The Importance of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima

Homily during a Pilgrimage to Fatima

by Fr. Tommy Lane

I would like to speak to you today of the importance of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope John XXIII designated May 13th as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. On the first celebration of the feast in 1962, Cardinal Larraona, the Papal Legate at Fatima, said during his homily,

“There never has been a supernatural manifestation of Our Lady of such rich spiritual content as that of Fatima, nor has any recognized apparition given us a message so clear, so maternal, so profound. Live it and cause it to be lived.” (Handbook to Fatima: The Altar or the World p205)

Pope Pius XII is sometimes called the Pope of Fatima and said, “Fatima is the summation of my thinking” and “The time for doubting Fatima is past; it is now time for action.” (Handbook to Fatima: The Altar or the World p210) Cardinal Tedeschini, closing the extended 1950 Holy Year on October 13th 1951 in Fatima, said that the Pope had seen a repetition of the 1917 solar miracle in the Vatican Gardens on the eve of the promulgation of the Dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady on November 1st 1950. (Handbook to Fatima: The Altar or the World p210) (80,000 people witnessed the solar miracle in Fatima on October 13th 1917 when the sun spun towards earth and afterwards the soaking muddy ground was dry. It took another 13 years for the apparitions and Message of Fatima to be approved by the Church.)

Eight men living near ground zero in Hiroshima survived the nuclear bomb while every else within a mile perished and many further away continued to die from radiation effects. For more than 30 years more than 200 scientists examined these men to discover what saved them. One of the survivors, Fr. Ha Shiffner S.J. gave the answer on American TV. He said they were living the Message of Fatima in that house. (Handbook to Fatima: The Altar or the World p204) And there is a message in that for us.

Now I would like to share with you some extracts from the homily of Pope John Paul II here on May 13th 1982, the first anniversary of the attempt on his life in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

“Mary’s motherhood in our regard is manifested in a particular way in the places where she meets us; her dwelling places; places in which a special presence of the Mother is felt. There are many such dwelling places. They are all kinds: from a special corner in the home of little wayside shrines adorned with an image of the Mother of God, to chapels and churches built in her honor. However, in certain places the Mother’s presence is felt in a particularly vivid way. These places sometimes radiate their light over a great distance and draw people from afar…These places are the Marian sanctuaries or shrines…

…In all these places…man feels he is entrusted and confided to Mary; he goes there in order to be with her, as with His Mother: he opens his heart to her and speaks to her about everything; he “takes her to his own home,” that is to say, he brings her into all his problems, which at times are difficult…

…And so I come here today because on this very day last year, in St Peter’s Square in Rome, the attempt on the Pope’s life was made, in mysterious coincidence with the anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima, which occurred on May 13th 1917.

I seemed to recognize in the coincidence of the dates a special call to come to this place. And so, today I am here. I have come in order to thank Divine Providence in this place which the Mother of God seems to have chosen in a particular way…

…If the Church has accepted the Message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was Spiritual Director for a pilgrimage while engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.