Maine Catholic Schools to Observe Fatima Anniversary

On May 13, 1917, Mary appeared for the first time to a group of three Portuguese children in Fatima, Portugal.

Image of Our Lady of Fátima in the Chapel of the Apparitions.
Image of Our Lady of Fátima in the Chapel of the Apparitions. (photo: CC BY-SA 2.0)

PORTLAND, Maine — Children at Maine’s Catholic schools will participate in a series of Marian devotions on Thursday, to honor the Blessed Mother on the anniversary of the Fatima apparition.

School children at six Maine Catholic elementary and middle schools will be praying the rosary and participating in a “May Crowning” ceremony, among other Marian devotions. The children will pray for Mary’s intercession and the protection of the world. The month of May is traditionally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 

“The events fall on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, during which we celebrate Christ's bodily ascension into heaven in the presence of his apostles,” said a press release from the Diocese of Portland. 

“Because Christ ascended, we, as members of the Body of Christ, also look forward to ascending into heaven after our bodily resurrection. On the solemnity, we are also reminded of our evangelizing mission. Before Christ ascends, he gives his disciples final instructions, telling them to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit and then ‘go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature’,” the diocese said. 

Although in some U.S. dioceses the solemnity has been transferred from its traditional date, 10 days before Pentecost, to the following Sunday, other provinces have maintained observance of Ascension Thursday. The Portland diocese, which includes the entire state of Maine, is part of the ecclesiastical province of Boston which observes Ascension Thursday.

In addition to the Solemnity of the Ascension, May 13 also marks the optional memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. On May 13, 1917, Mary appeared for the first time to a group of three Portuguese children in Fatima, Portugal. Over a series of six months, the Blessed Mother appeared to the children in the same location on the 13th of the month - except for when the children were briefly kidnapped by local authorities on August 13, after which Mary privately appeared to them several days later. 

The final visit, October 13, has come to be known as the “Miracle of the Sun,” or “the day the sun danced.” Around 70,000 people traveled to the location of Mary’s apparitions, and various accounts reported supernatural phenomena where the sun appeared to spin, twirl, and veer toward earth before returning to its place in the sky. 

The two youngest Fatima visionaries, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were canonized on May 13, 2017. The other visionary, their cousin Lucia dos Santos, died in 2005 and has since been declared a servant of God. 

Cardinal George Pell at the annual Eucharistic procession at the Angelicum in Rome, May 13, 2021.

Cardinal Pell Leads Eucharistic Procession in Rome

Marking the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, The event began with a reflection by the 79-year-old Australian cardinal at the Angelicum’s Church of Sts. Dominic and Sixtus, one of Rome’s titular churches assigned to cardinals.