New Book Answers a Century of Questions About Fatima
BOOK PICK: Fatima: 100 Questions and Answers on the Marian Apparitions
100 Questions and Answers on the Marian Apparitions
By Paul Senz
Ignatius Press, 2020
120 pages, $14.95
To order: ignatius.com or amazon.com
With the new movie Fatima now playing in some theaters across the country and also available on several video on-demand platforms for viewing at home, Ignatius Press has released a book meant to answer many questions viewers might have about the Marian apparitions.
In Fatima: 100 Questions and Answers on the Marian Apparitions, author Paul Senz well and wisely uses a simple Q & A format that works two ways. First, it is a concise and clearly explained introduction to Fatima. He gives enough detail for readers to easily grasp what took place between May 13 and Oct. 13, 1917, in Portugal. Critically, it helps readers see all the information that the movie addressed too briefly or, because of the format, simply left out — including some of the major messages of Our Lady of Fatima and the visions of the Holy Family and Our Lady of Mount Carmel that also took place immediately after the “Miracle of the Sun.”
Second, the book also turns out to be a good refresher about Fatima for those who are well informed about the apparitions and some of the messages on critically important matters, such as Our Lady’s call for the necessity of repentance or how to begin practicing the First Saturdays devotion. Readers may also find in this book something they may not have learned or heard before, such as what happened to Jacinta and Francisco, the timeline of their beatification and canonization, and why it took 100 years to canonize them — even when people recognized their saintliness immediately post-apparitions.
The book covers where Fatima is and “What is an apparition?”; it also gives full explanations of the secrets of Fatima, the Fatima Prayer, and why Mary requested worldwide devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
Senz also emphasizes St. John Paul II’s strong ties to Fatima. (There is one typographical error to keep in mind concerning the popes because it has a direct relationship to Fatima — Pope Pius XI died in 1939, not 1938. The need for the correction becomes apparent in the place it appears.)
The book’s author is also sensitive to readers who might be coming to learn about Fatima — and the Catholic faith — for the first time. In the last chapter Senz answers some questions non-Catholics might have about Marian devotion, all with an eye to simplicity and clarity.
Take, for example, this little-known occurrence: “In fact, on October 12, the day before the apparition, Maria Rosa took Lucia to the church for confession, so worried was she that the crowds would kill her daughter and the rest of them. Even though she remained skeptical, she was resolved to face whatever fate awaited her daughter.”
“The children remained steadfast,” Senz continues. “They did not lose faith; they did not waver. The Lady had told them she would come, and she would not deceive them — so they believed completely.”
The book also offers this beautiful description — among several — of Jacinta: “After the apparitions, she called the sun ‘Our Lady’s lamp’ and the stars ‘the angels’ lanterns.’ … [S]he was very intelligent and sensitive. This maturity of spirit made her very receptive to Our Lady’s message, and Lucia later said that of the three children, Jacinta seemed to have been the most affected by the apparitions. She made the salvation of souls her primary goal in life, and many people reported receiving favors through her intercessions and prayers.”
Fatima: 100 Questions and Answers on the Marian Apparitions is a great accompaniment and must-read for those who have seen the film Fatima as well as a refresher about Fatima for those who need to brush up on this major apparition and Our Lady’s requests, the children seers/saints, the timeless messages, and the development of Fatima through the years, all presented in a highly readable way.
From reading what happens at Fatima, it will become clear why we should put into practice what Our Lady told the children during the July apparition — “If people do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
The Fruits of Fatima by Joseph Pronechen