Getting to know our Lady of Fatima

It is a great honor for St. Joseph the Worker parish to have been named the Diocese of Oakland's official pilgrimage site for the Fatima Centennial (1917-2017). The apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to three young shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, began from May to October of 1917.

As we prepare to celebrate this special series of events in our parish it helps for us to have a little background and so for the next few months we will be getting to know our Lady of Fatima with some historical background and stories compiled by Fr. Joseph Previtali, a priest from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Adjunct Instructor of Dogmatics, St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park.

PART II: Fr. Prevatali: To understand Our Lady of Fatima, we must understand the situation of the world 100 years ago. In 1914, the Great War had begun in Europe. World War I, as we call it now, brought untold devastation to the world, with the newest weapons technologies being wielded unto the lowest depths of human moral depravity. Millions of men, on all sides, were mowed down in the trenches by machine guns, only to gain or lose a few yards on the battlefield.

Pope Benedict XV, through the promotion of the Holy Rosary, and Blessed Charles of Austria, the Holy Roman Emperor, through peace negotiations, sought a swift end to the senseless violence to no avail. Europe was in the process of losing her sanity and her soul. At the same time, the Bolshevik Revolution was brewing in Russia throughout most of 1917, which would become the first Communist country in the history of the world. Russia became Communist on November 8, 1917. Our Lady of Fatima had appeared to the children for the final time one month earlier, on October 13. The ceasefire of World War I was called on November 11, 1918. With Russia Communist and Europe shell-shocked by unprecedented violence, God had brought light into the darkness through the loving presence of His Mother.

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Part III: We have the tendency to view human history as if God has no part in our affairs. This comes from the custom in our schools of discussing human affairs from a purely secular point of view for fear of offending people of different faiths. However, effects of Our Lady on our history are so clear that to ignore them is to distort reality until it appears irrational. The motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is real and historical and it is the means through which Jesus Christ wishes to save us. He has made us His brothers and sisters, children of His Mother. The saints tell us that Christ wishes to triumph over the darkness of sin and evil especially through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady of Fatima is part of this history. The story of Our Lady of Fatima begins in the spring of 1916 with three shepherd children. Lucia dos Santos, nine years old, was with her cousins, Francisco Marto, age eight, and Jacinta Marto, age six. Lucia tells us what happened in her own words:

"We went on that occasion to my parents' property, which is at the bottom of the Cabeco, facing east. It is called Chousa Velha. "About the middle of the morning it began to drizzle and we climbed up the hill, followed by our sheep, in search of a rock that would shelter us. And so it was that we entered for the first time into that blessed place. It is in the middle of an olive grove that belongs to my godfather, Anastacio. From there one can see the village where I was born, my father's house, and also Casa Velha and Eira da Pedra. The olive grove, which really belongs to several people, extends as far as these places.

"We spent the day there, in spite of the fact that the rain had stopped and the sun was shining in a clear sky. We ate our lunch and began to say the Rosary. After that we began to play a game with pebbles. We had only been at it a few moments when a strong wind began to shake the trees and we looked up to see what was happening, since it was such a calm day. And then we began to see, in the distance, above the trees that stretched to the east, a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the sun. As he came near we were able to see his features. We were astonished and absorbed and we said nothing to one another. And then he said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.'

"He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.' "After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us: 'Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.'

"And he disappeared. He left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence. The presence of God was so powerful and intimate that even among ourselves we could not speak. On the next day, too, this same atmosphere held us bound, and it lessened and disappeared only gradually. None of us thought of talking about this apparition or any pledge of secrecy. We were locked in silence without having willed it."

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Part IV: AS LUCIA RELATED, the children were deeply affected by this apparition from the heavenly messenger:

"I don't know why, but the apparitions of our Lady produced in us effects quite different from the angel's visitations We felt in both instances the same intimate happiness, peace and joy, but instead of the physical prostration the angel imposed, our Lady brought a feeling of expansion and freedom; and instead of this annihilation in the divine presence, we wished only to exult in our joy. There was no difficulty of speech when our Lady appeared; there was rather on my part a desire to communicate."

The three little shepherd children had encountered a celestial being who, in his purely spiritual nature, communicated to them something of the awesome holiness and transcendence of Almighty God.

"His words sank so deeply into our minds that we never forgot them, and ever after we used to spend long periods on our knees repeating them, sometimes until we fell down exhausted."

Later that year of 1916, in the summer, the children received a second apparition from the angel, as they were playing in the heat of day. Lucia relates:

"Suddenly we saw the same angel near us.

'What are you doing? You must pray! Pray! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you. You must offer your prayers and sacrifices to God, the Most High.'

"'But how are we to sacrifice?' I asked."

'In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for sinners. In this way you will bring peace to our country, for I am its guardian angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings God will send you.'

The children were again deeply affected by the magnificence and awesomeness of the holiness of God, communicated through the Angel of Portugal. Francisco could only see the apparitions but he could not hear the words spoken either by the angel or by Our Lady the next year. Try as he might, he could not get the girls to tell him what the angel had said, so overcome were they by the holiness of the encounter.

"The Angels' words sank deeply into our souls like a gleaming torch, showing us Who God is, what is His love for us, and how he wants us to love Him too; the value of sacrifice and how it pleases Him; how He receives it for the conversion of sinners. That is why from that moment we began to offer Him whatever mortified us."

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Part V: THE CHILDREN RECEIVED a third apparition from the angel in September or October of 1916. Once again, the children were out in the pasture with their flocks at the place where they had seen the angel before, called "The Head" (Cabeço in Portuguese). At this holy place, they were inspired to remember the instruction of the angel about the necessity of prayer, and so they began to pray the prayer he had taught them: "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You." Lucia tells us what happened as they were praying:

"After we had repeated this prayer I don't know how many times we saw the shining over us a strange light. We lifted our heads to see what was happening. The Angel was holding in his left hand a chalice and over it, in the air, was a host from which drops of blood fell into the chalice. The Angel leaves the chalice in the air, kneels near us and tells us to repeat three times:

'Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.'

Then, most extraordinarily and by a great miraculous gift of God, the angel gave to the children their First Holy Communion.

"After that he rose, took again in his hand the chalice and the host. The host he gave to me and the contents of the chalice he gave to Jacinta and Francisco, saying at the same time, 'Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Offer reparation for their sakes and console God.'

"Once more he bowed to the ground repeating with us the same prayer thrice: 'Oh, Blessed Trinity etc.' and disappeared. Overwhelmed by the supernatural atmosphere that involved us, we imitated the Angel in everything, kneeling prostrate as he did and repeating the prayers he said."

They didn't know it at the time, but the visits of the angel to the children in 1916 were preparing them for the visits of the Mother of God in 1917.

As we celebrate The Fatima Centennial at St. Joseph the Worker thru November 26, 2017, it helps for us to have a little background, and so for the next few months we will be getting to know our Lady of Fatima with some historical background and stories compiled by Fr. Joseph Previtali, a priest from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Adjunct Instructor of Dogmatics, St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park.

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Part VI: AS THE CHILDREN OF FATIMA, instructed by the angel, passed the autumn and winter months of 1916-1917 in prayer and penance, Europe fell deeper into blind and senseless war, with the United States soon to enter the fray on Good Friday of 1917. Meanwhile, with the death of the demonic Rasputin and the abdication of the eviscerated Czar Nicholas II, the foundations of Russia were crumbling quickly, allowing an opening for the Communist revolution. On April 15, 1917, Easter morning in the Julian Calendar, Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia.

One bright light in the darkness was Blessed Charles II of Austria, who became Holy Roman Emperor at the end of 1916. Blessed Charles would do his best in 1917 to achieve peace in Europe and an end to the war, to no avail. Eventually, left without a state by the Treaty of Versailles, he would die in 1922 in exile on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Fifty years later, his body was found incorrupt and he was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2004. The cause for the canonization of his devoted wife, Zita, is also in process.

Charles and Zita prayed the Rosary together daily. Pope Benedict XV, who denounced the Great War from its beginning in strong and eloquent preaching and writing, also turned to the Holy Rosary as the instrument for bringing peace to the world. He had especially asked for the children of the world to pray for peace, a plea which reached the shepherd children of Fatima through their faithful local priests. Lucia added three Hail Mary’s for the intentions of the Holy Father to their daily Rosary.

On May 5, 1917, the Month of Our Lady, Pope Benedict XV solemnly directed that the title "Queen of Peace" be added to the Litany of Loreto. In that act of his supreme and universal authority as Shepherd of the Flock of Christ on Earth, he invoked the Mother of God, omnipotent by grace," and entrusted to her special intercession the peace of the world. Eight days later, she came, in person, to bring peace.

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Part VII: MAY 13, 1917, BEGAN a glorious spring Sunday in the heart of rural Portugal. Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta attended Holy Mass at their parish church in the morning and then had taken their flocks to pasture in the little grassy valley among the hills, called the "Cova da Iria." They played as children do, as the sheep fed on the grass. They had their lunch and then began to pray the Rosary in their shortened form of it, saying only the first words of the two parts of the prayers.

They were then startled by what Lucia described as "lightning in a clear sky." They thought a storm must be approaching and debated returning to town with their sheep. "And we began to go down the slope driving the sheep towards the road," Lucia explained. "When we were half-way down, near a holm oak tree, we saw another flash of lightening, and after a few steps we saw on a holm oak a lady dressed in white, shining brighter than the sun, giving out rays of clear and intense light, just like a crystal goblet full of pure water when the fiery sun passes through it. We stopped astounded by the Apparition. We were so near that we were in the light that encircled her, or which she radiated, perhaps a meter and a half away."

The lady's face was brilliant with a dazzling white. Lucia described her beautiful countenance as "not sad, not happy, but serious." Her hands were joined in prayer and a Rosary hung from her right hand. Her voice was low, musical, and gentle.

"Please don't be afraid of me, I'm not going to harm you."

Lucia asked the lady, "Where are you from?"

"I come from heaven."

Lucia was not afraid or overcome, but filled with great peace and confidence. "And what do you want of me?"

"I want you to return here on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months, and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time."

"And shall I go to heaven?"

"Yes, you will."

"And Jacinta?"

"She will go too."

"And Francisco?"

"Francisco, too, my dear, but he will first have many Rosaries to say."

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Part VIII: AFTER OUR LADY EXPLAINED that Francisco would have to pray many Rosaries before he could enter Heaven, she looked at him for some moments, her face filled with great compassion tinged with a little sadness. Then Lucia began to remember some deceased people in her life and asked about them.

"Is Maria Neves in heaven?"

"Yes, she is."

"And Amelia?"

"She is in purgatory. Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?"

"Oh, we will, we will!"

"Then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you."

Then the Lady from Heaven opened her hands and the radiance grew, seeming to penetrate into the souls of the children. Lucia relates:

"We were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The light's reality cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it. By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: 'Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament.'"

This light from the Blessed Mother was so powerful and pervasive that it gave the children a deep knowledge of themselves, great increasing their spiritual maturity, in accord with the calling that they had received from Our Lady to offer themselves as victim souls in reparation for the sins of the world that offend God so grievously. Lucia explains that this self-knowledge was so intense that it made them "see [themselves] in God more clearly in that light than in the best of mirrors."

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Part IX: THE CHILDREN REMAINED KNEELING in the radiance of the precious light. Everything Our Lady had told them up until now had concerned their own personal salvation and vocation. Then she spoke again:

"Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war."

The children certainly had very little and probably no knowledge of World War I, in which Portugal was not involved. Here Our Lady had revealed to them the Message of Peace she had brought from Heaven: that through the Holy Rosary the war would be brought to an end. She also revealed to them that they, little shepherd children in rural Portugal, were called to be the key instruments of the proclamation of this Message of Peace.

This was not a new way of operating for God, of course, as indeed St. Paul explains to us (1 Corinthians 2:28-29), "the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his sight."

After communicating to them her Message of Peace, the Lady from Heaven departed. "After that she began to rise slowly in the direction of the east, until she disappeared in the immense distance. The light that encircles Her seemed to make a way amidst the stars, and that is why we sometimes said we had seen the heavens open."

Lucia, correctly perceiving the future difficulties, attempted to convince Francisco and Jacinta to keep the apparition a secret. Seven-year old Jacinta, however, could not contain her joy. She told the whole story to her mother, who dismissed it as fancy, and then to her father, who carefully questioned Francisco and her. Manuel Pedro Marto, a man firm in his Catholic faith and rooted deeply in the land over which he toiled daily, thus received the dignity of being the first believer in the reality of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

"From the beginning of the world Our Lady has appeared many times in various ways," he reasoned. "If the world is wicked, it would be much more so but for many such happenings. The power of God is great. We don't know what this is, but it will turn out to be something."

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Part X: THE SUFFERING OF THE THREE LITTLE SHEPHERD CHILDREN of Fatima began almost immediately after the first apparition. The Lady had told them, "You will have much to suffer."

For Lucia, the suffering began in her own home. Her parents, especially her mother, refused to believe the story about the Lady and scolded and threatened her to give up the story. Her mother, who was religious, believed that she was making up tales about sacred things. She brought Lucia to the parish priest, who tried also to dissuade her from believing such things. Lucia's father was an irreligious man, who felt that religion was nonsense for women. He was indifferent to the story of the apparition. In the midst of this opposition from her parents and priest and other trusted adults, Lucia was strong and peaceful.

The three children offered up these sufferings — the ridicule and incredulity of the adults — as the Lady had instructed them: for the conversion of sinners. They began to offer voluntary sacrifices, as well, going without lunch or water when they were out in the fields with the sheep. All of this was the beginning of their obedience to the vocation of love to which the Lady had invited them.

At the instruction of two visiting priests, they began to pray daily for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, who was suffering greatly and had asked the world for prayers for peace. They added three Hail Mary's for him to their daily Rosary for peace, which they prayed faithfully in obedience to Our Lady.

Meanwhile, the war raged on in Europe, even though the month of May brought a lull in the hostilities, as the Queen of Peace came from Heaven with her message of peace. On the very day of her first apparition, a young papal diplomat named Eugenio Pacelli was consecrated bishop in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Archbishop Pacelli, the new Papal nuncio in Bavaria, would bring to the German government later in the year the rebuffed offer of peace negotiations of Pope Benedict XV.

The same Archbishop Pacelli would become Pope Pius XII, the first pope to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in obedience to Our Lady of Fatima! Amidst the darkness of war, there were still so many signs of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart!

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PART XI: THE LULL IN THE HOSTILITIES continued into June. On the 13th of the month, the children returned at midday to the Cova da Iria to receive the second promised apparition of the Lady. About fifty people joined with them to witness the event. It was the great feast of St. Anthony of Padua, greatly celebrated in Portugal, where he was born. In Portugal, the feast of St. Anthony is the feast of children because of his devotion to the Child Jesus. Lucia's parents had hoped that the St. Anthony festivities would distract her from her appointment with the Lady from Heaven, but Lucia was faithful.

Lucia tells us what happened:

"After having said the rosary with Jacinta and Francisco and other people who were present, we saw again the reflection of light nearing us, (we used to say it was lightning), and following, Our Lady on the holm oak as in May.

'Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?'

'I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.'

'Will you take us to heaven?'

'Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.'

'Must I remain in the world alone?'

'Not alone, my child, and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.'

The moment she said the last words, opening her hands, She transmitted to us, for the second time, the reflection of that intense light. In it we felt we were submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which was rising to Heaven, and I in the part spreading over the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady's right hand was a heart encircled with thorns which appeared to pierce it. We understood it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary offended by the sins of mankind, craving reparation."

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Part XII: THE JUNE APPARITION CONCLUDED in the same manner as the first one in May, with Our Lady departing towards the east, from which she had come, and disappearing into the "immensity of heaven." The upper leaves of the little holm oak tree remained for several hours stretched and bent towards the east.

The pattern of the communication of Our Lady with the children remained the same as before: she conversed with Lucia, who could both see her and hear her. St. Jacinta could see her and hear her. St. Francisco could only see her and could not hear her.

The 50 or so persons present at the June apparition were a consolation to the three children. The onlookers knew something special had happened. None of them saw Our Lady, but Maria Carreira reported hearing a faint sound, "like the buzzing of a bee," from the top of the tree when Lucia reported that Our Lady was speaking to her. Others noticed the brief dimming of the sun's light and the bending of the branches and leaves of the tree. Other saw the "lightning" and a little gray cloud that came and went as the apparition did.

Despite these gifts of consolation, the children were faced with a great deal of suffering from the incredulity of those closest to them. Their mothers especially were alarmed by the apparitions, as the intensity of the situation was now increasing. Their parish priest, Father Manuel Ferreira, suspected that the apparitions might be real but of demonic origin. On June 14, he closely questioned the children and concluded that they were not lying about the apparitions. When he suggested that they might be from the devil, the children indignantly rejected the idea. In the end, the careful priest could not make up his mind about the origin of the apparitions, even as he concluded that the children were telling the truth.

The doubt of Fr. Ferreira would become a month-long spiritual and emotional trial for Lucia, who greatly respected the authority of her pastor. Her heart would be eased at the next month's apparition, in which Our Lady would reveal to her a great secret. "In my second account I have already described in detail the doubt which tormented me from 13 June until 13 July," Lucia wrote, "and how it disappeared completely during the Apparition on that day."

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Part XIII: IN JUNE OF 1917, THE MADNESS OF WORLD WAR I reached new levels as Douglas Haig prepared what would become the disastrous Passchendaele Offensive. On June 26, Archbishop Pacelli presented his credentials as new papal ambassador to Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg in Berlin. In his meeting a few days later with the German Kaiser Wilhelm, he presented a personal letter to the Kaiser from Pope Benedict XV, pleading for a greater effort for peace. The Kaiser responded with irrational outbursts of anger towards the Holy Father. The grim truth was that Wilhelm was no longer really running Germany, nor was Bethmann-Hollweg. General Erich Ludendorff, who would become the main supporter of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Munich, was two weeks away from being the effective ruler of Germany.

The only cool head involved in the war was that of Blessed Charles II, the Holy Roman Emperor. His own peace negotiations with Germany and France (through his wife's brothers) were precarious at best and would later fail. It was becoming quite clear that the only solution to the Great War would be obedience to the message of Our Lady in Fatima. She had said in May, "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war."

July 13, 1917, was the day on which the German Chancellor was forced to resign, leaving power in the hands of General Ludendorff, who was entirely committed to the war. It was also the day of Our Lady's third apparition in Fatima. Lucia, suffering her internal doubts, was under great pressure from her mother and almost did not go to meet Our Lady. She had confided her doubts to St. Jacinta, who, filled with holy simplicity and supported by her devout father and brother, convinced her at the last minute to be faithful to Our Lady. On the morning of July 13, Lucia was filled with great peace and kept her midday appointment joyfully.

When the three children arrived at the Cova da Iria, they found at least two thousand people waiting there, including their own parents. Their mothers were deeply distraught over all the commotion. Together the large crowd recited the Holy Rosary.

Manuel Marto, the father of Francisco and Jacinta, was already deeply convinced of the truth of the apparitions and he was present to protect the children. He never took his eyes off them the entire time. He reported seeing Lucia go pale immediately before she cried out that Our Lady was coming. Then he saw "something like a small cloud" come down upon the small holm oak tree. He felt a cool and refreshing breeze in the mid-July heat and he heard a sound which he described as a "like a horse-fly in an empty water pot."

Then Our Lady revealed to the children what would become the most controversial part of the Message of Peace given in Fatima.

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Part XIV: IN THE JULY APPARITION, the children continued to be instructed in their vocation as victim souls, offering reparation for the sins of the world. Our Lady instructed them:

"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."

After teaching them this manner of offering sacrifices, she showed the three little children a vision of Hell, where the souls of unrepentant sinners go when they die. In this, she was teaching them the urgency of offering their sacrifices for the conversion of sinners who would otherwise fall into eternal damnation. Lucia relates the vision:

"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:

" '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.' "

Part XV: AFTER SHOWING THE CHILDREN A VISION of Hell, Our Lady then instructed them concerning some specific details of history and Divine Providence, explaining especial-ly that the Great War was like a self-inflicted punishment for the sins of the world:

"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 cosmic event, prophesied here by Our Lady, occurred on January 25, 1938, one and a half years before the beginning of World War II, with what is called the "Great Aurora." The event was re-ported in newspapers across the world on January 26, 1938 and was documented in scientific journals.], 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 Im-maculate 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..."

The remaining part of Our Lady's words to the children at this point in her Third Apparition form what is commonly called the "Third Secret" or "Third Part of the Secret" of Fatima. The vision of Hell is considered the "First Secret" or "First Part of the Secret" and the prophecy of the eventual triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is considered the "Second Secret" or "Second Part of the Secret." The Third Part of the Secret was not revealed to the public until the year 2000, when, after the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta in Fatima on May 13, the first Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, it was published by Pope St. John Paul II through his doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.