The 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima

This spring will mark 100 years since the Fatima apparitions, and an opportunity to reflect deeply again upon their message.  The Angel of Peace appeared three times to the shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, beginning in the spring of 1916 in Fatima, Portugal.  These visitations prepared the way for the six apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima the following year.  The message of Fatima may be lost sometimes in the mysterious and the spectacular: the apparitions; the “three secrets;” the “dancing of the sun.”  Yet, the main entreaties from Heaven concerned our day-to-day earthly activities and how these will forge our eternal destiny.  The everlasting consequence of unrepented mortal sin is Hell; knowing this, we should live our lives according to the laws of God, in obedience, purity and virtue. The central message of Fatima was an urgent plea to stay on the narrow path to Heaven.

Fatima calls us to conversion, and a daily turning away from sin.  In order to convert the unrepentant, the Angel first taught the children the great value of intercessory prayer.  Underscoring the importance of our intercession, the only thing the Virgin Mary requested at all six appearances was for us to pray the Rosary, every day.  She told them that our prayers can help save souls, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”  It is not only intercessory prayer, but also our intercessory sacrifices and sufferings that are efficacious.  By virtue of our Baptisms, we are all brought into the Body of Christ and partake in His priesthood, as part of the common priesthood of the faithful.  Acting in our priestly role, we can offer ourselves up as “spiritual sacrifices” acceptable to God and in atonement for sins. (CCC 1141)

Further linking us to the Body of Christ, the Angel and the Virgin Mary said we should seek to console God through worthy reception and adoration of the Eucharist.  While the idea of consoling an all-powerful God may seem counter-intuitive, we are reminded by Pope Pius XI that “we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart,” which is continually wounded by our sins (Miserentissimus Redemptor, 13).  In a similar way, the Angel offered the children holy Eucharist to make reparation for sins and to “console your God.”  This was later echoed in Our Lady’s Eucharistic prayer: “O Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”  The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324), and the Fatima apparitions remind us that worthily receiving Jesus in Communion has the grace to save our souls and console our God.

The Virgin Mary also asked us to make reparation through the “First Five Saturdays” devotion.  Our Lady promised Sister Lucia, “to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation” those who will practice this devotion of Confession, Eucharist, recitation of the Rosary, and meditation upon its mysteries.  The Church rightly honors the Mother of God, because it was through her, and in consent of her freewill, let it be done to me, that the Savior was born into the world. (Lumen Gentium, VIII)  This is what we proclaim in the words of the Rosary: the moment of the Incarnation of God.  As Pope Paul VI issued in his 1967 Apostolic Exhortation, Signum Magnum, on the 50th anniversary of Fatima, it is fitting that we consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as the spiritual Mother of the Church, for her mediatory role in the salvation of the world.

Now, on this 100th anniversary of Fatima, we are reminded again to contemplate its message and embrace its devotions.  Although the Angel of Peace and Our Lady of Fatima appeared during the carnage of World War I, the divine messages are perhaps even more relevant today, in an age of nuclear weapons and renewed militancy across the globe, rampant atheism, materialism and loss of faith, a diminishing Church in the West, and a rapidly growing permissive society.  As faithful disciples, we are called to be holy, and intercessors for each other.  Fatima was a wake-up call.  In it, Jesus’ last words from the Cross come alive “Behold, your mother.” (Jn. 19:27)  In the midst of a passing world, we need to get right with eternal things: penance, Confession, the Eucharist, prayer, especially the Rosary.  Our Lady of Fatima renews this call again, to stay on the narrow path to Heaven.

Brian Kranick


Brian Kranick is a freelance writer focusing on all things Catholic. In addition to other studies, he has a master's degree in Systematic Theology from Christendom College.  He has spent years working as an analyst in the Intelligence Community, and currently resides with his wife and three children in the Pacific Northwest.  He is the author of the blog:

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Richard Paine

    I’m sorry, but you are one year early. The apparitions began on May 13, 1917.

  • Brian Kranick

    The Angel of Peace actually appeared to them in spring 1916, the beginning of the Fatima phenomenon. Mary then first appeared to the children in May 1917.

  • Robert Halny

    “My God, My God, I adore you in the Most Blessed Sacrament ! ” Oh, I’m sorry, Lord. That was just flower pot wrapped in gold tin, not Tabernalcle. Where are you, then? Who is a priest, to dare move You to some obscure corner of Your House? First Saturdays Devotions and Confessions? Except a handful of Churches in America, priests have no idea what that is, or pretend not to know. Confessions? Call for appointment. The faithful will find a way to fulfill Our Blessed Mother’s wishes. Often by commuting long way to some distant church with a Holy Priest. But if the rest of the clergy doesn’t lead by example, it will be them who will have the souls’ destiny on their hands. This Synod, the Fathers went on adventure to accompany those in irregular relations to bring them closer to God. That’s great! But what about those already in the Church? Are we there just to keep the train rolling? Is asking for more confessions, First Friday’s, First Saturday’s, First Sunday’s Devotions, too much? This article should be an open letter to our bishops and priests. The laity is more informed, or responsive, than our priests.

  • ana isabel

    Richard, an angel appeared near the well of their tiny house, in 1916! there is a statue of an angel there to mark it!
    i was born near Fatima…unfortunately it has become an area of businesses ran by family members of Lucia, Jacinta/Francisco! as far as i know from years ago.
    The Shrine where the 3 are buried, doesn’t have a feeling like it used to. A couple of trucks sell candles outside near new church, and outside the Shrine is full of smoke from piles of huge candles (some 5″+) burning in a wide fire! people just buy them and shove them in the fire!! the old feeling is gone, for me at least…the only feeling is of $$$$$$$$$$

  • kathy

    Well Ana, sadly, as we know, where Mary goes so does satan….so we must not let that discourage us is that’s the enemy’s plan. Thank God we know that “in the end Her Immaculate Heart WILL triumph, right…yes, praise God!

  • Robert Halny

    Ana- interesting perspective. I went to Fatima, Lurdes, and Santiago 4 years ago, and had a very positive experience. I guess it all depends what you are focused on. The devotional shops don’t bother me at all. In fact I believe Our Blessed Mother, apart from sending a message to humanity, also boosted the local economy. It’s been so always. Only the pilgrims and tourists change. It’s part of the folklor and very Catholic too.

    But Brian’s article is a waste of time. It insults my intelligence and brings no new perspective. Looking forward to 2017 :).

  • Anthony Scarpantonio

    From your Website- On May 13, 1917, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco, and Jacinta Marto were, respectively, ten, nine, and seven years old. As we have said, the three children lived in Aljustrel, a hamlet of the township of Fatima.

    After three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal in 1916, the children began to receive visits of a luminous Lady who later identified herself as “The Lady of the Rosary.” In Catholic language, “Our Lady of the Rosary” is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God made man.