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Why Fatima Is More Crucial Than Ever

July 15, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

Our Lady of Fatima had a particular focus on the rosary in her message to the seers, and in fact, on every one of her six apparitions she specifically asked for the rosary to be said. This aspect of her message could not have been more emphatic.
On May 13, 1917 she said, “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and an end to the war,” and these twin themes were repeated by her over the summer, culminating in her October 13 apparition when she said, “I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the rosary every day.”
Why this focus on the rosary? For her to emphasize it in this way must mean it has an extraordinary power with God, and this is just what history tells us. We could cite incidents from centuries ago, such as the defeat of the Albigensian heresy by St. Dominic through the power of the rosary, or the victory gained at the battle of Lepanto in 1571, again through the power of the rosary.
But we don’t have to go back so far to see its great power. In fact this was demonstrated very effectively as recently as 1955, when, following World War II, the occupying Soviet Army voluntarily left the Eastern zone of Austria. Fr. Petrus Pavilcek, a Franciscan, had organized a Rosary Crusade from 1946 onward, which eventually had ten percent of the population of 7 million praying five decades of the rosary daily for peace in the country. He also organized candlelit processions in Vienna with a pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady from Fatima. On May 13, 1955, it was announced that the Soviets were willing to withdraw from Austria and sign a peace treaty. This was the only time in the history of the Soviet Union that the Red Army voluntarily withdrew from a European country it had occupied, without firing a shot. And it happened on the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition. In contrast, though, the attempted revolutions in Hungary, in 1956, and Czechoslovakia, in 1968, were brutally put down.
And even more recently, in Brazil in the 1960s and Portugal in the 1970s, the power of the rosary was again demonstrated when incipient Communist coups in both countries were thwarted.
These historical incidents show that while it is good to pray the rosary as an individual, it is much more powerful if we pray it as part of a group.
As St. Louis de Montfort teaches, if we pray the rosary in a group, then we multiply its effectiveness. That is, if a person says a rosary, that is just one rosary, but if, say, ten people pray it together, that is the same as if each of them has said ten rosaries each — and this multiplying effect becomes even more powerful with larger numbers, and hence the explanation for the power of all those rosaries said in Austria.
In fact, what is really needed in the U.S. and in countries around the world generally, are National Rosary Pledge campaigns, like the one organized by Fr. Pavlicek in Austria. If serious believers started to pray the rosary regularly for the moral regeneration of their own country, then we would start to see changes.
This is because such prayer would call down graces of conversion that would lead to lapsed Catholics returning to the practice of their faith, and a general revitalization of the Church.
But at the same time we have to live the Message of Fatima as fully as we can, in line with the teaching of recent Popes.
During his 1982 visit to Fatima, a year after the failed attempt on his life on May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II said, “If the Church has accepted the message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and call of the Gospel itself.”
He further stated that the “appeal of the Lady of the message of Fatima is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the message imposes a commitment on her.”
These are very powerful words and indicate just how important the Fatima message really is. We can understand this more fully if we reflect on the Collegial Consecration carried out by the Pope and the bishops of the world in March 1984, which led to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union. Following this consecration, Sr. Lucia was visited by the apostolic nuncio, and she confirmed that the consecration of Russia had indeed been accomplished, and that God had accepted it. In Russia, on the death of Chernenko, on March 11, 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party. He became president in 1988. That was the beginning of the unraveling of the Soviet colossus.
The unexpected peaceful outcome of John Paul II’s consecration of 1984 averted the threat of another war in Europe, and validates Sr. Lucia’s plea just before the outbreak of the Second World War. She said then that “world war or world peace depends on the practice of the devotion of the first Saturdays as well as the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that is why I wish for its propagation and most of all because that is our God’s will and also our dearest Heavenly Mother’s” (March 20, 1939).
The above facts have important consequences for the Church. The implementation of the Five First Saturdays devotion would be a form of re-evangelization that will bring people to live their faith more fully through regular reception of the Church’s sacramental sources of grace, with the assurance of our Lady’s promise to assist them at the hour of death “with all the graces necessary for salvation.”
This means that it is important that the Five First Saturdays devotion be started in as many parishes as possible. This will further devotion to our Lady and Fatima, and ultimately, also to bring about the conversion of Russia and the renewal of the Church.

The Prophetic Mission

Recent Popes have been urging the Church to take the Message of Fatima seriously. For example, at the Mass in St. Peter’s on May 13, 2006, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI expressed the hope that “the message of Fatima will be increasingly accepted, understood, and lived in every community.”
And in Fatima, on May 13, 2010, he said: “We would be mistaken to think that the prophetic mission of Fatima is complete.” Likewise, Pope Francis takes Fatima seriously. He ensured that his pontificate was consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 2013, by the cardinal of Lisbon. And during the Marian celebrations held in Rome on October 12 and 13, 2013, the Pope entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All of the above are very significant events, which show that Pope Francis is maintaining the close links between the papacy and Fatima.
And now, just a few months ago, Jacinta and Francisco were canonized by the Pope, on May 13, 2017.
The centenary year of Fatima is a renewed call for us all to listen to the message given by Our Lady at Fatima, and in particular to do what we can to live and promote the Five First Saturdays devotion and the rosary.

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(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, including Medjugorje Revisited, and maintains a related website at www.theo
tokos.org.uk. He has also written two time-travel/adventure books for young people — details can be found at: http://glaston-chro
nicles.co.uk/.)

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