The Beginning of the 100th Anniversary of Fatima is Confusing

If I mention Fatima to you, what would you mention first? (Yes, I mean this literally not as a rhetorical question. Say whatever it is). I think it is wild how vast the responses would be:

  • Maybe you would tell me about whether Russia was consecrated.
  • Fourth Secret anyone?
  • Akita and its message (I’m guilty of this, but more on that later in this article).
  • That Pope Francis said he is “the bishop in white” (I’m not sure what he really meant by saying that- Rorate Coeli reports this at this link)
  • That it was not true (I seriously hope no Catholic says this, but there are Christians out there, one Robert Thiel in particular, who claims that Our Lady wore a mini-skirt at the first apparition — seriously, stay away from his book, Fatima Shock as it is full of factual error)
  • That the third secret was not all released
  • That it predicted world war III starting today (yes, I decline to link to the “visionary” statements claiming this, but there were several, trust me)
  • on and on…

Here’s what I love about it:  it really is a vast subject because 7 visits from the Blessed Mother and three from an angel have been a constant subject of discussion for one hundred years. That’s awesome, really.

I say it is confusing, though, because everyone focused on today as the 100th anniversary. True, today is the feast, but the last apparition occurred in October. That means I can write several articles over the next six months!!!

Cut the Confusion:  Here’s the Skinny on Fatima

slide image of Our Lady of Fatima statueOne hundred years ago today, Our Lady appeared to the three young children in Fatima, Portugal. On this first day of a series of visitations from her spanning until October, the first message was clear:  pray the rosary daily. Well, the series of questions from the Blessed Mother are fairly clear, ending in the exhortation. Here are the things she said in sequence:

“Please don’t be afraid of me,” the Lady said to the children;”I’m not going to harm you.”

“I come from heaven,”

“I want you to return here on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months, and at the very same hour,” the Lady said. “Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.”

Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?”

“Then you will have a great deal to suffer,” the Lady said, “but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.”

Say the Rosary every day,” she directed, “to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”

I added those emphases. That brings me to a question:  do you say your rosary daily? (don’t be like Jimmy over there and ignore that question or act like you didn’t hear it, do you?).

Later, Our Lady will reveal that she is “Our Lady of the Rosary.”

The Reason to Get off your Duff and Say Your Rosary

The real reason is that Our Lady asked. Some folks know that and just haven’t made a habit. Others are never quite satisfied with that, though. Here’s some more explanation. In her book, “Calls” From the Message of Fatima, Sr. Lucia (affiliate link to book, help Bellarmine Forum by using it). Sister Lucia said it this way:

Even for those people who do not know how, or who are not able to recollect themselves sufficiently to meditate, the simple act of taking the rosary in their hands in order to pray is already to become mindful of God, and the mention in each decade of a mystery of the life of Christ recalls Him to their minds; this in turn will light in their souls the gentle light of faith which supports the still smouldering [sic] wick, preventing it from extinguishing itself altogether.

Calls…, p. 134. This is not a cry from Sr. Lucia that “something is better than nothing. Rather, she is directly referring to the action of grace this activity brings from God Himself. Although I took the account out of the account above, Our Lady had cast light onto the children just prior to exhorting them to pray the Rosary, right after they agreed to accept suffering God sends them. It was grace. Sr. Lucia hammers this point about the Rosary in the next paragraph (ouch!):

On the other hand, those who give up saying the Rosary and who do not go to daily Mass, have nothing to sustain them, and so end up by losing themselves in the materialism of earthly life.

Id.  That’s a gut punch. It is well deserved, though.

Thus the Rosary is the prayer which God, through his Church and Our Lady, has recommended most insistently to us all, as a road to and gateway of salvation: «Pray the Rosary every day» (Our Lady, 13th May 1917).


So, ask yourself whether you want to do what Our Lady asks. (I know you just said yes). I mentioned Akita above — yes, Our Lady said pray the rosary there, too.

Do you say your rosary daily? And, by the way, what was your answer to my first question? (third secret or the comment by Pope Francis) I’m guessing unless you tell me!  Would you leave it in the comments below?


styled image of Our Lady of Fatima, with words for May being the Month of Mary, a blue background behind her, and at her side is a red square Bellarmine Forum logo

This article, The Beginning of the 100th Anniversary of Fatima is Confusing is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
  • Theresa Moore says:

    Must not be many Rosaries said, mea culpa, because how overtly unnatural and anti-life we have become explicitly in our pornographic culture. We have much reparation to do to console and honor Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart!

    • John B. Manos says:

      You aren’t kidding. Not only are people not mindful of God, but they seem to be flaunting it!

  • Darren says:


    Dear John,

    I would mention that our Mother Mary appeared to three children and told us to pray the rosary every day.

    In reading the transcript of Pope Francis, it’s just simple truth. Every Pope is the Bishop in White. He never States that he is THE bishop in white.

    Btw, I believe it’s been four years now and I’m still waiting for your analysis about the angels flaming sword being in his left hand and our Holy Mother using her right hand. If I remember, you also mentioned something about our government taking a census and compared it to when King David took a census.

    God willing, I’ll still be alive when you write about this.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  • Darren says:

    Oh, is waiting for your analysis “a suffering that I should bare patiently”?

  • Spiffy says:

    Fatima’s enduring fascination comes from the supposed cover-ups. The Church’s handling of Sister Lucia’s testimony back then was 50 Shades of Dan Brown long before that blaspheming hack ever came squalling into this world.

    Let’s suppose everything was out in the open right from the get-go and Our Lady’s message at Fatima was indisputably the same as the She delivered at Akita.

    What’s the worst that can happen? Aside from never seeing the series finale of Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead?

    Suppose one day the sky really DOES light up with something radioactive. Oh noes! Now what? Catholics who put even a modest amount of effort into their faith can afford a certain nihilism. Fatima is a win-win prophecy.

    In Matthew 5:10 Christ tells us, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” If a foreign power persecutes America for the righteousness of freedom and democracy, their persecution counts in our favor. If some radical group persecutes this country because we support Israel (Sura 5.51 “take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other”) or because we refuse to deny Christ (Sura 23.91 “Never did Allah take to Himself a son…”) then their persecution still counts in our favor.

    As far as Marian apparitions go, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had a far more inspiring message for Christians. Our salvation isn’t dependent on a collective effort and that’s a good thing. The latest Pew survey found only 22% of this country’s population is Catholic and the baptism rate is plummeting in proportion to births. Of those who claim to be Catholic, 58% support gay marriage and 49% support abortion. They’re part of the vast mainstream post-conciliar demographic who are entirely comfortable in receiving the Blessed Sacrament from fellow parishioners, most of whom go to confession as rarely as everyone else these days.

    If we’re counting on the typical American Catholic’s daily prayer life to prevent an epic conflagration, hoo boy… we’re toast.

    Praying the rosary, particularly in connection with the Five First Saturdays devotion has a real and personal spiritual benefit even if we’re unable to prevent something that’s very likely inevitable. If nothing else, should the events foretold at Fatima/ Akita happen, we can always take comfort in knowing we’ll finally see the last of Stephen Colbert once and for all.

    • John B. Manos says:

      Spiffy… I have to agree about that controversy upon controversy driving a lot of the interest in Fatima. It’s human nature. At the same time Akita really nailed it but nobody pays attention to it.

      I think that if God could settle with Abraham on 10 good people, the the Blessed Mother could at least do that.

      I don’t know how she’ll do it, but I don’t want to see that fire from Heaven. Sometimes I think there is no other way to excise the corruption, though.

  • Genevieve says:

    Hi John, I’m reaaaaaaaaaaaal confused.

    When I was a kid my Dad said praying the Rosary every day is good, and so I did.

    But then…

    A Catholic teacher at Sunday school told me to pray Hail Mary every day (for those who are dead, to help them go to heaven)
    ANOTHER Catholic teacher told me to pray the Credo every day.
    (He said it is good I don’t understand why)

    Then a priest told me to pray Our Father every day because this is the prayer Jesus taught us (Still confused at that time)
    Then my Religious Education teacher told me to pray the Prayer of the Guardian Angels for (their) protection from evil.

    Lastly a Christian friend (Protestant) told me to ONLY pray Our Father because Catholics (I’m Catholic) made all those other prayers up — only Our Father appeared in the bible, Jesus taught us none other than this —

    Afterwards I kept reading the bible and what she said is true Xp
    I ended up putting them all (except the Rosary and the Guardian Angels because they’re so long) into my before-bed prayer, and usually fell asleep before I finish them all.

    So I checked the bible, dumped all prayers other than Our Father, because Jesus only taught us that, and now I saw this article and I keep questioning my set of “daily prayers”

    I thought maybe it’s my friend’s Protestant view that caused her to think in this way, but then I found many evidence indicating that there is something wrong with the Pope and his church, THEN I question my own beliefs as a Catholic

    I don’t know what I should pray daily, and I don’t know which beliefs to follow (Catholic or Protestant)

    NOW WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY?!! I am SUPER confused. Please help me.

    Pls reply as soon as you can. Thank you soooo much John

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