On Sunday May 13th 1917 the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. After experiencing something like a flash of lightning, the Lady appeared to them, first telling them to “Fear not. I will not harm you.” And when the children asked her where she was from she said, “I am from heaven.” Then she told the children that she would appear to them seven times over six consecutive months; on the 13th day and at the same hour. She also said that they would have to offer rosaries and suffer a lot, but that the grace of God would be their comfort.
During the third apparition, the Lady showed them a vision of hell that frightened them very much. She then told them: "You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save future souls God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved." Then She said:" If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be destroyed...But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, Russia will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world". "Do you want to learn a prayer?" the vision asked, "Yes we do!" the children responded. "When you recite the Rosary, say at the end of each decade: Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy."
On 13 October 1917 the children surrounded by a crowd of 70.000 persons under a torrential rain, Lucy asked again of the Lady: “What do you want from me?" she answered: "I am the Lady of the Rosary, I desire here a chapel in my honor to be built, that people continue to recite the Rosary every day. Will the war finish? The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes." Then Lucy asked: "May I ask you for cures and conversions, will you grant them?" "Some yes, others no. It is necessary that they ask pardon for their sins, that they don't offend God our Lord, and that He is already too much offended." "Do you want anything else from me?" Lucy asked. "I do not want anything more."
Then She opened her hands and She launched a ray of light in the direction of the sun as Lucy shouted that they should look at the sun. At this point the promised sign happened, the rain stopped suddenly and there appeared an exceptionally bright sun but not dazzling. The sun began to turn as if projecting in each direction bands of light of each color that lit and colored the clouds, the sky, the trees, and the crowd. It stayed for some moments then it went back to its normal position, it stayed still for a small while and then it happened again. Suddenly it looked as if it stood out from the sky to fall headlong on the crowd that was looking terrorized. They fell to their knees and begged mercy. Meanwhile the children saw a Lady dressed like the white of the sun with a blue cope; and St. Joseph with the Child Jesus who blessed the world. Then after this vision they saw The Lord bless the world, standing next to Our Lady of Sorrows. After these visions the Lady of Mt Carmel finished the miracle. The people then became aware that their clothes were completely dried.
One of the principal anti-clerical publications of the day was O Dia, a major Lisbon newspaper. On October 17th, O Dia reported the following: “At one o'clock in the afternoon, midday by the sun, the rain stopped. The sky, pearly gray in color, illuminated the vast arid landscape with a strange light. The sun had a transparent gauzy veil so that eyes could easily be fixed upon it. The gray mother-of-pearl tone turned into a sheet of silver which broke up as the clouds were torn apart and the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy gray light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and people fell on their knees on the muddy ground. The light turned a beautiful blue as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. The blue faded slowly and then the light seemed to pass through yellow glass. Yellow stains fell against white handkerchiefs, against the dark skirts of women. They were reported on the trees, on the stones and on the terra. People wept and prayed with uncovered heads in the presence of the miracle they had awaited.” Even though the journalists did not believe in God, they could not dispute what they themselves had witnessed 96 years ago today.
It is not too late to heed Our Blessed Mother’s warnings and to refrain from and avoid those fashions and practices which deeply offend God and place our souls in mortal peril.
Finally, on this day of Our Lady of Fatima, our beloved former pastor, Monsignor Clerkin, will be formally installed as the pastor of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Deer Park. It will be at the 9:30 Mass at Ss. Cyril and Methodius. In keeping with his usual simplicity and humility, Monsignor asked that I not announce his installation, but I am sure we will all pray for Monsignor Clerkin on this solemn and happy day for him. He served St. Paul’s zealously and selflessly for eleven years (may God reward him). The Bishop recognized his exceptional talents and zeal and appointed him to the largest parish on Long island. May God grant him many more years in health and happiness. And may God bless all of you.
In Jesus and Mary, - Monsignor James F. Pereda