read that the oceans will inundate continents, and millions of people will die suddenly in a few minutes, once this is known, then in reality it is not necessary to insist on the publication of this Secret."
However, in another interview, Pope John Paul II indicated that the entire secret of Fatima could be summarized in the idea that prayer, especially the Rosary, is the remedy against all manner of evil.
On November 15, 1966 Pope Paul VI revised the Code of Canon Law, striking down canons 1399 and 2318, which among other things had prohibited and penalized the publication of any material concerning any apparitions (approved or not) without beforehand obtaining a bishop’s imprimatur. After the revision, therefore, anyone in the Church was permitted to publish freely on Marian apparitions, including those at Fatima. Yet Sister Lúcia was still forbidden to reveal the Fatima Secret. She remained under an order of silence until her death in February 2005, unable to speak freely about Fatima without special permission from the Vatican.
Fátima prayers and reparation.
Political aspects Conservative Catholics take the anti-Communist character of Lúcia Santos' messages very much to heart. The Blue Army of Our Lady is made up of Catholics and non-Catholics who believe that by dedicating themselves to daily prayer (specifically, of the Rosary) they can help to achieve world peace and put an end to the error of communism. In 1952, a feature film, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, was released. Critics held that the film overplayed the role of socialist and other leftist elements in Portuguese government as the "adversaries" of the visions.
Private revelations do not form part of the deposit of faith of the Roman Catholic Church and its members are not bound to believe in any of them. However, as a matter of prudence, assent would normally be expected of a Catholic based on the discernment of the Church and its judgment that an apparition is worthy of belief. After a canonical enquiry the visions of Fatima were officially declared "worthy of belief" in October 1930 by the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima.
On May 13, 1942, the 25th anniversary of the first apparition and, silver jubilee of the Episcopal consecration of Pope Pius XII, the Vatican published the Message and Secret of Fatima. On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII, in a radio address informed the people of Portugal about the apparitions of Fatima, consecrating the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin with specific mention of Russia. On December 8, 1942, the Pontiff officially and solemnly declared this consecration in a ceremony in Saint Peter Basilica in Rome. On May 13, 1946, Cardinal Masalla, the personal delegate of Pius XII, crowned in his name Our Lady of Fátima, as the Pope issues a second message about Fatima:
The faithful virgin never disappointed the trust, put on her. She will transform into a fountain of graces, physical and spiritual graces, over all of Portugal, and from there, breaking all frontiers, over the whole Church and the entire world On May 1, 1948, in Auspicia Quaedam, Pope Pius requested the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of every Catholic family, parish and dioceses.
“It is our wish, consequently, that wherever the opportunity suggests itself, this consecration be made in the various dioceses as well as in each of the parishes and families.''
On May 18, 1950, the Pope again sent a message to the people of Portugal regarding Fátima: "May Portugal never forget the heavenly message of Fátima, which, before anybody else she was blessed to hear. To keep Fátima in your heart and to translate Fatima into deeds, is the best guarantee for ever more graces” In numerous additional messages, and in his encyclicals Fulgens Corona (1953), and, Ad Caeli Reginam (1954), Pius XII encouraged the veneration of the Virgin in Fatima.
At the end of the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI renewed the consecration of Pius XII to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and, in an unusual gesture, announces his own pilgrimage to the sanctuary on the fiftieth anniversary of the first apparition. On May 13, 1967, he prays at the shrine together with Sister Lucia. This historic gesture further cemented the official support for Fátima. Pope John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life following the assassination attempt on the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, in 1981. He followed the footsteps of Paul VI, on May 12, 1987, to express his gratitude to the Virgin for saving his life. The following day, he renewed the consecration of Pius XII to the Immaculate heart of the Virgin.