Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.
Fatima’s 100th anniversary gives us yet another chance to do more than just familiarize ourselves with the messages of Fatima. It gives us the opportunity to really take the messages of Our Lady to heart and put them into the practice. Isn’t that what Our Lady of Fatima called for?
The place to start is with the 10 Must-Know Facts on Fatima.
Fact No. 1: Please don't be afraid of me, I'm not going to harm you, were Our Lady’s first words to the children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco as she appeared for the first time on May 13.
Mary’s words perfectly echoed the Bible, from the Old to the New Testament.
Among many examples are: God saying to Israel, “Do not fear: I am with you (Isaiah 41:10); Jesus telling the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith” (Mark 5:36), calming his his apostles on the sea saying, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mark 6:50), and bolstering their faith at the Last Supper with this reminder, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
Mary herself hears from the Angel Gabriel, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).
Please don't be afraid of me, I'm not going to harm you, Mary assures the children — as she assures us. She came for our good, for our salvation.
Fact No. 2: Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war, Mary told the children on that May 13.
Fact No. 3: I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day, was the directive Mary gave to the three children when she appeared a month later, June 13.
Then our Blessed Mother taught them to add this to the Rosary:
And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.
Our Blessed Mother was guiding all of us to follow these instructions.
Fact No. 4: Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart, Our Lady also said on her June 13 visit.
We learn from her that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is most necessary and most pleasing to God.
Fact No. 5: Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
So instructed Our Lady the following month on July 13.
Mary said much during this July visit. Again she concentrated on helping sinners and having devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She made the lesson very striking showing graphically where sinners end up.
You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.
Mary made this plain to the children, and us.
Fact No. 6: Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.
Mary repeated this major direction for the third time in July. Again she reminded the children, and us:
When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.
Fact No. 7: I shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins-of the world.
Our Lady also added this during her July visit. She made another reference to her Immaculate Heart, this time connected with the consecration of Russia. If her wishes were fulfilled, there would be conversion and peace. If not, the spread of errors, wars, persecution of the Church, the good martyred, the Holy Father suffering much, and nations annihilated.
But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, she assured.
Fact No. 8: …continue to say the Rosary every day, Our Lady continued to remind us during her August 19 visit. She also spoke about celebrating the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice, Our Blessed Mother continued to teach us.
Very clearly, over and over, our Mother bids us to pray the Rosary, pray and sacrifice for sinners, honor her Immaculate Heart, make the First Saturday devotions.
Fact No. 9: Continue the Rosary, my children. Say it every day that the war may end, our Blessed Mother again told us during her appearance on September 13.
Then she added something else: the following month she would appear also as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Mary was certainly telling us of the importance of her brown scapular by appearing as Our lady of Mount Carmel too.
Our Lord will come, as well as. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world, she also said. She would be standing by them — a beautiful reference to the Holy Family and the importance of family.
Fact No. 10: I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.
How can we not think or say this directive is important if our Blessed Mother Mary repeats it to us each time she appears? Doesn’t it show us the motherly concern she has in the way she teaches and guides us?
This time she also identifies herself: I am the Lady of the Rosary.
Our Lady of the Rosary reminds us once again, People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended!
These 10 Must-Know Facts are the simple bidding of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary, the most loving of Mothers, directing us for what is ultimately our own good — repent, pray the Rosary daily, have devotion to her Immaculate Heart, pray and sacrifice for sinners, do the First Saturday devotion.
How much clearer and simpler can it be to begin them if we have not? What a 100th Anniversary present that will be to Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary.