Catholics observe centennial of 4th apparition at Fatima

MANILA -- Catholics across the globe, including Filipinos observed today, Aug. 19, sans fanfare, the centennial of the fourth of the six apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary before three little shepherds in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

The fourth apparition was supposed to have taken place on Aug. 13, but Lucia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto were kidnapped at that time by Portuguese police, and told them to say in public that the apparition was a hoax, or they would be thrown into a boiling oil until they die.

But the three intrepid children stood their ground and told police authorities that the apparition was real, and even if they would be killed they would not retract their statement because they were speaking the truth that the Blessed Mother appeared to them in three apparitions at Fatima on May 13, June 13 and July 13, 1917

Unknown to the public that three shepherds were detained by the police, people went to Fatima on Aug. 17, 1917, hoping to witness the apparition which did not happen. Instead, petals from Heaven fell on that day, but when people at the apparition site tried to catch the petals in their umbrellas as souvenirs, the petals melted away!

When the police could not convince the three children to say that the apparition was a hoax, they were released unharmed.

It was only on Aug. 19, 1917 that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco at Fatima.

According to the Fatima documents, during the fourth apparition, the Blessed Mother told the three shepherds to pray, especially the Rosary for the conversion of sinners, and embrace the Cross with great love.

The Virgin Mary appeared to the three children six times in a row, starting on May 13 and ended on Oct. 13, 1917. It was on July 13, 1917 at around noon that the Virgin Mary entrusted the children the Three Secrets.

Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by LA�cia, at the request of Jose Alves Correia da Silva, Bishop of Leiria, to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta. When asked by the Bishop in 1943 to reveal the third secret, LA�cia struggled for a short period, being 'not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act.' However, in October 1943 the Bishop ordered her to put it in writing.

Complying with the bishop's request, LA�cia then wrote the secret down and sealed it in an envelope not to be opened until 1960, when 'it will appear clearer' the text of the third secret (which) was officially released by Pope John Paul II in 2000, although some claim that it was not the entire secret revealed by LA�cia, despite repeated assertions from the Vatican to the contrary.

In her memoir, Lucia now a saint said the first secret revealed on July 13, 1917 was about a vision of Hell.

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth.

Plunged in this fire were [[demon]]s and [[soul]]s in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished [[bronze]], floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven? Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.

The second secret was about the prediction that World War I would end and it ended that year (1917), but with an accompanying prediction that World War II would break out if mankind would continue to sin offending God.

Today, a century after the famous Fatima apparition in 1917, the world is in chaos with wars breaking out in various countries, compounded by terrorist attacks across the globe.

The message of the Fatima Apparition has been the same through the years: Penance, penance, penance before it is too late, for the world to attain a genuine and lasting peace.

Source: Philippine News Agency