PRESS RELEASE BY THE WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA INTERNATIONAL
(Embargo: 13th of May, 2017)
LITTLE SHEPHERDS OF FATIMA CANONIZED BY POPE FRANCIS
For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, two little children less than ten years old (that were not martyrs) were canonized on the 13th of May, 2017, one hundred years after the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in the Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal. Today, we celebrate the Centennial of the Fatima Apparitions, a Marian ephemerides that moved Pope Francis to be a pilgrim among more than one million pilgrims coming from all over the world to celebrate this religious solemnity, unique for its significance and appeal to every continent on earth. The siblings of Fatima are universally acclaimed and venerated!
Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the children-shepherds of Fátima are now saints venerated all over the world as the Universal Church has declared today that because of their virtues and approved miracle performed by God through their intercession, they participate in the beatific vision of heaven.
The handbooks of theology must be re-written after this day as the Church has recognized that little children are capable of living heroic virtues, developing an inner spiritual life where God Himself dwells in their inner self, making possible an authentic transformation of their lives by virtue of God’s grace and mercy bestowed upon them and their perfect free correspondence to the Almighty based on perfect love.
Saint Francisco of Fátima, excelled in his contemplative life, adoring Jesus present in the Tabernacle, consoling His majesty for the ungratefulness of so many sinners, as he deepened intothe contemplation of the mystery of God, “Hidden Jesus”, as Francisco used to say. He preferred to make company of Jesus-Eucharist in his solitude for many hours every day in reparation for all the offences committed out of the lack of love for our Savior and Redeemer. Thus, in an unprecedented first time, the Church has put Francisco as model for the religious life of contemplation (Religious Orders, Congregations, Institutes and Religious Communities) living in prayer and penance detached from the active world in reparatory practices and introspection to come closer to God.
On the other hand, Saint Jacinta of Fátima, excelled in her missionary life, preaching the Gospel of Jesus to all, devoting herself to the conversion of poor sinners and the offering of her many sufferings to God to save souls. Her decree of canonization focuses on this ardent love to save “the lost sheep of Israel,” evangelizing all those that came close to her with her life example and profound teachings. Saint Jacinta had a special vocation to pray and offer sacrifices for the welfare of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, and she had special visions about the many sufferings of the successor of Peter in the years to come. God gave Saint Jacinta the gift of looking into the souls of poor sinners to move them to conversion and atonement, discovering some of the secret sins that would condemn them unless confessed.
The third children-shepherd of Fátima, Lucia do Santos, cousin to Francisco and Jacinta, became a Carmelite nun, having the vocation of serving as Messenger and Apostle of Our Lady of Fátima to extend to the whole world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, revealing the famous three parts of the secret of Fátima in her “Memoirs” and calling the Church to the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for her conversion, as well as the conversion of those nations in most need of God’s mercy. The Message of Fátima is a Message of Peace and Hope for humanity, calling all to conversion, prayer, penance, Eucharistic Adoration and the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays of the Month. Sister Lucia is already in the process of beatification by Church authorities in the Vatican. She was 97 years when she passed away in 2005.
Prof. Américo Pablo López-Ortiz
International President of the World Apostolate of Fatima
8th April 2017
My Dear devotees of Our Lady of Fatima,
PEACE OF CHRIST!
How privileged are we to live and celebrate the Centenary year of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to the little children – Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy. Incidentally the Holy Father, Pope Francis will shortly be canonizing the little Saints, Jacinta and Francisco. Though none of us were born when the Apparitions took place, at least we are fortunate to relive the memory of those Blessed events and miracles now in the Centenary year!
The Holy Father has declard granting of Special Plenary Indulgences to all devotees attending Marian Shrines and other religious places under some conditions. Let us be part of the First Five Saturday devotions in our Churches, especially to ask forgiveness of all those who participate in the blasphemies against Our Lady. The recitation of the Rosary is not only a pious practice but also a powerful weapon against the devil and most beneficial tool of blessing to unite and sanctify the families. Wearing a Scapular of Our Lady is a constant reminder of being wrapped up in the Motherly protection of Our Lady.
The children are a chosen lot and are most close to Jesus and Mary. Inculcating the devotion of the Adoration of the Eucharist, Confession and frequent Communion, as well as recitation of the Rosary by the children would be the best children’s spiritual exercise to honour Mother Mary. The elders can also participate in such exercises with the children, especially frequent Reparatory Adorations, Consecrating ourselves daily and frequently to Mother Mary envelopes us with an aura of Her holiness. Can we call ourselves a Marian generation as families, parishes and the dioceses would do well to benefit from this total Consecration and surrender to God through the intercession of Mary?
“Be with us, Mary, along the way, Guide every step we take. Lead us to Jesus, your loving only Son. Come with us, Mary, come.” May this be our constant prayer and invocation as we sail through this Marian Year!
(+ Peter Machado)
Bishop of Belgaum
& Eccl. Advisor for WAF
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