Approximately 300 people celebrated the centennial apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13 at St. Benedict's Church in Hollister.
Worshipers gathered outdoors to hear the story of Fatima and the recitation of prayers for world peace, followed by the crowning of Our Lady of Fatima and a procession into the church with the blessing of the statue and the liturgy.
The story of the apparition took place in Fatima, Portugal in the spring of 1916 when children, Lucy dos Santos, age 9, and her cousins, Francisco, 8, and Jacinta Marto, 6, were shepherding in a pasture near the village. When they sought shelter in a caved ue to rain, they say an Angel of Peace appeared, telling them to pray.
The angel is said to have appeared twice again, and on the final appearance he taught the children to pray and that became the Angel of Peace Prayer.
Then on May 13, 1917, with the children fearing a storm, a dazzling white light appeared. They say they saw a beautiful lady standing atop the tree. She told them not to be afraid because she came from heaven, and asked that they come to the same place on the 13th day of each month until the month of October. At that time, she would tell them who she is and what she wanted.
On the third apparition, the children were shown a vision of a halo and the warning of a chastisement and how to avoid it.
The apparitions occurred during World War I and the lady is said to have appeared six times, the last being on Oct.13, 2017, with the children surrounded by 75,000 people under a heavy rain. This followed by the sun, that was called, “Miracle of the Sun,” and was witnessed by all. At the same time, the story goes, there were three heavenly scenes that appeared and lasted 10 minutes.
She told them that if people did not cease offending God, a worse war would break out during the Pontificate of Pius XL. Further, to prevent war, famine and persecutions of the church, she would come to ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the five first Saturdays of every month.
The apparition told them that if her requests were granted, Russia would be converted, followed by peace. However, if not, she would spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the church. The good would be martyred, the Holy Father would suffer, and various nations would be destroyed, she told the children. But in the end, her Immaculate Heart would triumph, and the Holy Father would consecrate Russia to her, and Russia would be converted, and a period of peace would be granted to the world. This became her heaven-sent peace plan that was given to the people.
According to the information supplied during the celebration, the five first Saturdays had been forgotten, but rekindled at the church with a 4:30 p.m. Mass on the first Saturday of every month.
The children, Francisco and Jacinta, died at a young age, while Lucia became a postulant in Spain and died on Feb. 13, 2005 at age 97.
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