This year and next, 2016 and 2017, mark the 100th anniversary of the series of appearances of the “Angel of Peace” and the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three children in Fatima, Portugal. The story is quite extraordinary, as you may know, and deserves much more than what I can provide in this short space. Indeed, entire books have been written, and continue to be written, giving the full account of Our Lady of Fatima beginning with the appearances of the angel in 1916 and of the Blessed Mother in 1917. Her message was one of prayer and conversion, saying that God is greatly offended by the “outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences” of people on earth. She specifically asked that the children pray the rosary daily for peace on earth and the conversion of the sinners.
The appearances occurred when nations on earth were at war (World War I). Our Lady prophesied that a second and worse world war would begin during the papacy of Pope Pius XI (He died in 1939) if people did not mend their ways. She also prophesied that Russia would come to dominate world affairs and spread her errors until the Pope would formally consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart. The deaths of the visionaries were also prophesied and came true. Two of them died approximately a year after the visions, as had been predicted (and were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000). The third (her name was Lucia) died in 2005 at the age of ninety-seven. Our Lady had prophesied that she would live for many more years following the appearances.
To celebrate and to call people to prayer and penance for world peace and for the conversion of hearts, the world famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima (sculpted to the specifications given by the visionaries) is currently on a nationwide tour in the United States. The objective is to call people to prayer and penance for peace in our nation and for the conversion of hearts. The Winona, MN, Diocese, which includes Rochester, where I live, hosted this statue this week at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Rochester. The accompanying photo shows the statue on display in the sanctuary of the church. It continues to tour the midwest and will be displayed in Iowa in the weeks ahead, including at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Portsmouth, Iowa, which is near my hometown in southwest Iowa. For the full schedule of the tour, visit this web site: https://www.fatimatourforpeace.com/.