2017: Fatima Centenary Year
July 15-16: Ordinary Time 15th Sunday
The appearances of Our Lady in July and October of 1917 were the most powerful and important of all the Fatima apparitions.
By the time Our Lady appeared on July 13, word of the apparitions had spread throughout Portugal. About four thousand people attended the July 13 apparition at the she can help you.”
Lucia asks: “I would like to ask you to tell us who you are, and to work a miracle so that everybody will believe that you are appearing to us.”
Our Lady promised to reveal her identity and perform a miracle in October.
In her memoirs, Lucia described the July message from Our Lady in three parts, three ‘secrets’.
1. A vision of hell.
Our Lady said to the children: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make any sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
She then opened her hands as she had done in her two previous apparitions. Rays of light once again came from her hands, but what the children saw was far different from what they had seen the first two times.
The children were given a vision of hell, later described by Lucia. Lucia later said that if our Lady had not already told them that they were going to heaven, they might have died of fright. Witnesses at the Cova at the time, though not knowing what the children saw, said that after the July apparitions their faces showed signs of fear, terror and shock.
Why did Jesus and Mary allow such a terrifying vision of hell? She came to lead men back to God, who has been so grievously offended by their sins. The children did not need to see the vision of hell for their own sakes; they had already been assured by our Lady that they would be going to heaven and they were living good and holy lives pleasing to God. They were given the vision of hell to remind us that hell is real.
That in turn reminds us that we must live our lives in such a way that we stay close to God. We must make our salvation our main purpose in life.
Lucia wrote that the vision of hell profoundly affected all three of the visionaries, but that Jacinta, the youngest of them, seemed to be especially moved.
“The vision of hell filled her with horror to such a degree, that every penance and mortification was nothing in her eyes, if it could only prevent souls from going there.”
The vision of hell had such an impact on Jacinta that she wished everyone could see it and be persuaded to stop sinning. Though so young, Jacinta showed an ardent love for souls and a tremendous capacity for sacrificing for others. For example, she often gave up food for those who ate too much. Even when sick, she went to a week-day Mass for those who failed to go on Sunday.
The final and most telling example of little Jacinta’s zeal for souls came at the end of her brief life on earth. Our Lady appeared to her and her brother when they were suffering from influenza. Our Lady told her she would take Francisco to heaven soon, but asked her if she wanted to remain longer on earth to convert more sinners. Jacinta agreed to stay and suffer longer. Francisco died on April 4, 1919, six months after he and his sister fell ill. Jacinta lingered until February 20, 1920, when she died in a Lisbon hospital.
2. World War II foretold:
Our Lady told the children: