PORTLAND---This year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, where the Blessed Mother appeared once each month from May 13 until October 13, 1917.
A list of many of the special gatherings and celebrations planned at parishes and venues around Maine this weekend can be found below.
On May 13, 1917, three shepherd children named Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco saw a vision of the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal. The three children had taken their flocks out to a pasture known as the Cova da Iria when they suddenly saw a bright flash of light, followed by another flash. They looked up to see, in Lucia’s words, “A lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun.” The woman was holding a rosary and said to the children, “Do not be afraid, I will not harm you. I come from heaven.”
Mary appeared to the children monthly, a total of six times, bringing a message of prayer, penance, and reparation. She urged them to pray the rosary every day to bring peace to the world and an end to war. The children were also told a three-part secret, which included a vision of hell, a request for a devotion to her Immaculate Heart and for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and a foretelling of the Second World War and of persecutions that humanity would suffer.
The visits culminated with the so-called “Miracle of the Sun,” which occurred on Sunday, October 13, 1917. The miracle was foretold by the Blessed Mother, and thousands turned out to see what they described as the sun appearing to dance in the sky.
The apparitions were declared of “supernatural character” by the Catholic Church in 1930, and a shrine was erected near the original apparition site in Fatima. Each year, thousands of pilgrims make journeys to Fatima. They have included Pope Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis will visit Fatima on May 12-13 when will canonize two of the Fatima visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Here is a list of Maine events commemorating the anniversary this weekend:
Thursday, May 11
A “Theology on Tap” will be held at Pat’s Pizza, located at 30 Market Street, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will be held upstairs in the group room. Fr. Kyle Doustou, parochial vicar for the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes, will present “In the End, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph: The Story and Message of Our Lady of Fatima.” Fr. Doustou will discuss Our Lady’s apparitions and message of peace.
Friday, May 12
The movie The 13th Day, which dramatizes the story of the shepherd children to whom Our Lady appeared, will be shown at St. Philip Church on 2365 Turner Road at 6:30 p.m. The movie, which is not suitable for young children, tells of the children's steadfast commitment to tell of Our Lady's appearances to them, despite attempts to silence them. The movie culminates with "The Miracle of the Sun."
The Parish of the Precious Blood will hold an Our Lady of Fatima 100th Anniversary Celebration at Holy Rosary Church on 34 Vaughn Street at 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 13
A special Mass will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Church on 8 Sacred Heart Place at 10 a.m. The Mass will conclude with a procession to statues of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children to whom she appeared.
A public square rosary will be prayed outside St. Mary of the Assumption Church on 41 Western Avenue at noon, honoring our Blessed Mother's request for prayer and penance by praying for our families and our country, firmly placing ourselves under the Blessed Mother's mantle of protection.
The Sacred Heart Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is organizing “Mary’s Day” at St. Mary Church on 144 Lincoln Street. The event will begin with Mass and a May “Crowning of Mary” procession starting at 9 a.m. Refreshments will be served after Mass. At 10:30 a.m., Dr. Joseph Ricciardi, a psychologist from Massachusetts who serves people with disabilities, will offer a presentation entitled “Blessing and Gift.” Following the presentation, there will be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, benediction, and a recitation of the rosary at 11:30 a.m.
A “Rosary Rally” will be held on the lawn of St. Anne Parish on 299 Main Street at noon. The celebration will feature music, information brochures, and free rosaries. A website promoting the rallies (which will be held monthly) has been created at www.maineneedsfatima.org. All are welcome, including non-Catholics and those who have never prayed the rosary.
“Fatima: The 100th Anniversary Conference” will be held at St. Anthony Monastery, located on 28 Beach Avenue, on Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14. During the conference, several keynote speakers will offer presentations on topics connected to the centennial including Fr. John Bacevicius, Fr. D. Joseph Manship, Deacon Darrell Blackwell, and Dr. Peter J. McNelis. Masses will be offered in both the ordinary and extraordinary form, and there will be recitation of the rosary, a May “Crowning of Mary” procession, the sacrament of reconciliation, eucharistic adoration, and the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence opportunity for the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, the conditions for which could be met at the conference in Kennebunk. The registration fee is $25. Overnight options are available. To register, call (207) 274-0247 or email Fatima100conference@gmail.com.
The children of St. Agnes Parish and the Ladies Guild will lead the recitation of the rosary at 3:15 p.m. at St. Agnes Church on 238 Detroit Street. There will also be Fatima Novena prayer cards at the entrances to the church.
St. Brendan the Navigator Parish will celebrate a special outdoor Mass at 9 a.m. near the Our Lady of Fatima statues outside St. Bernard Church on 150 Broadway. Please bring your own lawn chair. The Mass will be held inside the church if it is raining.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish invites all to the public praying of the rosary at noon at the Gowen Park Gazebo, located off Gowen Park Drive in Sanford. The rosary will then be prayed on the 13th of every month, at 6 p.m., through October 13.
The rosary will be recited and prayers offered for America at 3 p.m. at St. Bruno - St. Remi Church on 174 Main Street.
An outdoor rosary and litany to the Blessed Mother will be held at 9 a.m. at the Fatima statue at Sacred Heart Church on 72 Pleasant Street. In the event of rain, the rosary and litany will be prayed inside the church. The rosary will also be led by a representative of “America Needs Fatima” at noon at the Old Post Office in Waterville.