Filipino prelates cite relevance of Fatima apparitions

Philippine Church leaders cited the relevance of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, a hundred years after they reportedly occurred.

May 16, 2017

MANILA: Philippine Church leaders cited the relevance of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, a hundred years after they reportedly occurred.

Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches said the centenary celebration is an opportunity for Catholics to convert from a life of selfishness and "egoism."

The prelate, who led hundreds of devotees in a candlelight procession in Manila, said the essence of the apparitions is a call to conversion.

"God will do everything so that we won't lose him," Bishop Bacani told Filipino Catholics. "We must give ourselves to God ... Do some good deeds," he said.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila told another gathering in the suburbs of Pasay to carry out the message of Fatima and "share the space to people in the Church of Christ."

"Let us show that our parish is really God's home and that we are the body of Christ. Let us give room to others," said the prelate.

The Manila prelate distributed 200 images of the Our Lady of Fatima during the celebration that was attended by about a thousand people on May 13.

Cardinal Tagle said that the apparitions in Fatima "reminded us that every one has a space in God's kingdom and in Mary's heart ... especially for those who are marginalized."

"The unknowns have a place in Mary's heart, even those who could not find their place in this world," he said.

Retired Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said the celebration of the centenary of the apparitions means a lot to Filipinos who are described as a "people in love with Mary."

He said the children of Fatima — Jacinta and Francisco Marto — should be a model for Filipinos "whose future is bleak if we forget God."

On May 13, Pope Francis declared as saints the two young shepherds who claimed to have seen the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1907.

In his homily, the pope prayed that the Virgin Mary would protect the most vulnerable members of society.

The story of the Marto children, who called for prayer and conversion to prevent war, the spread of communism, and the assassination of a pope, captivated Catholics around the world.

Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta died a year later, both of pneumonia, when they were just nine and 10 years old. The third sibling, Lucia, became a nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97.--ucanews.com

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