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'Miracle of the Sun'

(EWTN) – Friday, Oct. 13, marks the 100th anniversary of the capstone of the Fatima apparitions: the Miracle of the Sun, where the sun appeared to hurtle towards the earth. Even the secular newspapers of the time reported on the phenomenon – although they never would have credited it to Our Lady of Fatima.
 
Hear Our Lady’s words and watch a recreation of this miracle in the seventh episode of the EWTN series “The Message of Fatima.” It airs at 8:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13, and 10 a.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 14.
 
Another way to celebrate the anniversary is to tune in to EWTN’s many Fatima specials. For a complete listing of dozens of Fatima-related movies, documentaries, and news shows, please go to ewtn.com/fatima/programming.asp. Some of these programs will be streamed live on Facebook, facebook.com/ewtnonline, so be sure to “like” our page to watch.
 
Among the devotional highlights will be:
 
Our Lady of Fatima: International Rosary and Candlelight Procession: Live from Fatima, Portugal. Airs 4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 12.
 
Holy Mass in Honor of Our Lady of Fatima: From the Shrine in Portugal. Airs 5 a.m. ET and noon ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
Worldwide Children’s Holy Hour, Candlelight Procession, and Consecration of the United States of America: Live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Airs 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
Among the special movies, documentaries and news shows will be:
 
Vaticano: Examine the event that shaped history; explore the city of Fatima, relive the canonization of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, and much more. Airs 11 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 12.
 
Fatima and the Popes: An historical look at the connection between the Fatima apparitions and the Popes. Airs 10:30 a.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
Fatima - A Message of Hope: A documentary examining the prophetic revelations and the great miracle of Fatima, with insights from leading experts and family members of the three shepherd children. Airs 5 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
Queen of Heaven: The Consecration – My Immaculate Heart will Triumph: A look at how Our Lady of Fatima's prophecies about World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union came to pass. Airs 6:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 36th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 268 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
 
 
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Our Lady of Fatima Church, Craftsbury

The name of the Catholic church in Craftsbury honors the Blessed Mother who appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, a century ago.
 
So to honor the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, parishioners of the church that bears her name hosted a special celebration May 13.
 
“These people are gathered in the name of Mary. They find a connection to the Blessed Mother,” said Father Angelito Sumod-ong, administrator of Mary, Queen of All Saints Parish that includes the Craftsbury church as well as St. Norbert Church in Hardwick and St. Michael Church in Greensboro Bend.
 
About 75 people gathered at Our Lady of Fatima Church for an outdoor rosary, Mass in the church, a May crowing and a potluck dinner.
 
Parishioner Jeannine Young spearheaded the event at the church where she made her First Communion in the late 1950s. “Our Lady of Fatima is home,” she said of the church that is usually open only from Memorial Day through Columbus Day but was opened on the 100th anniversary of the first Marian apparition at Fatima. “This church is special to the people of Craftsbury, and not just the Catholics.”
 
Annette Gann of St. Norbert Church attended the celebration at Our Lady of Fatima Church, saying the lesson she has taken from the Fatima apparitions is the importance of “a lot of prayer and sacrifice to get to heaven.”
 
Her grandchildren, 9-year-old twins Ethan and Sadie Gann, processed down the main aisle of the church during Mass with other children and adults in the May crowning; Sadie placed a crown of flowers on a statue of the Blessed Virgin.
 
During his homily on Mother’s Day weekend, Father Sumod-ong – dressed in white vestments with a picture of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children -- encouraged unconditional love for everyone even the unlovable, forgiveness and service to those who cannot repay.
 
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Fatima children canonized

Standing before the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Pope Francis canonized two shepherd children who saw Mary at Fatima, but more importantly, he said, they heeded the call to pray for sinners and trust in the Lord.
 
"We declare and define Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto as saints," the pope said May 13 as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims broke out in applause before he finished speaking.
 
The relics of the young shepherd children, encased in two thin golden crosses, were placed in front of the famed statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the "lady dressed in white" as the siblings and their cousin described her.
 
The Marian apparitions began May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their 10-year-old cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
 
After contracting influenza, Francisco died April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, while Jacinta succumbed to her illness Feb. 20, 1920, at the age of 9.
 
The children, beatified by St. John Paul II in 2000, are now the youngest non-martyrs to be declared saints by the Catholic Church.
 
Before his arrival at the shrine, the pope met privately with Portuguese Prime Minster Antonio Costa and then made his way into the sanctuary that houses the tombs of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta and their cousin Lucia, who died in 2005 at the age of 97. The diocesan phase of her sainthood cause concluded in February and now is under study at the Vatican.
 
Pope Francis stood for several minutes in front of the tombs with his eyes closed and head bowed.
 
In his homily at the canonization Mass, the pope reflected on the brief lives of the young sibling saints, who are often remembered more for the apparitions rather than for their holy lives.
 
But it is Mary's message and example, rather than an apparition, is important, he told the crowd, which Portuguese authorities estimated at about 500,000 people.
 
"The Virgin Mother did not come here so that we could see her. We will have all eternity for that, provided, of course, that we go to heaven," the pope said.
Instead, he continued, Mary's messages to the young children were a warning to all people about leading "a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures."
 
"Such a life -- frequently proposed and imposed -- risks leading to hell. Mary came to remind us that God's light dwells within us and protects us," the pope said.
The hopeful message of Fatima, he said, is that men and women have a mother and like children clinging to her, "we live in the hope that rests on Jesus."
 
Pope Francis called on the pilgrims to follow the example of heroic virtue lived by St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, particularly their insistent prayer for sinners and their adoration of "the hidden Jesus" in the tabernacle.
 
This continual presence of God taught to them by Mary, he said, "was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering."
 
By following their example, the pope said, Christians can become "a source of hope for others" and counter "the indifference that chills the heart" and "worsens our myopia."
 
"We do not want to be a stillborn hope! Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives," he said.
 
It is with the light of hope, the pope added, that the Church can radiate "the true face of Jesus" and reach out to those in need.
 
 
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Pope's video message about Fatima

In a video message to the people of Portugal, Pope Francis said he is visiting Fatima as a pilgrim of peace and to entrust the world to Mary's immaculate heart.
 
"I come to you in the joy of sharing with you the Gospel of hope and peace," the pope said in the message released by the Vatican May 10.
 
Pope Francis was to embark on a two-day visit to Fatima May 12-13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary.
 
During the visit, the pope is to preside over the canonization ceremony of two of the young seers, Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta Marto.
 
In his message, the pope thanked the Portuguese people and authorities for understanding his "decision to limit the visit to the moments and acts proper to a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima" at "the feet of the Virgin Mother."
 
"I know that you wanted me to come to your houses and communities, your villages and cities," he said. "Needless to say, I would have liked to accept, but it isn't possible for me."
 
At the site of the apparitions, the pope said he intends to present Mary with a "bouquet of the most beautiful 'flowers' that Jesus entrusted to my care: that is, my brothers and sisters from all over the world who were redeemed by His blood."
 
"I will give you all to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: 'My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God,'" the pope said.
 
Pope Francis said he was grateful to know that the people of Portugal are preparing to accompany him on the pilgrimage through prayer, which "makes our hearts grow and prepares us to receive God's gifts."
 
"Prayer illuminates one's eyes to know how to see others as God sees them, to love them as he loves them," the pope said.
 
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Pope to canonize Fatima seers May 13

Pope Francis will declare the sainthood of Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto, two of the shepherd children who saw Mary in Fatima, Portugal, during his visit to the site of the apparitions May 13.
 
The date was announced April 20 during an "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.
 
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, addressing the assembly noted that of the future saints considered at the consistory, five were children or young teenagers.
 
"In our time, where young people often become objects of exploitation and commerce, these young people excel as witnesses of truth and freedom, messengers of peace (and) of a new humanity reconciled in love," the cardinal said.
 
At the same consistory, the pope set Oct. 15 as the date for the canonizations of two priests and two groups of martyrs, including Blessed Cristobal, Blessed Antonio and Blessed Juan -- also known as the "Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala" -- who were among the first native converts in Mexico. They were killed between 1527 and 1529 for refusing to renounce the faith and return to their people's ancient traditions.
 
Pope Francis will preside over the canonization ceremony of the Fatima visionaries during his visit to Fatima May 12-13.
 
The pilgrimage will mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
 
A year after the apparitions, both of the Marto children became ill during an influenza epidemic that plagued Europe. Francisco died April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, while Jacinta succumbed to her illness Feb. 20, 1920, at the age of 9.
 
Francisco and Jacinta's cause for canonization was stalled for decades due to a debate on whether non-martyred children have the capacity to understand heroic virtues at a young age. However, in 1979, St. John Paul II allowed their cause to proceed; he declared them venerable in 1989 and beatified them in 2000.
 
The children's cousin entered the Carmelites. Sister Lucia died in 2005 at the age of 97. The diocesan phase of her sainthood cause concluded in February and now is under study at the Vatican.
 
 
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Pope Francis to visit Fatima

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Portugal in 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima.
 
The pope, who accepted the invitation made by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the bishops of Portugal, "will go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from May 12-13," the Vatican announced in December.
 
The pilgrimage will mark the anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which first began on May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary.
 
The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
 
Following the announcement, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, rector of the Fatima shrine told Agencia Ecclesia, the news agency of the Portuguese bishops' conference, that the visit was a "cause for joy" for the shrine.
"For the shrine of Fatima, it is a great joy to receive this confirmation of Pope Francis' visit," he said.
 
"We know that those days will be a pilgrimage marked by this festivity that, on the one hand is for the centennial of the apparitions and, on the other hand, marks the presence of the pope in our midst and a pope as beloved as Pope Francis," Father Cabecinhas said.
 
While the Vatican confirmed the dates of the visit, the pope had already said that he intended to go.
 
"Certainly, as things presently stand, I will go to Portugal, and only to Fatima," he told journalists during his return flight to Rome from Azerbaijan Oct. 2.
 
Pope Francis will be the fourth pontiff to visit the Marian shrine, following the footsteps of Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who each paid homage different years to Mary on the anniversary of the first apparition May 13.
 
 
 
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