Friday, February 20, 2009

World Apostolate of Fatima

I became a member of the World Apostolate of Fatima (formerly known as the "Blue Army") a couple of years ago. I did this in response to my love and devotion to our Blessed Mother and a desire to help spread the messages of Fatima that Mary gave to the world in 1917.

Here is a description of the World Apostolage of Fatima (WAF) from their own

The World Apostolate of Fatima/Blue Army is a worldwide public association of the faithful, responding to the requests that Our Blessed Mother made to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, to help save souls and bring peace to the world. It promotes Eucharistic prayer and the Rosary, as well as penance, especially the generous acceptance of the duties of our state in life.

The World Apostolate of Fatima offers a variety of spiritual programs. These range from the Prayer Cells, where individuals meet for weekly prayer in the Parish or home setting, to the Parish First Saturday Devotions, All Night Vigils, and a Sacred Heart Home Enthronement Program and Family Consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These and other programs can revitalize and strengthen the faith of participants in local Church communities.

What is a Public Association of the Faithful?

Only a public association can receive a mission to teach Christian doctrine in the name of the Church, promote public worship or pursue a purpose which by nature is reserved to ecclesiastical authority (canon 301 §1). As a public association, the members act in the name of the Church when fulfilling the purpose of the association.

This is from which sends a daily "Saints of the Day" email by subscription.

Today is the feast day of Blessed Jacinta & Francisco Marto, the Fatima visionaries.

Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto
(1910-1920; 1908-1919)

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died in February 2005 at the age of 97. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.

The Church is always very cautious about endorsing alleged apparitions, but it has seen benefits from people changing their lives because of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer for sinners, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and praying the rosary—all these reinforce the Good News Jesus came to preach.

In his homily at their beatification, Pope John Paul II recalled that shortly before Francisco died, Jacinta said to him, “Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners.”

Please support your local parish's World Apostolate of Fatima group. Let's spread the message of our Lady given at Fatima for the conversion of the world.

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