This year, on May 13, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima, Portugal, will begin. The Blessed Virgin, under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary, appeared six times to three shepherd children: Lucia, ten years old; Francisco nine; and Jacinta, seven. These apparitions took place on the 13th of six consecutive months in 1917. The First World War was raging across Europe and Lenin was in the process of beginning the upheaval of Russia and the enslavement of many in Communism. During the apparitions, the Blessed Virgin gave the children an antidote to the moral and social evils of the world – the message of Fatima.
As we face this great anniversary, we can certainly say that our world is still caught in moral and social evils. As such, we and our world still need to hear and respond to the Blessed Virgin and the message she announced at Fatima. As part of that response, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has granted a plenary indulgence on this 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima.
A plenary indulgence means that by the merits of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sacramentally forgiven sins is obtained. The person becomes as if just baptized and would fly immediately to heaven if one died in that instant. A partial indulgence means that a portion of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin is remitted. Partial indulgences are received either by doing some act to which a partial indulgence is attached (e.g. praying a partially indulgenced prayer), or by the incomplete fulfillment of the conditions attached to a plenary indulgence.
For us who will not be able to make a pilgrimage to Fatima, the Holy Father still offers ways in which to receive this plenary indulgence.
One way applies to “the pious faithful who visit with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly exposed for public veneration in any church, oratory or proper place during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions, the 13th of each month from May to October (2017), and there devoutly participate in some celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary.” St. Paul Parish will have such a shrine in our chapel starting May 13, 2017. A special prayer service will take place the 13th of each month May to October to celebrate the anniversary.
If one is not able to come to the prayer service, one can participate in a celebration of prayer on their own including an Our Father, the Creed and an invocation Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer cards will be available in the chapel to assist one to do this.
In the case of someone who is elderly or infirmed and who, because of age, illness or other serious cause, are unable to get around, the Holy Father has offered another way to obtain the plenary indulgence. These individuals can pray in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and must spiritually unite themselves to the jubilee celebrations on the days of the apparitions, the 13th of each month, between May and October 2017.
In both cases, those seeking the plenary indulgence must “offer to merciful God with confidence, through Mary, their prayers and sufferings or the sacrifices they make in their own lives” as well as fulfilling the normal requirements to receive the plenary indulgence. Namely, in order to obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful who are truly repentant and filled with charity must fulfill the following ritual conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father. The prayer for the intentions of the Pope normally consists of an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be.
Please join the parish as together we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions and Message of Our Lady of Fatima. A special thank you to Deacon Tom Kathman for not letting us forget to celebrate this event and for making our celebration happen.