Celebrating Fatima as a Family

Family Matters: Catholic Living

Andrus grandchildren pray during family Rosary night.
Andrus grandchildren pray during family Rosary night. (photo: Courtesy of the Andrus family)

The incredible drama of Fatima — supernatural events that occurred 100 years ago — summons us to prayer, conversion, reparation and penance. The young visionaries, Servant of God Lucia dos Santos and soon-to-be saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, decided to change their lives completely by heeding Mary’s messages. Our lives should change, as well. The Marto children will be canonized during Pope Francis’ May 13 Mass in Fatima.

Catholic families can celebrate the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima by learning more about the messages, praying the daily family Rosary, making a point to get to monthly confession, and committing to making the Five First Saturdays. By doing so, they are honoring Mary’s requests at Fatima.

The Blessed Virgin first appeared to the young shepherds on May 13, 1917, requesting the daily Rosary. Again, on June 13, the heavenly visitor asked: “I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end to the war, because only she can help you” (Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers and Devotions). Every month thereafter, concluding with the great “Miracle of the Sun” on Oct. 13, 1917, Mary implored the daily Rosary.

In July 1917, the Blessed Mother requested the Five First Saturday devotion. After Francisco and Jacinta left their earthy lives, escorted to heaven by the Queen of Heaven herself, Sister Lucia received additional visits and instructions from Mary. I chronicle in Our Lady’s Messages to Three Shepherd Children and the World that the Blessed Mother gave Sister Lucia and the world a great plan to use to make reparation: the Communion of Reparation, or the Five First Saturdays devotion. This devotion is to be done on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, and it is to be done with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady for the sins of ingratitude and blasphemy committed against her. Our Lady explained that there are four main parts to the devotion:

1. Go to confession on that Saturday or during the week before or after it.

2. Receive holy Communion.

3. Recite five decades of the Rosary.

4. Meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary.

Catholic families are doing their part to honor Our Lady’s requests at Fatima.

Lisa Andrus, mother of four, grandmother of nine and parishioner of Our Lady of Fatima parish in Lafayette, Louisiana, instituted a regular family Rosary night at her home after her husband converted to Catholicism. She invites her adult children and their families to participate. After praying the Rosary together, they all gather around the dinner table to dine and converse.

“I have seen my family’s faith grow … such as desiring to honor the Blessed Mother by wearing her medals, particularly the Miraculous Medal, and by desiring to bring their children up in a more devout environment where the Catholic faith is a more integral part of their lives,” Andrus said.

Bruce and Debbie Burkhart, parents of four, soon-to-be grandparents and parishioners of Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri, began the family Rosary many years ago during Lent. When Bruce faced a work layoff, they prayed the family Rosary every Sunday, and now they pray it daily.

Now with grown children, Debbie said, “We try to get together every first Sunday for a family Rosary and re-consecration to Mary. Our Lady’s request at Fatima has become essential in my own prayer life.” She added, “I truly believe the Rosary is what has kept our family very close to one another.”

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is an EWTN TV host

and author of, most recently:

Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers and Devotions (Servant Books) and

 Our Lady’s Messages to Three Shepherd Children and the World (Sophia Institute Press).