HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER
CONSECRATION OF THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA...
BLESSED JACINTA AND BLESSED FRANCISCO OF FATIMA - WHY WE
SHOULD TEACH THEIR LIVES TO TODAY'S CHILDREN. By Fr. Robert J. Fox...
FATIMA FAMILY APOSTOLATE IN POLAND...
MARY'S WHITE LEAGUE IN POLAND...
THE SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA
Zakopane - Krzeptówki
Pallotines and the "Message of Fatima".
The Pallotines have been propagators and missionaries of the devotion to
Our Lady of Fatima in Poland since 1946. In 1951 Krzeptówki became the
Center of the Cult of Our Lady of Fatima in the Society of Catholic
Apostolate. In 1961 a group of Pallotine missionaries began "The Rosary in
Families" retreat which included a visitation of the statue of Our Lady of
Fatima. The program spread all over Poland.
The Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It was built in 1951 and consecrated by the late Archbishop Baziak on 11
October, 1959. There is the historical statue of Our Lady given by the
Bishop of Fatima in 1961 to Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński and subsequently
turned over to the chapel.
On October 15, 1961 the statue and the chapel in the park were consecrated
by Karol Wojtyła, the Bishop of Cracow.
On 21 October, 1987 the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was crowned in Rome
by Holy Father John Paul II in St. Peter's Square. It has been in the
presbyteri of the Shrine since then.
The Church of Our Lady of Fatima - voting offering for saving John Paul
II's life on 13 May 1981.
In July 1987 the building site was blessed.
13 May 1992 the church was blessed by Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, the
Metropolitan of Cracow.
On 7 June, 1997, the first Saturday of the month and the liturgical memory
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, John Paul II arrived at the Sanctuary of
Our Lady of Fatima in Krzeptówki. At first Holy Father visited the Chapel
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. After that John Paul II celebrated a Holy
Mass in the Sanctuary Church consecrated the church and gave His homily.
Today the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane - is the centre of
the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima extending all over Poland and Europe,
and a place of unceasing prayer for the intention of Holy Father.
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER
CONSECRATION OF THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA
Zakopane - Krzeptówki - 7 June 1997
Today on the liturgical memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, we gather in Krzeptówki, in this parish church, in order to
bless it, that is, to consecrate it. It is not enough for a church merely
to be built; it needs to be dedicated, by a liturgical act, to the Most
High. I give thanks to God for being able to consecrate your church today.
I have been warmly invited to do so, and on several occasions. I thank
Divine Providence that I am able to come among you today and accept your
invitation. I greet you with a father's love. I greet all who live in
What does it mean to dedicate or consecrate a Church? The best answer to
this question is provided by the liturgical readings. The first reading,
taken from the book of the Prophet Nehemiah, recalls the well-known event
in the Old Testament when the Israelites, after returning from slavery in
Babylon, set about rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. First built in the
time of the great kings, it had shared in the Chosen People's periods of
splendour and decadence; it had witnessed the deportation and enslavement
of the sons and daughters of Israel; afterwards it had been destroyed and
now needed to be rebuilt. The Chosen People experienced this moment
intensely. With cries of lamentation they began the great work. And behold,
their sadness was turned into joy (cf. Neh 8:2-11).
Against the background of this description we can understand even better
the words of the second reading, taken from the First Letter of Saint
Peter, and the words of the Gospel which has just been proclaimed. "On you
I will build my Church", Christ says to Peter, when the Apostle confesses
his faith in the Son of God. "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh
and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is
in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my
Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Mt
The Church is not only a sacred building. The Lord Jesus says that the
Church is built on rock, and the rock is the faith of Peter. The Church is
a community of believers who profess their faith in the living God and
bear witness - like Peter - to the fact that Christ is the Son of God, the
Redeemer of the world. You, dear brothers and sisters, are a small part of
this great community of the Church built on the faith of Peter. Together
with your Bishop, together with the Pope, you proclaim and profess faith
in the Son of God and on this faith you base your whole personal, family
and professional life. In this way you share in the Kingdom of Heaven. For
Christ said to Peter: "I will give you the
keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be
bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven"
This shrine of yours, which today is being consecrated to God, must serve
the Church - the community, living men and women. This is even more
profoundly expressed in the passage from the Letter of Peter which we have
heard. In it the Apostle speaks of the Church as a house built of living
stones. We ourselves are this house, we ourselves are these living stones
which make up the whole spiritual temple. Its cornerstone is Christ:
Christ Crucified and Risen. He himself became the cornerstone of the
Church, as the great community of the People of God in the New Covenant.
That community, as the Apostle Peter writes, is a holy priesthood (cf. 1
Pet 2:5). United to Christ, it is "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation, a people whom God has made his own, to
declare the wonderful deeds of him who called us out of darkness into his
marvellous light" (cf. 1 Pet 2:9). Your beautiful church, which you have
built along with your pastors, is to serve the community of the Church,
and therefore needs to be blessed, consecrated, devoted to God himself, as
a space in which the People of God gather and pray. Not only God's People
in Krzeptówki and Zakopane, but also those who come here
from different places in Poland for a restful stay in the mountains. To
all the tourists and summer residents I offer good wishes that your closer
contact with nature will lead you to an encounter with God in prayer.
Looking at your church, so beautifully decorated, I have before my eyes
those wooden churches - increasingly rare nowadays - which used to rise
throughout Poland, but above all in Podhale and Podkarpacie: authentic
treasures of popular architecture. All of them, like your own, were built
with the cooperation of the pastors and faithful of the
individual parishes. They were built by a common effort, so that the Holy
Sacrifice could be celebrated there, so that Christ in the Eucharist would
be together with his people day and night, at times of great joy and
elation, and at times of trial, suffering and humiliation, and even on
plain grey days. To the International Eucharistic Congress of Wroclaw we
need to add this whole great chapter of the sacramental presence of Christ
which every church in Poland hides in itself.
Churches are also places where solemn celebrations are held: the Nativity
of the Lord, Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Domini, the Marian feasts. Here the
faithful gather for the devotions of May and June, for the rosary. Finally,
churches are places where the memory of the dead is preserved. Just as the
beginning of the religious life of each believer is linked to the
baptismal font, so too its end, death and the funeral, take place in its
shadow. Often parish cemeteries are themselves right next to the church.
These churches, then, are monuments to the history of the whole nation, of
individual communities, parishes, families and individual men and women.
The Church is a place of memory and yet of hope: it faithfully preserves
the past while constantly pointing people towards the future, not only the
future of time but also that of the afterlife. In churches we profess our
belief in the forgiveness of sins, in the resurrection of the body and in
life eternal. Here we experience daily the mystery of the communion of
saints: indeed, each church has its patron saint, and very many are
dedicated to Our Lady. I rejoice that in Zakopane and Podhale new churches
have risen, magnificent monuments to the living faith of the people of
this area. Their beauty matches the beauty of the Tatra Mountains and is
the reflection of the same beauty spoken of in the inscription on the
Cross by Wincenty Pol in Kolcieliska Valley: "Nothing is greater than God".
Dear brothers and sisters! Your shrine in Krzeptówki is particularly near
and dear to me. In it you honour the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The
history of this shrine is also linked with the event which took place in
Saint Peter's Square on 13 May 1981. At that time I experienced mortal
danger and suffering, but also the great mercy of God. By the intercession
of Our Lady of Fatima my life was given back to me. During my stay in
hospital I was the object of a great outpouring of human kindness from all
parts of the world: it was expressed above all in prayer. At that time I
had in my mind's eye a picture of the life of the first Christians who "raised
prayers to God unceasingly" (cf. Acts 12:5) when the life of Peter was in
I know that Zakopane too took part in the prayer of the Church throughout
the world for my return to health and to the ministry of Peter. I know
that you gathered in your parish churches and in the Chapel of Our Lady of
Fatima in Krzeptówki to recite the rosary to obtain for me a recovery of
health and strength. At that time plans were first made to build here, at
the foot of Mount Giewont, a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima as a votive
offering of thanksgiving for my life having been spared. I know that this
shrine, which today I am able to consecrate, was built by many hands and
many hearts united by hard work, sacrifice and love for the Pope. It is
hard for me to speak of this without being moved.
Dear brothers and sisters! I have come among you to thank you for your
goodness, your thoughts and your continuing prayer. I was your Pastor for
twenty years; today I come among you as the Successor of Saint Peter. You
have always helped me. You were with me and you understood my concerns. I
felt this. It was a great support for me. Today I thank you from my heart
for this attitude of faith and devotion to the Church. Here, in this land
of Podhale, the Bishop always found support in you. Here too our homeland
found support in you, especially in thyour Pastor for twenty years; today
I come among you as the Successor of Saint Peter. You have always helped
me. You were with me and you understood my concerns. I felt this. It was a
great support for me. Today I thank you
from my heart for this attitude of faith and dTotus tuus... I thank you
all for this church. It is filled with your love for the Church and for
the Pope. In some sense it is the continuation of my gratitude to God and
to his Mother. Together with you I rejoice greatly in this gift.
With words of profound gratitude I also address all my fellow countrymen
and the faithful of the Church, especially the sick and suffering who pray
for the Pope and offer their daily crosses for him. Suffering experienced
together with Christ is a very great gift and a most effective help in the
apostolate. "In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross
of the Redeemer, it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of
Christ's sacrifice that is the irreplaceable mediator and author of the
good things which are indispensable for the world's salvation. It is
suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace
which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes
present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption" (Salvifici
With gratitude for the gift of prayer and sacrifice, and from my heart, I
ask all of you once more, as I did on the day of the inauguration of my
pontificate: "Pray for me. Help me to serve you". I too pray for you daily.
This shrine in Krzeptówki is linked by close spiritual bonds with Fatima
in Portugal. From there too came the statue of Our Lady which you venerate.
The message of Fatima, which Mary gave to the world through three poor
children, consists in an exhortation to conversion, prayer, especially the
rosary, and reparation for one's own sins and for those of all mankind.
This message flows from the Gospel, from the words which Christ spoke at
the very beginning of his public ministry: "Repent, and believe in the
Gospel!" (Mk 1:15). It aims at man's interior transformation, at the
defeat of sin within him and the strengthening of goodness, and at the
attainment of holiness. This message is addressed in particular to the
people of our century, a century which has been marked by war, hatred, the
violation of fundamental human rights, the immense suffering of
individuals and nations, and finally by the struggle against God, carried
even to the denial of his existence. The message of Fatima is an
outpouring of the love of the Heart of the Mother, who is always open to
her child, never loses sight of him, thinks of him always, even when he
leaves the straight path and becomes a "prodigal son" (cf. Lk 15:11-32).
The Immaculate Heart of Mary, which we commemorate today in the Church's
Liturgy, was opened to us on Calvary by the words of the dying Jesus: "Woman,
behold your son!'. Then he said to the disciple: Behold, your mother!' And
from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (Jn 19:26-27). At
the foot of the Cross Mary became the mother of all those redeemed by
Christ. Under her maternal protection she took John and she takes every
human being. From that time on, the greatest concern of her Immaculate
Heart is the eternal salvation of all men and women.
From the beginning your shrine has proclaimed the message of Fatima and
draws its life from it. You have a particular devotion to the Immaculate
Heart of the Virgin Mary; you make the Family Rosary Crusade; in prayer
you embrace the important problems of the Church, the Pope, the world, the
homeland, the souls in purgatory and those who have abandoned God's love,
breaking the covenant made with him at Holy Baptism. Pray perseveringly
for the grace of their conversion. Turn with confidence to Mary, "Refuge
of Sinners", that she may defend them from becoming hardened in sin and
from the slavery of Satan. Pray with faith, that people may know and
acknowledge "the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent" (cf. Jn
17:3). This prayer expresses your love for mankind, a prayer which desires
the greatest good for everyone.
"At no time and in no historical period - especially at a moment as
critical as our own - can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for
the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and
threaten it" (Dives in Misericordia, 15).
Mother, plead for us! Mother, pray for us!
O Mary, Mother of God,
Intercede for us!
BLESSED JACINTA AND BLESSED FRANCISCO OF FATIMA - WHY WE SHOULD TEACH
THEIR LIVES TO TODAY'S CHILDREN.
By Fr. Robert J. Fox
The two younger
children of the Fatima apparitions, Jacinta and Francisco, beatified May
13, 2000, right at Fatima, are the youngest non - martyred children ever
to be officially declared by the Church to be in heaven. We may easily
imagine that baptised children who die before adolescence go to heaven but
for the process of the Church to so declare is another matter involving
certain heroic Christian virtues and miracles worked through their
intercession. Now, for the firs time in 2000 years, pre - teen children,
who were not martyrs, but who had childhood weaknesses like other children,
have been officially beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.
Children now have their own special models as heavenly intercessors.
Strikingly, there is one model for boys and one for girls. Francisco and
Jacinta Marto, who died at 9 and 11 years of age respectively, were
brother and sister.
CHILDREN HAD "HEROIC VIRTUES"
I recall clearly how some in the Catholic press reported on the
declaration of their "heroic virtue" in 1989.It was questioned that such
young children could be capable of "heroic virtue". It was asked, "Is it
wise to so declare such young children heroic in virtue just because they
had seen the Mother of God in the innocence of childhood?"
The Church has made it clear that their beatification will not be because
they saw the Mother of God near Fatima, Portugal in 1917 in the six famous
approved apparitions with world wide significance.
When they were declared "Venerable" on May 13, 1989 a clarification was
given by Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, of the Pontifical Council for the Family,
when he came to the annual national Fatima Family Congress in 1989 at the
Shrine in Alexandria, South Dakota: "When they are beatified - or -
canonised, it will not be because they saw Our Lady. It will be because of
their heroic virtue, their personal holiness." The children at that time
had just been declared venerable and it was Cardinal Gagnon who presented
the final results of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to the Pope
with recommendation for this first step of recognition by the universal
Church. Pope John Paul II then declared that the children had practised
the theological, cardinal and other virtues to an heroic degree. It gave
them the title "Venerable".
The path leading to the beatification was not an easy one. The first step
required for the process to be accepted was the decision of the Plenary
Assembly of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that is was possible
for such small children, even though they had not suffered martyrdom, to
have practised virtue to a heroic degree and so be fitting subjects for
canonisation. After prolonged study and discussion, it was decided on
April 2, 1981, that it is possible for children at such a young age to be
capable of heroic virtue. It had to be proven that such heroism is
possible for children psychologically and every other way.
This decision was important for the Church in modern times of catechetical
crisis in the education and formation of children in the fullness of true
faith and Christian virtue. Many had claimed that Christianity was only an
adult religion and thus profound and even basic education and formation of
children was being delayed until later in life in many cases. "Since
Christianity," - they said, "is an adult religion we will not teach them
much about the faith until they are at least adolescents." And little was
taught millions of our children who thus are deprived as adults of the
fullness of true faith. Without early foundation, they fail to attain the
fullness of true faith.
Pope John Paul II approved of the decision that heroic virtue in children
is possible. He conferred on the two little shepherds the title of "Venerable"
While the miracle that opened the way for their beatification took place
in 1987, not until 1999 was tit finally accepted by the Vatican's Causes
for the Saints as miraculous.
MIRACLE NEEDED FOR BEATIFICATION
On June 28,1999 the decree issued by the Congregation for the Causes of
Saints concerning the scientifically attested miracle obtained through the
intercession of the Venerable Servants of God, Francisco and Jacintaq
Marto, was promulgated in the presence of the Holy Father in the Sala
Clementina in the Vatica.
The case of the miracle declared scientifically or medically inexplicable
was a miraculous cure of a Portuguese lady, Maria Emilia Santos, who in
1946, when she was 16 years old , began to sufferer rheumatic pains with
slight difficulty in walking. Two years later, she had more severe pains
in her legs, with impaired movement. She then was unable to walk on
account of the intense pains in her lower limbs. She underwent two spine
operations and her condition deteriorated considerably with complete
immobilisation of the lower limbs. Maria Emilia was forced to lie flat on
a hard bed, and was able to do no more than move her head and her hands.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints in issuing the Decree Concerning
the Miracle after describing the case of Maria Emilia as given above added
"Given the inability of science to do anything to help her after 22 years
of immobility, the patient placed all her trust in divine help, through
the intercession of the Servants of God, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. On
March 25, 1987 she suddenly felt heat in her feet and managed to sit up,
which she had been quite unable to do for a long time. On February 20,1989
she was able to stand up and walk for the first time without pain
thereafter she was able to walk normally."
Pope John Paul II in accordance with the wishes of the Congregation for
the Causes of Saints, ordained that the decree concerning the miracle
should be promulgated. The Pope declared: "It is clear that we are dealing
with a miracle performed by God through the intercession of the Servants
of God Francisco Marto, boy and Jacint Marto, girl, namely the rapid,
complete and lasting cure of Maria Emilia Santos of a paraplegia probably
due to a transverse myelitis which had lasted 22 years, there being no
sigh of psychic pathology."
According to International Vice-Postulator for the Cause during the past
40 years, Fr. Luis Kondor,, S.D.V. - the announcement from the Vatican to
beatify, the first step toward sainthood, Jacinta and Francisco was
received by Sr. Lucia with "great rejoicing."
According to Fr. Kondor, postulator, the account of the miracle is as
follows: Maria Emila Santos, paralysed for 22 years had no feeling
whatsoever form her waist downwards, but suffered great pain in the upper
part of her spine and could only barely move her hands and head. During
retreat for the sick in Fatima, she began to have great devotion to the
little shepherds and to make continuous novenas to them. On the night of
March 25, 1987 she heard a child's voice saying: "Sit up because you can."
She sat up at once, without feeling any pain.
She began to use a wheel chair and continued with her novenas. Some months,
later on the anniversary of the death of Jacinta , February 20, Maria
Emilia Santos stood up and began to walk.
The Curia of Leiria, Portugal, conducted a diocesan investigation in 1997
concerning the cure, which was deemed to be miraculous. It then had to
pass to the Roman Congregation which issued its final decree concerning
the miracle on June 28, 1999.
BEATIFICATION TO BE IN FATIMA
It was first announced by Vatican that the beatification of Francisco and
Jacinta Marto would take place April 9, 2000 at Rome. Later on November
28. 1999 it was announced that the date and place had been changed to May
13, 2000, at Fatima. There is great significance in these acts and change.
The Pope's first decision to beatify at Rome indicated the universal
significance he sees in the message of Fatima and the role models of
Jacinta and Francisco for children of the entire world. The image of Our
Lady of Fatima, as described by Lucia always shows her with a golden ball
at her waist, representative that the Fatima message is for the world. The
sanctuary of Fatima has been called by popes " the altar of the world". So,
in finally beautifying the children in the Jubilee Year at Fatima, the
children of the world would have these models for intercessors.
Pope John Paul II regarded the Jubilee Year 2000 as ideal for pilgrimages.
It was first determined that for the Jubilee the Pope would travel only to
site s significant in Biblical salvation history. It was said that the
Holy Father would not undertake the normal international pastoral trips
that have characterised his pontificate. He is scheduled for four "Biblical"
pilgrimages outside of Rome: Iraq, where he will visit Ur of the Chaldeans,
Braham's birthplace; Egypt, to go to Sinai, scene of the dialogue between
God and Moses; Holy Land, including Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem.
Also Syria, to visit Damascus and follow in St. Paul's foot steps. (He
finally went to Damascus in May 2001 where emphasis for Christian Unity
was given. You may read this in the book on Soufanieh, Light form the East)
Since the Pope's trips outside of Italy for the Great Jubilee 2000 were
scheduled to be limited only to places of biblical revelation, it came as
a surprise, a November 28, 1999 announcement making an exception. The Pope
announced he would go also to Fatima, where Our Lady appeared to three
young shepherds in 1917. Each pope since 1930 had said, "Fatiam is a
reaffirmation of the Gospels" . Now Fatima would be the only Jubilee
pilgrimage outside of Rome not traced back to ancient Biblical sites.
BULLET FROM THE POPE NOW IN FATIMA'S CROWN.
Sister Lucia, a Carmelite nun, now over 95 years of age, residing in Sr.
Theresa's Monastery in Leiria near Fatima was present at the beatification.
The date chosen for the beatification was May 13,2000, the feast day of
Our Lady of Fatima, and the 19th anniversary of the 1981 attempt against
the Pop's life in St. Peter's Square by Turk Ali Agca.
Pope John Paul II has attributed the sparing of his life after the attack
to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima. He said: "One hand fired, and
another guided the bullet"
The bullet form the attack is now incrusted into the Cova da Iria's crown
of the miraculous statue of the Virgin of Fatima at the Holy Father's
request. That special crown is placed on the statue only for the solemn
anniversaries of May 12 - 13 , May through October each year. The crown
was made of the wedding rings of Portuguese women and melted down to form
the corwn. Even family life, marriage, is thus represented in the Crown of
the Queen of the world at Fatima.
The extraordinary tie that unites Pope John Paul II to the Virgin of
Fatima is seen in a further event which His Holiness had scheduled for the
Jubilee Year 2000. For October 7 and 8 Feast of the Holy Rosary, the
miraculous Fatima statue was brought form the Cova da Iria at Fatima to
Rome. On that occasion the Pope recited the Rosary with his brothers
bishops and solemnly consecrated the Church and the world to Our Lady for
the Third Millennium. Vatican spokespersons made clear that it was not the
same as the Consecration of the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart
of Mary. That had been accomplished on March 25, 1984.
CHILDREN WILLING TO FACE MARTYRDOM
The children of Fatima proved their heroic virtue when on July 13, 1017
the administrator took them to jail, threatening them with death in
boiling oil if they did not tell the secret received from Our Lady. Each
refused while thinking they would thus be killed, even that the others had
already been killed. Their penance regarding food, drink, and various
physical afflictions - all for the conversion of sinners - and in
reparation to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary , manifest their heroic virtues.
The long hours at prayer, heads to the ground, adoring the Most Holy
Trinity, to whom they offered the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world and
in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which God
is offended, was another testimony of their heroic virtues. Their sense of
Eucharistic Reparation was profound and each longed to be near their
Eucharistic Lord. Their souls were overwhelmed with sorrows at souls
falling into hell with no one to pray or make sacrifices for them. Thus
the children sacrificed to save souls as many as possible.
Our Lady has said that Francisco must pray many Rosaries before entering
heaven. His reply was "I will say as many Rosaries as Our Lady desires" .
Thereafter he was seen almost constantly with the rosary.
Francisco was given especially to contemplation of God who was so
sorrowful for the sins of mankind. Jacinta was specially drawn to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, and according to Lucia, was given a special
depth of insight into what is meant by devotion to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary for the salvation of souls. Given a choice by Our Blessed Mother to
die now or stay longer to suffer for the salvation of more souls, Jacinta
chose to spend more day upon earth suffering loner in order to save more
Bishop Albert Amaral of Leiria - Fatima in a homily on February 20, 1986
anniversary of her death, once said: "The child is for us a tremendous
challenge. Faced with the heroicity of this child, I feel uneasy about my
mediocrity, my cowardice and conveniences, my lack of generosity ... Let
us ask her to intercede for us with God with Our Lady, that we may be
faithful to our vocation of holiness in Christ, in the Church and in the
Bishop Amaral quoted the doctor who operated on Jacinta in the D.
Estefania Hospital in Lisbon shortly before her death. The doctor spoke of
the seriously painful operation as "Jacinta had already passed through
great suffering with this illness before coming ot the hospital and also
during the days before the operation. Then she did not have a general
anaesthetic a local anaesthetic in inflamed tissue causes much greater
suffering. The operation was a slow process ... I got the impression that
this child had great courage ... The only words which I heard her saying
during the operation were: "Oh my Jesus! Oh my God! " The doctor spoke of
Jacinta's patience as "absolutely heroic. "
FRANCISCO FOCUSED ON THE EUCHARIST
Francisco did not bother going to school when the other children did,
since Our Lady had said he would be taken to heaven soon. Instead, when
Lucia left for school Francisco would go to the Church where he spent the
day before the Most Blessed Sacrament, drawing as close to the tabernacle
as he could Then, when Lucia returned from school at the day's close she
would find him before the Most Blessed Sacrament. He was a good natured
boy who loved nature itself with its animals, never asserted his rights
but was willing to gently give the others.
TRANSFORMATION AFTER VISION OF HELL
The great transformation of Jacinta and Francisco began to take place
especially after they were shown the terrible vision of hell "where the
souls of poor sinners go" . Lucia in her memoirs makes careful note of
this saying that still some decline teaching little children about hell
when heaven did not decline to show this vision to three children one
hardly more than six years of age at the time. The vision of hell was so
terrible that Lucia felt they would have died of fright on the spot had
they not each been promised heaven.
The little shepherds who had our Lady as a Catechist learned well that
without the Cross there is no redemption. To suffer to save souls from the
fires of hell to suffer in order to console God who is so offended, was
the ideal in the lives of Jacinta and Francisco.
To the heresy of modern times that would say "Jesus Christ yes, the Church
no" the little shepherds can teach modern children well. Francisco
understood deeply that without the Church there could be no "Hidden Jesus
" as the children called Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed
Sacrament of the tabernacle. Jacinta's sacrifices and prayers were offered
for the Holy Father. She added three Hail Mays to each Rosary for the Pope.
When Pope John Paul beatified the children On May 13, 2000 before hundreds
of thousands of people and television cameras, he thanked Blessed Jacinta
publicly for her prayers and sacrifices for the Pope.
The modern tendency to put emphasis on activity while forgetting to learn
how to pray or take time to pray finds an answer in the little shepherds
of Fatima. They took to heart the message: "Pray the Rosary every day!"
Our Lady herself within the Fatima Church taught Jacinta to pray the
rosary properly while meditating on the mysteries. She was shown images
for each of the mysteries. Their first petition to the beautiful Lady from
heaven was; "We want to ask you to take us to heaven".
In the Church in the modern world where many have forgotten penance and
reparation, today's children can learn form Jacinta and Francisco what
reparation and sacrifice are, and how to pray. The Church would cease to
be the true Church as Jesus founded it if all reparation and penance
ceased among Catholic people.
It is significant that it was at Fatima, on the occasion of the
beatification of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco on May 13, 2000,
that His Holiness Pope John Paul II chose to reveal the general contents
of the Fatima secret which had been sealed form public eyes since 1917.
The following month June 26, 2000 the third part of the Fatima Secrete was
published and explained by the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith
for the entire world. Readers may obtain the explanation of the Fatima
secret in the booklet, Martyrs of the 20th Century Shrine. (see web store
or catalogue to order)
Hopefully many Catholic homes will display an enlarged icon of Blessed
Jacinta and Blessed Francisco as shown with this article. Also obtain holy
cards with icon with prayers to these two heavenly children, either for
children or adults. (see web store or catalogue to order)
May these youngest of children to be raised to the altars inspire the
young children o the world to deep faith, love, reparation, union with God
and yearning for heaven.
FATIMA FAMILY APOSTOLATE IN POLAND
The headquarters for
the Fatima Family Apostolate in Poland is at the Zakopane, Poland's Shrine
to Our Lady of Fatima which exists for prayers and sacrifices for the
Pole. Featured here are pictures taken when Fr. Robert J. Fox assisted at
a Fatima Family Congress in Poland. In November 2003 the Fatima Family
Apostolate Pilgrimage will pray at this shrine.
Olszewska serves as translator as Fr. Fox addresses the Fatima Family
Apostolate Congress at Poland's Fatima Shrine.
Mirosław Drozdek SAC, director of the parish and Fatima shrine, receives
the Fatima Family Promises signed by couples of all ages.
man who was the main artist sculptor for Poland Fatima Sanctuary with wife
and children present roses to the director of Fatima Family Apostolate.
presenting their signed Fatima Family Promise to their pastor, each family
receives a statue of Our Lady of Fatima for their home.
Director of the International Fatima Family Apostolate presents an image
of our Lady of Kazan to the Fatima Shrine in Poland while Fr. Drozdek
young couple with their first baby present their signed Fatima Family
Promise and kiss the Virgin's image.
MARY'S WHITE LEAGUE IN POLAND
The youngest division
of the Fatima Family Apostolate , ages 4 to 12 is known as Mary's White
League. It exists in Poland as well as the United States, Australia, ect.
The children learn the basics of the faith identifying with the Persons of
the Blessed Trinity, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of
Mary. They learn to pray the Rosary while meditating the mysteries.
Featured here are pictures of Mary's White League taken during the Fatima
Family Apostolate Congers in Poland, September 2002.