This week, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. This celebrates the beginning of a series of apparitions in the village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. An apparition refers to an extra-ordinary appearance of Mary. These apparitions were to three children: Lucia Santos and her cousin, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Mary continued to appear to them on the 13th of each month for six months. When Mary appeared to these children during a time of war and unrest, she came bearing messages of love, peace and hope.
Mary as Mother of the Church teaches us what discipleship means and is a model of faith and service (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.967). Mary was with her son from the beginning, through difficulties, doubt and fear. Mary was present at the first miracle of Jesus and at the foot of the cross. The Rosary invites us to participate in the sacred mysterious that surrounded the life and death of Jesus and we call on Mary to intercede for us during times of distress or hurt.
Mary shares in our suffering and can become a source of strength and faith when times are difficult. Mary is a mediatrix between God and us and has a special role in our redemption. When we pray, we ask Mary to ‘pray for us’ as with her intercession, our prayers may be aided in ways that words cannot express. This feast day of Our Lady of Fatima reminds us to be focused in prayer and to be faithful to God.
Below are some of the prayers that are a part of the Rosary. You can find more information about the prayers if you are interested here: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/rosaries/how-to-pray-the-rosary.cfm
As we start this week of term and as we reflect on the celebrations of motherhood and family on Mother’s Day, let us pray using the words that Pope Francis said at the conclusion of Lumen Fidei – Light of Faith (2013)
Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!
Blessed Edmund Rice… pray for use
Mother Mary of God… pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts… forever.