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.

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.