The crushing weight of Fatima is upon me, and I rejoice in our Lady of the Rosary

Early-mid July, 1976, at sixteen years of age, as a Cadet of Our Lady of Fatima, I made a lifelong confession of all my sins to Fr Robert Fox in a small side-sacristy of a chapel in Domus Pacis, right across from the Basilica. In receiving the absolution, I was so radiantly full of joy that I remember many people remarking about that radiance, on the street, and by my fellow cadets, and by the religious brothers chaperoning the trip. I had to ask what it was that they were saying, and one religious brother said, “You’ve obviously been to confession.” I was stunned. He nailed it. Then he told another boy, who was a bit sullen, that he had to go to confession. He nailed that too.

It was the same experience I had had at my first confession in the 1960s, wherein all the kids were pointing at me coming out of the confessional, and I was oblivious as to the reason. Bewildered, I asked a fellow young penitent what it was that they were pointing at, and I was told it was my face, radiant, and the joy, the joy.

And then it was 12 July, 1976, the cadets were chasing off to the Cova d’Iria. It was night, the vigil of the apparition of July 13, 1917. I remember walking through the tent city on the Domus Pacis side of the Basilica, in vivid detail. Soon, we were on the piazza where the Cova d’Iria was located and then the towering pillar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (both of which have now been moved).

Father Fox manhandled some of us toward the litter being carried by some 12 men dressed in their customary ways of centuries gone by. On top of the litter was the statue of the Cova itself, Our Lady of Fatima. This was the candlelight Rosary procession with a record 2.2 million people present, all with candles, all singing and praying their hearts out. In the modern video below there are barricades and such and neat lines of people. No. Back in the day it was total mayhem, the crushing of the crowds.

I was suddenly dragged up to take the place of one of the men carrying the litter all whilst the litter kept moving. When it came time to change again they looked at my face and asked if I would like to continue carrying our Lady. “YEEEEEEEEESSSSSS PLEEEEEEEESE!!!” So, I continued carrying our Lady right to the Cova. I am all smiles until this very day. :-)

And then I wrote this post: Traditionis custodes Article one: rejecting faith so as to celebrate ourselves. Hell…

And then Aussie mum made this comment about that specific post and the heart of Our Lady of Fatima:

  • “Father, as happens quite often and whether you realise it or not, your posts bring facets of Fatima to mind – connecting with it in some way and helping to open it up – but this post, “Traditionis custodes Article one: rejecting faith so as to celebrate ourselves. Hell …”, I think, goes right to the very heart of why Our Lady came to Fatima. July 13th 1917 when Our Lady showed Hell to the children, she spoke of an attack on the Catholic faith that would be global and almost wipe it from the face of the earth when she said: “In Portugal the Dogma of the Faith will always be preserved”. The phrase “Dogma of the Faith” I supposed to be a way of summing up all the truths of our holy Catholic religion, at the centre of which is the Blessed Eucharist – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – “the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC1324)”. But by what action could all this be overthrown or nearly so? Then your post above in which you point out: “To equate rubrics and faith is an attack on the faith, delegitimizing all faith from time immemorial until this very day.” That sentence jumped out at me! The enormity of Traditionis custodes is paralysing, or would be if not for the comforting words of Our Lady of Fatima: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”.

With that post about Traditionis custodes in mind, lets see what 13 July 1917 is all about. This is the presentation of EWTN:


As the July date approached Lucia continued to be troubled by the words of her pastor that the devil might be behind the apparitions. Finally, she confided to Jacinta that she intended not to go. When the day finally dawned, however, her fears and anxieties disappeared, so that the noon hour found her in the Cova with Jacinta and Francisco, awaiting the arrival of the beautiful Lady.

The apparition of July 13th would prove to be in many ways the most controversial aspect of the message of Fátima, providing a secret in three parts which the children guarded zealously. The first two parts, the vision of hell and the prophecy of the future role of Russia and how to prevent it, would not be revealed until Sr. Lucia wrote them down in her third memoir, at the request of the bishop, in 1941. The third part, usually called the Third Secret, was only later communicated to the bishop, who sent it unread to Pope Pius XII.

A few moments after arriving at the Cova da Iria, near the holmoak, where a large number of people were praying the Rosary, we saw the flash of light once more, and a moment later Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.

“Lucia,” Jacinta said, “speak. Our Lady is talking to you.”

“Yes?” said Lucia. She spoke humbly, asking pardon for her doubts with every gesture, and to the Lady: “What do you want of me?”

I want you to come back here on the thirteenth of next month. Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.

“Yes, yes.”

“I would like to ask who you are, and if you will do a miracle so that everyone will know for certain that you have appeared to us.”

You must come here every month, and in October I will tell you who I am and what I want. I will then perform a miracle so that all may believe.

Thus assured, Lucia began to place before the Lady the petitions for help that so many had entrusted to her. The Lady said gently that she would cure some, but others she would not cure.

“And the crippled son of Maria da Capelinha?”

No, neither of his infirmity nor of his poverty would he be cured, and he must be certain to say the Rosary with his family every day.

Another case recommended by Lucia to the Lady’s assistance was a sick woman from Atougia who asked to be taken to heaven.

Tell her not to be in a hurry. Tell her I know very well when I shall come to fetch her.

Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

[First Part of the Secret – The Vision of Hell]

As Our Lady spoke these words she opened her hands once more, as had during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now following back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me do). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:

[Second Part of the Secret]

You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.

This war will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God, another and more terrible war will begin during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light [this occurred on January 28, 1938], you will know it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world with war and with hunger, and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.

To prevent this, I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins-of the world. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace. In Portugal the faith will always be preserved…

[Third Part of the Secret – Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, “The Message of Fátima”]

{After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’.

And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in white; ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.}

Remember, you must not tell this to anyone except Francisco.

When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.

“Is there anything more that you want of me?”

No, I do not want anything more of you today.

Then as before Our Lady began to ascend towards the east, until she finally disappeared in the immense darkness of the firmament.

The possession of the Secret proved to be very great trial for the three young ones. Family, neighbors, followers of the apparitions, even the clergy, tried unsuccessfully to get them to reveal it. Finally, as the day of the August apparition approached even the civil government, which was secular and virulently anti-clerical, alarmed by the numbers of people taking an interest in the Fátima events, attempted to wrest it from them and in the process expose the Church as a collaborator in a fraud.


So, let’s see: Traditionis custodes Article one: rejecting faith so as to celebrate ourselves. Hell… And then go back to Aussie mum’s words above. Yikes!

Go to Confession, regularly. I do. I am nothing. Jesus is everything.

Penance, Penance, Penance!

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Filed under Confession, Fatima

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