The 91st Anniversary of Fatima

On May 13, 1917, on a hillside outside Fatima, Portugal, three shepherd children saw a lady "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."

For the next six months, on the 13th day of the month, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

The final apparition, on October 13, 1917, was accompanied by the "Miracle of the Sun." As many as 70,000 people saw the sun dance in the sky, then plunge toward the earth. The sheer number of witnesses weighed strongly in the decision to proclaim the apparitions at Fatima "worthy of belief" in 1930.

Sixty-four years after the first apparition, on May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square. Despite massive blood loss, the Holy Father survived, a fact he credited to Our Lady of Fatima: "For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet."

There is no better way to celebrate the 91st anniversary of Fatima than to pray the rosary, which the Blessed Virgin asked the children to recite every day. In fact, most Catholics incorporate into the rosary a prayer known as the Fatima Prayer, which was revealed by Our Lady to the children on July 13, 1917. Recited at the end of each ten Hail Marys, it is also known as the Decade Prayer.

In this month of May, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, may Our Lady of Fatima intercede for us!

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