MARY’S DAY OF THE YEAR OF FAITH
On 13 October 2013, Pope Francis, following the example of his predecessors, is going to entrust the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
On Sunday 13 October 2013, there will be the 96th anniversary of revelations in Fatima. It will be a significant event in the end of the Year of Faith. On this occasion the figure of Our Lady from the Chapel of Revelations in Fatima is going to be brought to Vatican. Pope Francis is going to repeat this act of entrustment of the world, for which Our Lady in Fatima asked in 1917, so that ‘mistakes of Russia’ would disappear and in order to prevent outbreaks of another war. It will not be an ‘attempt’ of the pope to make another entrustment of Russia and the world to Our Lady, but to point out to the timeliness of the message of Fatima, about which John Paul II said: ‘Calling of Mary is not for one time. Her appeal must be undertaken from generation to generation, according to new signs of time. We need to return to it all the time’.
A path to victory
I will remind that it was the first time in the year 1942 when the pope Pius XII had entrusted the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This act became a turning point in the course of the Second World War. The pope recommended repeating it in all the countries. In Poland the entrustment of the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was made by the Primate August Hlond on 8 September 1946. He was not disappointed: in those difficult years of the fight of communism with the Church it was possible to save the believing nation only with the help of Our Lady. Dying unexpectedly on 22 October 1948 he said a famous prophecy: ‘More courage, do not be afraid when the victory to Poland comes, it will be the victory of the Blessed Mary the Virgin’.
Today we know that it was Divine Providence which, according to its plans, sent later the Great Primate of Millennium to Poland, who, like Moses, led our nation through the ‘red sea’ of the communist regime. Having experienced imprisonment and suffering, ‘he entrusted everything to Mary’, renewed royal vows on the 300th anniversary of their establishment by king Jan Kazimierz in 1956, he inaugurated the Great Novena before the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, conducted the Millennium in 1966, his idea was also peregrination of the Jasna Góra Image in all parishes of homeland. All this composed the saving of Poles’ faith in those years. The fruit of the victory of Mary announced by the Primate August Hlond, was appointing cardinal Karol Wojtyła from Kraków to the Holy See, John Paul II, pope announced in the message of Fatima.
When on 25 March 1984 John Paul II consecrated Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – as Our Lady had asked for it in Fatima in 1917 – it was the beginning of the scenario of apparitions: the year 1991 passed into history as the end of the Soviet Russia empire. Later the year 2000 was remembered as the revelation of the third mystery of Fatima and the Great Jubilee of Christianity, ended with entrusting the Church and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary again. It was then when John Paul II said in a prophetic way: ‘We are close to the victory by one step!’ This step was another big task for which Mary had asked in the message of Fatima: establishment of the divine service of the first Saturdays in the whole Church, which is to provide divine peace to the world, bring fruits of conversion of Russia and the world, and finally, announced final victory of Our Lady.
John Paul II, who died on 2 April 2005, did not manage to do it; his death was in symbolic circumstances: at the time of Jasna Góra Appeal Prayer, on the first Saturday of the month to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and on the eve of the feast of Divine Mercifulness. A bit earlier, on 13 February the same year, 98-year-old sister Łucja died, announcing quick joining of her and the Pope with Our Lady in the Heaven.
Fatima path of Benedict XVI
The election of cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI – as the successor of St. Peter became providential for realization of the message of Fatima. It was not accidental that the pope had the name Benedict from the years of apparitions in Fatima in 1917. However, something else was important – the pope’s engagement in Fatima. In the famous book entitled ‘Report about the state of faith’ (1985), including talks of Vittorio Messori with cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect of the Faith Teaching Congregation at that time, who said that a serious warning signal had been sent to us from Fatima against careless treating freedom, and as a result, against disasters threatening to humankind.
It was cardinal Ratzinger who confirmed the miraculous saving the pope John Paul II during the assassination on St. Peter’s Square, on 13 May 1981. Revealing the third mystery of Fatima on 13 March 2000, in a theological comment cardinal Joseph Ratzinger first explained its essence full of symbolism and then, referring to the person of John Paul II, said that ‘in the vision of the killed pope John Paul II rightly had recognized his own person’.
So, when in 2005 cardinal Ratzinger as Benedict XVI took over the papal office, we were certain that his pontificate would be of the Fatima sign. Indeed, his four-day papal pilgrim to Fatima showed it, during which on 11-14 May 2008 the Holy Father visited Lisbon, the sanctuary of Mary in Fatima and Porto. He called himself a pilgrim of Our Lady of Fatima, with which he proved that the message of Mary is still alive and current that it should be undertaken anew all the time. As he said in Lisbon: the main purpose of my apostolic pilgrimage is Fatima where ‘Blessed Mary the Virgin’ arrived from Heaven, in order to remind us the truths of the Gospel, being the source of hope for humankind cold-hearted in love and deprived of hope for salvation’. Pointing to Fatima, he said that the message is still waiting to be fulfilled, so ‘the one would be deceived by the idea that the prophetic mission of Fatima was completed’.
Arriving in Fatima, the Holy Father noted that he was arriving to ‘the ideal Upper room of faith’. Using the word ‘Upper room’, he gave a hint that today the Church needs mainly a prayer, contemplation, focusing its eyes on Mary. Therefore, what Our Lady said in Fatima is very important, reminding us how we are supposed to live. The pope emphasized that we have to be close to Our Lady because it is Her, in whom God gives answers to our questions. ‘But not only does she satisfy our hopes; she is – as the Holy Father emphasized – crowned with bullets of our anxieties’. In these words, Benedict XVI reminded about the bullet which had been aimed to kill his predecessor, and which was sacrificed by John Paul II and decorates the crown of Our Lady of Fatima.
Saying that the message of Fatima is ‘directed to the future’, the Holy Father referred to the situation of the human moral poverty, and he also reminded that through the message of Fatima God is looking for the man, addresses the humankind which is ‘cold-hearted, without any hope for help’, wanting to ‘raise a new spring in the Church’ and give peace to the world. If we do not ask Him, or if we still negate the Truth brought by Christ – the Holy Father warned – we are endangered by ‘a cyclone of death and terrorism, which we will not be able to stop’.
It is important that these words were said in the place of the apparitions, in Fatima, giving a special rank to the Message of Our Lady. It meant that the Church does not only accept the essence of these apparitions, but also points to the lights coming from Fatima. Shortly speaking, the pilgrimage of Benedict XVI in Fatima was inscribed in teaching of John Paul II and was an expression of the Church concern about accepting and fulfilling the call of Our Lady of Fatima.
What will pope Francis do?
Unfortunately, the pontificate of Benedict XVI was too short to complete the command of the Message of Fatima: establishment of the Divine Service on the first Saturdays in the whole Church. Therefore, today we are directing our look at the pontificate of the pope Francis and his Mary’s orientation.
It started with a strong accent of Mary: with entrusting himself in front of the miraculous image Salus Populi Romani in Basilica of Our Lady Major in Rome. Later, on the first Saturday of May, the Holy Father was praying the Rosary in this basilica , with which he drew attention to the Divine Service of Fatima of the first five Saturdays of months. Now, on 13 October, he is going to entrust the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the spirit of the Message of Fatima. These signs confirm that the Divine Providence elected the Pope as the leader of the Church, who is trying to save humankind from even apocalyptic dangers, which are lurking for the man and the world. We can mention a big campaign of hostility aimed against the family, father, mother and children, lack of respect to the holiness of life from the conception to natural death or insistent promoting the so-called gender ideology, distorting recognition of the truth about sexes identity of a man and a woman. All this is inscribed in a satanic strategy of eliminating God from human life, breaching human consciences, in order to make it impossible to distinguish between the good and evil.
In this context we should see the providential election of the pope Francis, bending over the human moral poverty, who reaches to hearts in his simple particular words, who calls for authentic Christian life, to trust Mary as our Mother. And, what is important, we should see the Pope who is convinced that there will be a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary announced in Fatima.
On the threshold of the Great Hour
It is good that the papal Mary’s Day is inscribed in the Great Novena of Fatima, lasting from the year 2009, before the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima. The idea of the novena is simple: it is supposed to deepen the knowledge of the Message of Fatima ‘so that Mary would be more known and loved’, and, as a result, it would lead to fulfill requests of Our Lady of Rosary of Fatima, including the establishment of the Divine Service in the universal Church on the first five Saturdays of months. It is only the knowledge which ‘can stop the punishing hand of God, who is so insulted by human sins’ – sister Łucja wrote in a letter to the Holy Father in 1939.
- Our Lady of Fatima is a patron of difficult times which we are experiencing and Her Message of Fatima is a voice of Mother’s love to her children, in order to save them and come to them with help – says Fr. Krzysztof Czapla SAC, who is a director of the Secretariat of Fatima near Zakopane. Although the First and the Second World War, or the Bolshevik Revolution are history now, we cannot allow for being deceived by the idea that we are not endangered at all and that we can feel safe. On the contrary, the evil in our times let us know about its existence more and more, which was expressed by John Paul II in his warning that people live as if God did not exist, causing self-destruction to themselves. Conclusion: the Message of Fatima is the most important message from Heaven to contemporary people. If it is even more current now, it became a topic of various pastoral programs and also theological researches.
This is how the idea of the Great Novena of Fatima appeared. Neither the ‘era of peace’ nor the victory of Mary will come if we do not notice the signs or listen to the voice of the Fatima Message. The late priest Mirosław Drozdek SAC, the founder and builder of the sanctuary in Krzeptówki said about it, writing before his death: ‘Maria semper vincit…Remember: God allows us to live in interesting times! In our eyes, in us and through us, Fatima is being fulfilled which is more current today than ninety-some years ago and which stands on the threshold of the Great hour’.