by Ed Harpring
The month of May draws our attention to Mother’s Day. This year we have the added focus on Mother Mary’s role as our heavenly mother with the ongoing Centennial of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima celebration taking place around the world (including the Archdiocese of Louisville) and Feast Day on May 13th.
The apparitions of Fatima to many of us have a mysterious and prophetic aura about them with the “miracle of the sun” spinning and dancing in the sky to more than 50,000 onlookers, the three secrets revealed to three young Portuguese children, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, starting on May 13, 1917, and the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady appeared six times between May and October 1917 to the three children.
Despite the intrigue and mystery of Fatima, the overall message is straightforward and aligns with the “Good News” of the Gospel. Mary implores us to turn away from sin, open ourselves entirely to her Son – Jesus through prayer, reparation, repentance, and sacrifice. And yet she provides her tender motherly solace through her Immaculate Heart. “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
And today, we know that Mother Mary’s descriptions of evil in the world are all too real. The battle between good and evil is raging -100 years. Sister Lucia related before her death in 2005 that the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Family and marriage is under attack like never before, and we know that in our county alone, nearly 60,000,000 unborn lives have been lost to abortion. Similarly St. John Paul II in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, said “we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life.” We find ourselves not only “faced with” but necessarily “in the midst of” this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” Saint Mother Teresa echoed this when she proclaimed that the “The Greatest Destroyer of Love and Peace is Abortion.”
But like the good mother that she is, Our Lady gave us the antidote to the evil in our world – the rosary.
She stressed the importance of praying the Rosary in each of Her apparitions, asking the children to pray the Rosary every day for peace. Our Lady of Fatima promised that “in the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
The Archdiocese of Louisville will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima Anniversary on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima: Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 11am at the Cathedral of the Assumption. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will be the celebrant and concelebrated by Fr. Matthew Hardesty, Director of the Archdiocesan Marian Committee and Pastor of Holy Trinity, Fredericktown and Holy Rosary, Manton.