This year, the Church celebrates the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three children in Fatima, Portugal. According to the witnesses in 1917, Our Lady appeared to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia on the 13th of each month, from May to October of the same year, except in August when she appeared on August 19. The Fatima Apparitions are special in that their universal message of salvation is strongly connected to the Gospel. The message of Our Lady of Fatima calls us to prayer, reparation, penance and sacrifice.
In his Introduction to The Message of Fatima published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus) points out, “These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.” Cardinal Ratzinger also said that, “Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions.”
By decree of the Bishop of Calgary and in honour of the Centennial Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, the faithful who visit Our Lady of Fatima Church in Calgary and who devotedly pray before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, invoking her intercession from May 13, 2017 to December 31, 2017 will receive a partial indulgence provided that they are “baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works” [CIC 996 §1].
By decree of Pope Francis, a plenary indulgence is also available to the faithful who meet the ordinary conditions — go to Confession and Communion, be interiorly detached from sin and in a state of grace, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father — and “who visit with devotion an image of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly displayed for public veneration in any temple, oratory or adequate place, during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions (the 13th of each month from May to October 2017), and devotedly participate there in any celebration or prayer in honour of the Virgin Mary, pray the Our Father, recite the symbol of faith (Creed) and invoke Our Lady of Fatima” [ Jubilee Year of Fatima, Concession of Plenary Indulgence ].
The Church of Our Lady of Fatima will hold a mass and rosary the 13th day of each month at 6:30 p.m. After the mass and rosary, the chapel will be open for those desiring to further fulfill the conditions of the plenary indulgence.
An indulgence is a remission of sin before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven. According to Saint John Paul II, through an indulgence, God grants the prayer of the Church that the temporal penalty for sin be remitted. By God’s grace, participation in a prayer or action that has an indulgence attached to it brings about restoration and reparation with God. “The Church has a treasury, then, which is ‘dispensed’ as it were through indulgences. This ‘distribution’ should not be understood as a sort of automatic transfer, as if we were speaking of ‘things’. It is instead the expression of the Church’s full confidence of being heard by the Father when, in view of Christ’s merits and, by his gift, she asks him to mitigate or cancel the painful aspect of punishment by fostering its medicinal aspect through other channels of Grace” [ St. John Paul II, General Audience, Wednesday, 29 September 1999, 4 ].
By celebrating the Centennial year of Fatima, we give thanks to God for all the blessings He spread over us. Our Lady of Fatima parish had its genesis in 1970. For many years Fr. Vozza of Holy Trinity Parish offered monthly masses for Calgary’s Portuguese Catholics. Then, Bishop O’Byrne appointed a priest to assist the Portuguese community. Fr. Franklin E. Trudeau was sent to Portugal to learn the language of the people. He was the first pastor of the Portuguese Catholic Mission and the masses were offered at the Croatian church. The mission continued to flourish in the 1980s, with St. John’s Parish extending assistance from 1979 to 1984 when the congregation acquired its own makeshift church. With the enthusiastic guidance of Fr. Valentino de Freitas, parish pastor from 1987 to 1995, the Portuguese community built Our Lady of Fatima Church. The Portuguese faithful of Our Lady of Fatima parish have kept the message of Fatima burning in their hearts and embodied in their worship since the earliest days. The event of Fatima has provided a spiritual compass that guides the faithful to Jesus through Mary.
(Our Lady of Fatima Church is open to the public from May 13 on every Tuesday 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday 1:00 to 8:00 p.m., Friday 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for those desiring the obtain the above partial indulgence or simply to pray)
In the May 2017 edition of The Carillon, an icon of Our Lady of Fatima was featured on the front page. The painter, sacred art artist Vivian Imbruglia, offers us an explanation of the icon and its symbols. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE