13 May 2020 22:42
.- For the first time in its history, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima celebrated the May 13 anniversary of the 1917 Marian apparitions without the presence of the public. "Yes, the sanctuary is empty, but not deserted. We are physically separated, but spiritually united as a Church with Mary, in an intense way, with a heart full of faith and trust," Cardinal António Marto said as he led the rosary on the eve of the anniversary. "Holy Mary, teach us to believe, hope, and love you. Star of the Sea, shine on us and guide us on our way in the sea of history," the cardinal prayed.
Marto, the bishop of Leiria-Fátima, offered Mass May 13 via livestream at the Fatima shrine, calling for conversion and dedication to the rosary in response to the coronavirus pandemic. "A pandemic is a call to a deep spiritual conversion," Cardinal Marto said in his homily May 13. "A short time ago we were living with enormous trust in the technical-scientific power, in the economical-financial power, thinking that we were perhaps immune to any epidemic or, if it came, a quick solution would be found. But, unexpectedly, an unpredictable, invisible, silent virus, able to contaminate everything and all, staggering the world. We felt the ground falter under our feet," he said.
At Fatima's Chapel of the Apparitions, Cardinal Marto led the rosary May 12 with meditations on the sorrowful mysteries for the intention of ending the coronavirus pandemic. "To the virus pandemic we want to respond with unity and prayer, with compassion and tenderness," he said. "Today we respond with the rosary, a prayer for difficult times," Marto said. "By meditating on the painful mysteries, we unite all the suffering humanity. We entrust our pain to Mary's maternal heart." The cardinal then quoted the Virgin Mary's request when she appeared to three shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco on May 13, 1917: "Pray the rosary every day to bring peace to the world and an end to the war." Jacinta and Francisco Marto were canonized on May 13, 2017, by Pope Francis in Portugal.
Both of the young saints died of the Spanish flu pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people in the early 20th century. Pope Francis encouraged devotion to Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience offered via livestream from the Vatican's Apostolic Palace May 13. "Today we celebrate the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Fatima," he said. "We turn our thoughts to the apparitions and its message transmitted throughout the world." "In our prayer we ask God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for peace for the world, the end of the pandemic, the spirit of penance and our conversion," Pope Francis said. Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the makers of the new film Fatima had planned on releasing their movie weeks ahead of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. As of now, the movie isn't slated to open until August 14. As we wait for the release of this highly anticipated film, there are fortunately a number of excellent movies about the 1917 apparitions of the Blessed Virgin which were witnessed by three children in Fatima, Portugal. In 2017, on the occasion fo the 100th anniversary of the apparitions, Sr. Marie Paul, of the Daughters of St. Paul, reviewed the best of the Fatima films at their website, www.Pauline.org. Many of these movies are available for purchase as DVDs. The Miracle of Our Lady of Fátima (1952) At the top of Sr. Marie Paul's list is The Miracle of Our Lady of Fátima, available for streaming now — so you can get into the spirit of today's Feast of Our Lady of Fátima. Sr. Marie Paul calls this classic from 1952 "the best of them all." In addition to its largely accurate portrayal of the events that occurred in 1917, the movie, she writes, "makes the story and message of Fátima accessible to everyone, showing Our Lady to be a most tender and loving mother. It is appropriate and appealing to people of all ages." Available to rent on Amazon, Vudu and elsewhere. The Portuguese Sanctuary of Fatima ends today the celebration of a new anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin, who for the first time in 100 years did so without pilgrims amid the security measures implemented to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The Shrine decided to celebrate without faithful the commemoration that traditionally concentrated tens of thousands of people from the previous day and the Church called to light candles at home and to follow the liturgy by telematic means, in a "pilgrimage of the heart". Yesterday, two pilgrims bypassed security restrictions and attempted to reach the Chapel of the Apparitions, but were stopped by security agents and were detained by the Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR), the Shrine reported to Portuguese media. On the night of May 12 and the morning of May 13, this centennial ceremony marks the day that three illiterate child shepherds reported seeing visions of the Virgin. "An atypical May pilgrimage". This is how the sanctuary itself presents what is a commemoration that includes the traditional candlelight procession, the recitation of the rosary and the mass, the other highlight of the celebration. Like the sanctuary of Lourdes, France, Fatima attracts some six million pilgrims from around the world each year to thank Our Lady of Fatima, or to ask for help. Authorities this year urged people not to travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, and police put up a security cordon and cordoned off routes leading to the sanctuary. With a progressive relaxation of the quarantine decreed last week, Portugal registers 28,132 infections and 1,175 deaths from coronaviruses, according to the balance of the Johns Hopkins University. Some 500 new cases were registered between Wednesday and Friday of last week, which set off alarms, and feared new restrictions, with the aggravating circumstance that more than half corresponded to the Lisbon region, which had less than a fourth part of the infections in an epidemic hitherto focused mainly in the north of the country. However, over the weekend the new infections detected fell below two hundred. A 48-year-old Irish man was detained on Tuesday evening in Fátima, Portugal, after jumping over a fence and making a dash across the otherwise empty shrine grounds. The incident took place on 12 of May, just minutes before the beginning of the official vigil which marks the first apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children, in 1917. This year, for the first time since the shrine was built, pilgrims were barred from attending the celebrations. On a usual 12th of May hundreds of thousands would be expected at the shrine for the recitation of the Rosary, the candlelit procession and mass. Some Catholics tried to make the pilgrimage anyway, despite the Portuguese bishop's request that they not do so. A heavy police presence and the fact that the entrance to the shrine itself was closed kept the crowds away. The Irish man, whose name has not been revealed, jumped over a fence and, holding a framed image of Mary, made a dash for the Chapel of the Apparitions, that marks the exact spot where the apparitions took place. Despite managing to elude the first officers who tried to stop him, he was eventually apprehended and detained. A woman also ran towards the chapel at the same time, although it was not clear if the two were together. Her identity and nationality have not been revealed.