Among Catholics, there is a long tradition of devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. In a special way, the sinless Virgin who bore the Christ Child is venerated during the month of October – when she is remembered with Rosaries and devotions. Two major feasts – the solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 7) and the feast of Our Lady of Fatima (Oct. 13) fall during the month. And in 2017, we will observe the 100th anniversary of the sixth and last apparition to three shepherd children in the Cova de Iria, outside of Fatima, Portugal. On Oct. 13, 1917, a crowd of 70,000 pilgrims witnessed the best-known of the Fatima apparitions, the one which became known as the “Miracle of the Sun.”

To commemorate the Marian feasts and to help viewers better understand Mary's life and her God-given mission, St. Benedict Press has just released a new video series, Queen of Heaven: Mary's Battle for Souls. Hosted by Catholic actor Leonardo Difilippis, the documentary series runs approximately four hours and features contributions from 15 theological experts including author and convert Dr. Paul Thigpen, moral theologian Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, Fr. Chris Alar from the Association of Marian Helpers, philosopher and author Dr. Carrie Gress, systematic theologian Fr. Dominic Legge, professor of Sacred Scripture Dr. Mary Healy, Catholic apologist Tim Staples, and others.

The series tells the story of well-known Marian apparitions including Lourdes, Guadalupe and Fatima, and sets these modern events in the context of biblical stories, such as the woman who crushes the serpent's head. It explains why Mary is called the “Mother of the Church” and, alternately, “Mother of the Americas.” It celebrates Mary's role as protector of the Church at the Battle of Lepanto, and reveals how she warned against communism at Fatima, then assisted Pope Saint John Paul II to defeat communism in the Soviet Union and the world.

Series viewers will catch a glimpse of noted Marian shrines including the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC; the World Apostolate of Fatima Shrine in New Jersey; the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, which showcases familiar Bible scenes; and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in northeast Washington, adjacent to the campus of the Catholic University of America.

Queen of Heaven will make its international television debut this week, airing on EWTN beginning Friday, Oct. 6 through Friday, Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, or via Live Streaming on the EWTN website. If you miss the chance to watch the televised series, it will be available on DVD or in a hardcover book by Rick Rotondi and Brian Kennelly. A parish program with a Study Guide is available in both English and Spanish.