St. Michael and Our Lady of Fatima – Why 2017 Is Such a Critical Moment

By Msgr. Charles Pope –

I have written elsewhere about why I think that 2017 will be a critical year. I believe it will be a year of hidden blessings or one of something so shocking that it will usher in a blessing that will only be understood later. It has been 100 years since the apparitions at Fatima and 500 since the Protestant revolt. The 1517 revolt ushered in a shocking, wrenching pruning of the Church. So did the apparitions in 1917, when Our Lady warned of great suffering if we did not pray and repent. God seems to permit (not cause) such things either as penance or as purification.

The last 100 years have seen horrifying warfare, death tolls in the hundreds of millions driven by ideological conflict, abortion on demand, the destruction of marriage and the family, sexual confusion and misbehavior, and the rise of the culture of death (the demand for the right to die and the right to kill). Indeed, Christendom in the West is in the midst of a great collapse: tepid and compromised faith, a tiny minority who attend Mass, and the growth of militant secularism. Who among us can deny that the Church, especially in the affluent West, has been under attack. We have preferred to sleep through most of it and make one compromise after another. Who among us can deny that we need another “counter-reformation”?

Two significant prophecies warned us of these events if we did not repent. For indeed, Scripture says, Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). And while many apparitions occurred (some approved, some not), two in particular stand out:

First, it is said that in 1884 Pope Leo XIII had an experience during which he heard God say that he would permit a period of 100 years that would test the Church in Job-like fashion. This alarmed Pope Leo enough that he penned the well-known Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and asked that it be prayed at the end of Mass throughout the universal Church. Some dispute the accuracy of this and call it mere legend, but it is hard to deny that the attack/test occurred. But when and what is the hundred-year period? That leads to…

Bishops and priests process to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Oct. 13, 2006, to celebrate the 89th anniversary of the apparition of Mary to three shepherd children. (CNS photo/Marcos Borga, Reuters)

Second, in 1917, Our Lady appeared in the region of Fatima, Portugal to three young children: Jacinta, Francesco, and Lucia. Mary indicated that the horrific First World War was soon to end, a war that featured the use of chemical weapons so devastating that an international agreement was developed banning their use. However, she warned that an even more terrible war would ensue if people did not repent and pray. Our Lady went on to say that in the aftermath of the war, Russia would spread the errors of atheism and materialism, leading to grievous suffering for the Church and many of the faithful. She also prophesied that there would be a final warning of light in the sky just prior to the onslaught of this new war.

In order to provide veracity to her message, Our Lady promised a miracle at her final apparition. On Oct. 13, 1917, the “Miracle of the Sun” took place, and as many as 70,000 people witnessed the sun dancing about in the sky and moving toward the earth.

In January 1938, a display of the aurora borealis vividly lit the skies far south of its normal reach; newspapers throughout the world reported the event. Later that same year, Germany entered Czechoslovakia, and in 1939, Poland was invaded; the Second World War was under way, a consequence of our failure to repent.

More than 60 million people were killed in World War II. At the end of the war, Russia dropped the Iron Curtain and atheistic communism held sway in the Eastern Bloc. Churches were closed, clergy and religious were killed, and great suffering came to all who would not acquiesce. The prophesies of 1917 proved to be sadly and vividly true.

Another prophecy of the Fatima apparitions was kept secret until the year 2000; it spoke of the murder of a pope as he walked past martyrs up a hill toward a cross in a ruined city. In 1981, St. John Paul II, nearly killed by an assassin, attributed his survival to the prayers of many who did hear the call of Our Lady to pray. Cardinal Ratzinger, in his commentary on the “third secret” of Fatima, called it the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) of an entire century. Indeed it was: ruined cities, martyrs, and the long shadow of a cross over those years for the Church and the world.

A final aspect of the Fatima apparition came to light in 1981 when Sister Lucia wrote to Msgr. (now Cardinal) Carlo Caffara at the Vatican to thank him and to assure him of prayers for the founding of the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family. In the letter she also related something she heard from Our Lady: a final battle will signal the end of the period in which we now struggle. Sister Lucia recounted Our Lady’s words as follows:

The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, … anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. … However, Our Lady has already crushed its head.

I think the period of 100 years of trial seen by Pope Leo is coming to its culmination. My premise is that, though it was foreseen by Leo in 1884, it actually began in 1917 with the warning of Our Lady. Her message was clear: pray and be converted or else suffer grievously the consequences of human sinfulness. It is clear that we have suffered grievously for our failures.

Attempting to follow Our Lady’s direction in 1917 at Fatima, three popes (Pius XII, John Paul II, and Francis) have consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But arguments go back and forth about whether any of these was “valid” (e.g., Was the wording just right?). But no technicality can eclipse our failure to repent and pray; I believe that repentance and prayer are the true heart of Our Lady’s message.

And so here we are at the culmination of the battle. Though it is disheartening, the battle in the Church over the sanctity of holy matrimony has reached the highest levels, just as our Lady said. Cardinal is pitted against cardinal, bishop against bishop. In the wider culture, marriage has been redefined; biblical and natural law teachings have been set aside. At this point I don’t think that our culture has a definition of marriage at all; it’s whatever anyone wants to say it is. This is no minor error; it is a civilization killer.

Something tells me that this year of 2017 is going to be critical and that we had better pray — a lot more than we have in the past. Repentance is also crucial. Being sleepy in the battle cannot be an option. We are at a turning point. Perhaps the hundred years of trial are ending; they might end well or they might come to a dreadful conclusion. That is why we must pray.

Cardinal Ratzinger, in the same Vatican document referenced above reflecting on Fatima, said:

The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore, we must totally discount fatalistic explanations. … Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.

Will you join me in praying with special fervency this year? In my own parish, we will be observing the First Saturday devotions that were requested by Mary at Fatima. This will be a communal way to engage the call to prayer. It involves attending Holy Mass, praying the Rosary, and going to confession (that day or within one week) on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. Others also add the wearing of the scapular and/or making a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Such a communal observance ought not to eclipse personal prayer and conversion; it is merely to augment it. Are there devotional practices you can undertake, such as the daily Rosary, the Angelus, or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy? Are there sins you need to make special effort to avoid? Are there lawful pleasures you can set aside?

What will you do? This is a critical moment; I am convinced of it. Will you join me in special prayer this year, the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions?

(This article first appeared in the National Catholic Register ( blog on January 28, 2017. Used with permission).

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  1. Dear Msgr Charles, in our chapel of Our Lady of Fatima here in our parish, we are planning to have a campaign for family or individual to pray the rosary daily as requested by our Lady siix times in Her 1917 Apparition, each volunteer will make house to house campaign for the praying of the rosary daily and gathers pledges to reach 100 devotees to start praying the rosary individually or by family. If we have 30 volunteers for Our Lady of Fatima, after one month of campaigning we wil have 3000 devotees praying thr rosary in our community. If we duplicate this campaign to other groups of block rosary or church ministries, we will multiply tremendously praying of the rosaries as requested by our Lady of Fatima to end wars, for peace , for reparation of our sins and conversion of sinners as promised by our Lady. We target to do this campaign this months of March and April. So that by May 13 and every 13th of the month. We will gather the pledges with signatures and their presence in our chapel of our Lady of Fatima to listen more and apply in real life the other messages of Our Lady. Praying to Jesus and Mary and offering this little act of doing a message of Our Lady, asking their guidance step by step on how we can surely succeed and convince many people to heed the Messages of Our Lady on this 100th Anniversary of Fatima Apparition. Hoping a reward of many graces from Heaven will be poured upon us on the Centenary of Our Lady of Fatima Apparition.

    • We will also campaign to increase First Saturday Devotees for Reparation and Conversion, this is our way we plan to celebrate the 100 years of Fatima Apparition in our chapel of Our Lady of Fatima in Sta Rosa de Lima Parish, Diocese of San Pablo Laguna Philippines We will meet every 13th of the month from May 13 to October 13 for lectures, film showing and marian processions.

  2. Dear Msgr. Pope, I read with interest the article on Fatima, etc. A faithful single Catholic
    living in Oregon. A gay man trying to live in a spirit of repentance and chastity since I lost
    a partner some 3 years ago. That said I confess I am puzzled by the current ‘marriage and
    family’ thrust Our Lady encourages…..but trust the message. The mercy is sustaining me.
    Our priest shared in a homily last week about the stress of Lent and how we can ‘expect’
    difficulty in our struggle. My prayer request is that a) my love for Jesus will grow b) my
    devotion to Our Lady and the Church will be strong c) my personal intentions around my
    finances will be answered d) a Lenten intention to help the starving of So. Sudan as requested by Pope Francis will become enlightened. something tangible to help.

    • We will include your prayer requests at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima Masses. God bless you in your journey of faith.


  3. Hi, Consider this, which I wrote about Fatima in catholic365. Shows, the North split from the South in OT, and the North was in schism, but it took most of the 12 Tribes, leaving 2 tribes in the South, the True Kingdom.

    Too, the East broke away from the West in the NT, and the East took all but one APOSTOLIC SEE (the 12 Apostles fulfill the 12 Tribes), leaving the remnant See of Peter in the West, the true Spiritual Kingship.

    The North got its epic chastisement first in Assyria. The South has over one hundred years to repent and did not. So then, the South got its epic chastisement in Babylon.

    The East got its epic chastisement in atheistic materialism, or communism, and the West has had almost a hundred years to repent, and has not. Therefore, under RELATIVISTIC materialism do we go.

    The South was ultimately restored to the Holy Land and rebuilt the Temple. Too, Our Lady will Triumph, even if we have a nuclear war, and all Christians that are non-Catholic will come home to Rome. Catholic Christendom will be rebuilt, and Our Lady will reign in peace for a long time.

    Here is the article with more detail:

  4. Father, I pray for all to hear Mary, and to obey, we must stand together, I will go to confession as many times as I can, I will continue to pray the rosary every morning, and I will be at mass. I pray for all to do the same. God stands for us, and we shall stand for him. Amen

  5. Mary, help us to listen, and follow. Prayers for strength and courage to stand together. Amen

    • Thank blessed mother for warning us, and for loving us.

  6. i am also promoting the first saturdays in our parish for the 100th anniversary thank you for this message

  7. Have inform friends about the First Friday & First Saturday Devotion and they are very entusciatic about the devotion especially now being the 100th year of The Fatima Apparition!

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