The World Apostolate of Fatima, as a policy designed by its International Board, has been promoting the construction of replicas of the Chapel of the Apparitions of Fatima, located in Portugal, for its regional centers, namely, in the Philippines – Asia, in the Czech Republic – Europe, in Panama – Central America and in Samoa – Oceania. The establishment of the official replicas of the Chapel of the Apparition is a process that requires the approval of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, in Portugal.

Although the present pandemic crisis is delaying the works of these projects, there are already positive developments that we wish to report here. 

In Panama, on 13 October 2019, the Archbishop José Domingo Mendieta, with the support of the World Apostolate of Fatima, announced publicly the creation of a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, in Panama City, whose core will be a replica of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. The announcement was made to the assembly gathered at the Basilica Santa María la Antigua, followed by the presentation of the video with the model of the project, much appreciated by all.  The Archbishop, in the letter he wrote to the Rector of the Shrine of Fatima, asking permission for this had explained:  “With this chapel we aspire to give pilgrims in Panama and the world an evangelizing welcome, worthy and filled with the Lord’s love and His Mother’s spirituality, from the Message that She conveyed at Cova da Iria and that nowadays is more alive than ever in the heart of the Panamanians”. The members and friends of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Panama have since then, carried various initiatives to fundraise the building of this shrine in the hope to begin soon erecting it.

In the Czech Republic, precisely at Koclirov, where the World Apostolate of Fatima has its national centre, the first stone for the replica of the Chapel of the Apparitions was launched and blessed on the 3rd October 2020. The date also marked the 25th anniversary of the Apostolate’s presence in this country.

Bishop Jan Vokal of the diocese where the centre is located presided the ceremony with the presence of the faithful, who had gathered there also for the First Saturday’s devotion. He encouraged the assembly to see in this symbolic act towards building the replica of the Chapel of the Apparitions, precisely in a place marked by much suffering during the time of communism, the celebration of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and ulterior encouragement for a deeper Marian devotion. In the place where the chapel is to be built stands now, a wooden arch with two lamps, just identical to the porch that had been built by the people at the site of the apparitions in Cova da Iria, in year 1917, to mark the sacred place.   

In Samoa Island, in the Pacific, the plan to build the replica of the Chapel of the Apparitions was a decision taken during the Oceania Regional Congress of the World Apostolate of Fatima, held there in 2019. The members of the Apostolate, willing to build their own national center for the Apostolate, presented the proposal to their Archbishop and included in it the plan to integrate in the same construction also the replica of the chapel of Fatima. This was accepted and the archdiocese already made available the needed land for the construction. In this way, the center with its replica of the Chapel of the Apparitions, will serve as a missionary nucleus for the New Evangelization and the promotion of the Message of Fatima and devotion to Our Lady for the Region of Oceania

The World Apostolate of Fatima of the Philippines, has also accepted the invitation to initiate the building of the only replica of the Chapel of the Apparitions in Asia. After consulting the archbishop of Cebu, the territory where the chapel is being built and having also received the permission from the Shrine of Fatima, the project was quickly put on motion. A new Foundation entitled “Três Pastorinhos de Fatima” was created to deal with everything related to this major and challenging work, supervised by the World Apostolate of Fatima of Cebu.

At present, the progress of the works is notable. Although there is still a lot of work to be finished, the main structure of the building is concluded. The quite place in the Cebu hills has already hosted the celebration of the Holy Mass, on each 13th of the month, with the number of pilgrims growing from month to month. This is to ask God’s intercession and protection for this project and at the same time to make the place known to many people. However, the official plan is to dedicate the new “Capelinha” on the 13th of October 2021.   

The World Apostolate of Fatima hopes that the establishment of these new replicas of the Chapel of the Apparitions, in addition to the existing ones in USA, Puerto Rico and Brazil, will facilitate and increase, in these regions, devotion to Our Lady and the formation of the faithful into the spirituality of the authentic Message of Fatima. Places that will be like beams of light shining God’s mercy to humanity.

The support of many, both through prayer and financially is much appreciated to enable us to fulfill this dream.

On the 20th of February the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta Marto, the two little children of Fatima, canonized in year 2017. The World Apostolate of Fatima, every year, takes this date to celebrate the sanctity of these two little shepherds and to promote their spirituality. This year, due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, many will have to celebrate this Feast at home, in prayer or by joining events through the digital platforms.

One of these can be the program that has been formulated by the Sanctuary of Fatima for this date. A program that, for the first time, will be carried without the physical presence of pilgrims.

From February 11th, a Novena to the Shepherd’s Saints is being conducted and all the celebrations at the Shrine of Fatima have also a special invocation of Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, in preparation for the Feast day. The icons and sculptures of the two Saints are also on display at the Basilica and at the little Chapel of the Apparitions.  

On the eve of the 19th of February there will be a Vigil in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. On the 20th of February, at 11h00, there will be the Holy Mass presided over by Cardinal Antonio Marto. In the afternoon, at 14h00, the Sanctuary will share on its social networks a documentary about the life and importance of the Little Shepherds.

The parish church of Fatima, where the little shepherds were baptized, has also launched the ”Week of the little Shepherds”. Since “the main thing is to do what Our Lady asked, to pray the rosary, as the Little Shepherds prayed and sacrificed themselves for sinners, so each day of this week a family will pray in their house the Rosary and will record it in video to share with the other families” announced the parish priest.

As we celebrate the Feast of Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, we ask for their intercession, so that God may quickly free the world from the pandemic and from so many evils. We pray for those who have died and for the sick as well as for those who are in the front line fighting this virus.  

On the 13th of October, 2020, the World Apostolate of Fatima led a major effort to offer a worldwide reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as requested in the message of Fatima, through two beautiful events: the offering of a spiritual bouquet to Our Lady and the celebration of the annual Worldwide Children’s Holy Hour,  pleading Our Lady’s promised intercession, for peace, for families, for the Church and for the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.

In the morning of the 13th of October, in the Chapel of the Apparitions of Our Lady, in Fatima, Portugal, two children offered Our Lady the second Spiritual Bouquet – the first was last May 13th - by placing flowers at Her feet, on behalf of every person who had joined the Worldwide 5 Million Rosaries Campaign, through the webpage www.worldrosary2020.org. The ceremony was introduced by the presiding priest with these words: “At the beginning of this prayer, two children, representing thousands of other children from around the world, offer flowers to Our Lady and, with them, a Spiritual Bouquet made up of millions of rosaries, prayers and Eucharist participation.  These Children of the Eucharist, an initiative of the World Apostolate of Fatima, have prayed and continue to pray for the end of the pandemic, for peace in the world, for the victory of good over evil and for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

After this, the recitation of the Rosary followed and, in the end, the Image of Our Lady was carried in procession for the Holy Mass, presided by Mgr. Jose Ornelas, president of the Portuguese Bishop’s Conference. Here you can watch a short video with the celebrations, including the presentation of the Spiritual Bouquet to Our Lady:

Despite the smaller number of pilgrims present in the esplanade of the Fatima Shrine, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a profound spiritual communion with all the Fatima devotees around the world, in particular, with the members of the World Apostolate of Fatima, who followed the celebrations through the social media.

Also on this day, the 18th Worldwide Children’s Eucharistic Holy Hour was celebrated and broadcast by EWTN, from their chapel in Irondale, Alabama, USA. Children and youngsters have united in prayer around the world, “in an universal plea for a divine intervention in the midst of our uncertain times, to restore peace, health and joy in our needy world; to strengthen families, our “domestic churches” and accelerate the promised triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a promise of salvation in the midst of the present chaos and obscurity, with the triumph of good over evil, of the culture of life over the culture of death; of virtue over vice, of piety over indifference!” as said by the International President of the World Apostolate of Fatima.   

The world as we know it, finds itself in times of great trouble and conflict which seems to have no end. We are all part of this world and no matter how small we might seem in person, together, we can help and fight for peace and unity for our Home.

In association with the international organization Aid to the Church in Need, the World Apostolate of Fatima is helping to spread a worldwide prayer initiative named: “One million children praying the rosary” that will take place on the 18th of October 2020.

This event is for everyone but especially for the children, the future of this world. St. Padre Pio once said: “If a million children pray the Rosary together, then the world will change.” In this way no just 1 million but as many million as we possibly can on this day, will pray the rosary in union and faith for the welfare of the world and the world of our generations to come.

In Fatima, at the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary asked to pray the rosary daily for peace, this prayer initiative will be remembered at the various celebrations and so will many schools and religious institutions that are asked to devote a few minutes of prayer for a timeless reward to Humanity.

Join us and help us in spreading the message! For more information about this prayer initiative please visit: http://www.millionkidspraying.org/en/

A worldwide crisis like this one, causing thousands of deaths and causing a strict lockdown in all countries, including the suspension of public liturgies and closing of churches, is a tremendous burden for humanity. We live a true purification, as a divine pedagogy, because of our many sins and the sins of humankind. We cannot gather in our parish churches, nor have religious communal celebrations. It is as if God wants us to confine ourselves to our homes, to focus on our individuality, on our "inner castle", our inner heart, and to develop there an intimate life with the Lord. He will come to dwell in our hearts and wipe away our tears, remedy our miseries and forgive our sins. At dusk, he will stay with us forever. There will be a new world renewed by purification.

It will have been worth many sick and deceased, for in the end humanity will be closer to God and the Kingdom of God will come upon the new earth. Conversion is the recipe for achieving this transformation. If not, we must prepare for higher levels of suffering and anguish because of sin. Without God as the center of our lives, we will be left to a life of lukewarmness and sin that will bring the calamities of war, hunger, persecutions against the Church and the annihilation of nations. This can be avoided, if we eradicate the worldly spirit from our hearts and our society during this heavenly warning of the pandemic and, by converting many, we will make possible the definitive triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Let us pray to our holy shepherd-children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, to give comfort and strength to our families of today, to assist our medical doctors and sanitary personnel in their great sacrifice to combat this dangerous virus, to pray for our scientists to illuminate them in bringing a cure and a vaccine to eradicate this calamity from the face of earth!

Saint Jacinta and Saint Francisco, take care of our afflicted families in this hour of need, so that by your powerful intercession, united to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you can obtain from the Good Lord the remedy we ask for the greater glory of God and the salvation of many!

Prof. Américo Pablo López-Ortiz, International President of the World Apostolate of Fatima