Fatima Anniversary Pilgrimage of May 2019
The International Anniversary Pilgrimage of May 12th and 13th of May, this year at the Shrine of Fatima, Portugal, will be presided over by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines.
With this, a special attention is given to the Asian continent, now that the number of pilgrims from that region, coming to Fatima, is increasing year after year. As an example, in the first four months of the current year, the Sanctuary of Fatima registered sixty of these groups that participated in the official celebrations of the Shrine. The South Korean pilgrims were the most expressive Asian group followed by the Philippines and the Sri Lankan.
The World Apostolate of Fatima, with a massive presence also in the Philippines, is encouraging people to make that experience of a pilgrimage to Fatima, by offering the richness of Our Lady’s message and, in this way, to awake in people the desire to come to Fatima, at least once in a life time. In line with this, at the end of May, the Apostolate in the Philippines will hold its 22nd Biennial National Convention in Tangum City, with the theme: “Time of Grace and Mercy: To Give Thanks to Pilgrimage in the Church and the Filipino Youth”, in tune with the pastoral theme of the Shrine of Fatima for year 2019.
WAF Asian Congress in India
From the 3rd to the 5th of February 2019, the World Apostolate of Fatima, as part of their formation program, held in Calcutta, India, its third Asian regional congress. The selected theme was “...God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart...” (Our Lady of Fatima, 13 July 1917): “Into the abode of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with St Teresa of Calcutta”. The 10th Indian National Meet of the Apostolate was also celebrated together with this congress.
The majority of the delegates and observers arrived in Calcutta on the 2nd of February, First Saturday of the month and Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In the evening, there was a candlelight procession from Don Bosco’s Nitika, reciting the Holy Rosary and then celebrating the Holy Mass, presided by Msgr. Thomas D’ Souza, the Archbishop of Calcutta. Among the participants, there were Prof. Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz, WAF international President, from Puerto Rico; Mr. Nuno Prazeres, director of the International Secretariat at Fatima, Portugal and other guests from Sri Lanka, Philippines, South Korea and also from Oman. From India, there were 32 delegates, 40 observers, including 17 Priests and 5 nuns, from various dioceses. Four bishops have also attended the congress at different timings.
Feast of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto
On February 20, the liturgical Feast of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the two little shepherd children of Fatima, is celebrated. The devotion to these new saints is increasing all around the world and there are many parishes and prayer groups commemorating this Feast date with some liturgical celebration.
As an example, the Shrine of Fatima in Valenzuela City, Philippines, has prepared for this year a three day program in honour of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, including the veneration of their relics and some other devotional moments.
At the Shrine of Fatima, in Portugal, the program includes a vigil on the 19th, with the prayer of the rosary, candlelight procession and veneration of the Saints at their tombs. The celebration continues on the 20th with the prayer of the rosary in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, followed by the procession with the icons of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta towards the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, where Holy Mass will be celebrated. During the afternoon, also in the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, there will be an encounter with the children for a catechesis.
The ‘Day of the Little Shepherds Francisco and Jacinta Marto´, will also be commemorated, for the first time, as a municipal holiday, in Juranda, city of the Diocese of Campo Mourão, in Paraná, Brazil, where Lucas, the child of the miracle that opened way to the canonization of the two children, lives.
Francisco Marto was born in Aljustrel, Fatima, on June 11, 1908, and his sister Jacinta Marto was born in the same locality, on March 11, 1910. In their humble family, the children learned to know and to praise God and the Virgin Mary. In 1916, they saw three times an Angel and in 1917, they saw six times the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking them to pray and to make penance for the conversion of sinners and to obtain peace in the world. Both, immediately, wanted to answer with all their strength, to these exhortations. More and more inflamed in the love to God and to the souls, they had only one aspiration: to pray and to suffer according to the requests from the Angel and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Francisco died on April 4, 1919 and Jacinta on February 20, 1920. Pope Saint John Paul II travelled to Fatima on May 13, 2000, in order to beatify the two children. Pope Francis came to Fatima on May 13, 2017, during the Centenary of the Apparitions, and canonized the two first non-martyr children in the history of the Church.
Fatima New Pastoral Year for 2018/2019
The Shrine of Fatima, on the 1st of December, presented the theme for the new pastoral year 2018/2019. The chosen theme is: “Time of grace and mercy: to give thanks to pilgrimage in Church”.
The session started with the opening of the new temporary exhibition dedicated to the centennial of the construction of the little chapel of the apparitions. This exhibition can be visited until October 15th, 2019, on the lower level of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity.
The Rector of the Shrine, Fr. Carlos Cabecinhas, introduced the theme by emphasizing that during this year we shall reflect more on the experience of being Church, a pilgrim Church and on the meaning of the pilgrimage itself. In 2019, there will be the celebration of two centenaries that are quite relevant in the context of the Shrine of Fatima and its mission: the 100 years of the construction of the little chapel of the apparitions and also the centennial of the death of Saint Francisco Marto, on April 4th, 2019.
New Member’s Pledges
The WAF International Secretariat, based in Fatima, collects the Pledges of new members of the World Apostolate of Fatima from around the world, including those who register online through www.worldfatima.com.
At the end of the year, these Pledges are solemnly placed at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima, in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. This is a symbolic act that comes from the early days of the movement and is carried out ever since as a way to entrust each new member’s life into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking for protection and perseverance in their commitment to live and promote the Fatima message.
In December, on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, the Secretariat took the pledges to the Shrine of Fatima and had a moment of prayer at the Chapel of the Apparitions, reciting the Rosary for all Apostolate members, in particular those who have enrolled during the present year. The Pledges and prayer petitions were placed at the exact spot where Our Lady appeared to the three little shepherds, in 1917.
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