Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Easter - May 7, 2017

    One hundred years ago, the Blessed Mother appeared to three young children in the Portuguese town of Fatima. Beginning on May 13, 1917, Mary appeared to Lucia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Jacinta and Francisco both died in the international flu pandemic that began in 1918. Both were beatified by Pope St. John Paul in 2000. Lucia lived to adulthood, dying at the age of 97 in 2005 after living for years in a cloistered convent.

While Fatima is a “private revelation,” meaning that it is not necessary for our salvation, we see it as an important devotion at this time in our history. Mary’s message at Fatima was one of prayer for peace. The great “weapon” of Fatima is prayer, particularly the Rosary. As we approach the centennial of Fatima, we know that prayer for peace is more vital than ever. The Rosary count that has been going on in our parish since last summer has reached over 12,000 Rosaries prayed, and we can do even more in preparation for the anniversary.

Here at St. Malachy, you will notice two features for the anniversary. First of all, our statue of Our Lady of Fatima has moved from its position by the candles to a place of honor in the center of the narthex, right where the window makes it visible to all who pass by. In addition, Frank DeChellis has donated his artistic talent to renovate the statues of the three children seers. The statues of the children had been stored in our loft after fading badly over the years, and we thank Frank for fixing them up. Now, during the month of May, this statue of Our Lady can be a more present reminder of our need to pray for peace.

And as we do each year, we recognize May as the month of the Blessed Mother by praying the Rosary before each Sunday Mass and after each weekday Mass. Most of us grew up praying the Rosary with a prayer that was added at the end of each decade (after the “Glory Be”), which goes, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.” We will also include a liturgical prayer from the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima after the “Hail, Holy Queen” as part of the Rosary throughout the month.

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence to all who take part in devotions to Our Lady in prayer before an image of Our Lady of Fatima. The ordinary requirements for a plenary indulgence include going to Confession and receiving Communion, being interiorly detached from all sin and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father. In this special instance, then, you can make a visit to our statue of Our Lady of Fatima and then come to join us for the Rosary before Mass. Of course a particularly good time to do that would be at the Rosary before the Mass next Saturday, which is the anniversary of the first apparition.
                                                                                      Father H