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
When our loved ones turn from God
It can be extremely distressing to see our sons, daughters and loved ones make life choices that take them away from God. The secular world often tempts people of all ages to put material possessions, relationships, careers, pleasure, or addictions ahead of a relationship with God. Many pray in anguish for their children or loved ones to re-find their faith. Years may pass without improvement and some may feel that God is not listening or wonder if they are doing something wrong.
What can we do?
Jesus tells us to persevere in prayer and that whatever we ask in His name, He will do. Jesus desires that we are in a “right place” with respect to our relationship with Him. In other words, we need to be aligned with God’s will for us and develop a heart that is forgiving, full of love and at peace. Recognizing the needs of parents and grandparents to learn to pray more effectively, a popular seminar called “How to Pray for Your Sons, Daughters and Loved Ones” has been taught over the past 20 years by Vernon Robertson, a Catholic evangelist.
The impact on lives
Vernon and his wife Maureen went through a very difficult phase of their life when their teenage son became a real prodigal. After an intense period of prayer over many years, they had a surprise call one day from their son who was living and working far away. He apologized for how he had treated them, asked their forgiveness, and told them he had re-found his faith.
Hundreds and hundreds of people have attended this Seminar of Hope over the past 20 years or watched it on EWTN. Feedback from previous participants includes:
- “Absolutely transformational for me and my prayer life…”
- “Vernon is a very powerful speaker. I’ve never attended anything quite like this and it touched me deeply.”
- “I thought it was wonderful … God definitely spoke to me at this seminar.”
- “I now have hope and peace in my heart about my children; I did not have this feeling before.”
- “I felt God telling me: I love you and will take care of you and your loved ones … trust me.”
Upcoming seminar on May 26 and 27, 2017
St. Michael Catholic Community is pleased to sponsor this two-part seminar starting on Friday, May 26 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and concluding on Saturday, May 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. To receive a free participant’s manual and reserve a seat, please register in advance by email to email@example.com or phone the parish receptionist at (403) 249-0423 ext. 101. The church is located at 800 - 85th Street SW in Calgary. There is no charge for this seminar and a free will offering will be taken to cover the speaker’s costs. For the lunch break on Saturday, please bring a brown bag lunch or eat out at a nearby restaurant; coffee/tea will be provided.
About the speaker
Vernon Robertson is a Vancouver based Catholic evangelist, father of three and grandfather of eleven. He has led this seminar for 20 years and has spoken on this and related faith topics across Canada and in other countries. Vernon is currently a board member of Renewal Ministries of Canada. Previously, Vernon was National Catholic Advisor to the Alpha Board of Directors of Canada and served on the Vancouver Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. In October 2010, Vernon was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (for Church and Pope) Cross by Pope Benedict the XVI. For more information, see www.seminarofhope.org.
About the writer
Mark Richards is a father of four adult children and a member of St. Michael Catholic Community. Mark has personally experienced how God uses this seminar to work in his own life and in the lives of his children. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (403) 836-0545.
Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit powerfully uses the Seminar of Hope as a channel of healing and reconciliation for people from all walks of life. - Fr. Jerome Lavigne, St. Peter’s Calgary
Dear Friends in Christ,
Mission Council receives about 30 appeals every year from different parts of the world. Some applicants need very urgent and immediate help. However, because of the lack of funds we can only help a few projects out of the 30 appeals. It’s very difficult to let others down every year, and it breaks my heart.
I hope that many faithful will participate in this mission to help people in need. We chose eight projects last year and I am happy to present some photos of our diocesan missions. We are unable to include photos for one project (Rescuing young girls from human trafficking in Nepal) due to confidentiality.
I take an opportunity to give a sincere thank to all the donors whose generosity made this mission possible.
God bless you,
Sr. Rita Kim FMM
View the mission council report here: http://www.calgarydiocese.ca/resources/mission-council-2016-report.html
For a number of years, I have been helping with this program to make our parish and our church more safe for the vulnerable. What I believe is that we are making progress with our Model Code of Conduct, Police Information Checks, and abuse prevention training for the parishioners who help in our high and medium risk ministries.
It is so important to be aware of our seniors and children. While being around the elderly, I notice how they are so wonderful and helpful to all and they have so much knowledge to share with us. By getting to know them, we begin to see what they are going through, and what abuse some have received from people in their lives. Some just stay silent, but we all must be aware and reach out to them.
The deathly silence of some of those victims, our own elders, brings to mind Isaiah’s description of the suffering servant, “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth” [53:7]. And again, “He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities…” [53:5]. This reminds us of the truth that many vulnerable suffer by the sinful actions of others.
Isaiah says that this suffering and this iniquity would make us whole, that “by his wounds are we healed.” But we know that healing is a long way off for many, even some very close to us. There are no excuses for violence and abusive behavior. We are only very slowly learning that, if someone is abused mentally or physically or sexually, blaming the victim is never justified.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, says that “this world is in trouble and I am urging us to work for all of humanity.” We know that we are children of God and as St. Paul has explained, the Spirit we have received gives us the grace to cry “Abba, Father” and to be free from the fear of being slaves [Rom 8:15]. With the grace of the Holy Spirit and the willingness to question and change our lives to help each other in strengthening our parishes and protecting our vulnerable, we can realize God’s desire for all people to live as his beloved children.
And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord.’ –Luke 1:41
The 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima is approaching. It will be a celebration of one of the most dramatic accounts of Marian apparitions in our time. Beginning with three visits by the Angel of Peace in 1916, three shepherd children in Portugal claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary during six apparitions that concluded on the 13th of October 1917. Our Lady had promised to reveal three secrets to the children, and offered a miracle upon her last visit, which was witnessed by upwards of 60,000 people. One of these secrets is said to have predicted the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981. Lucia Dos Santos, the eldest of the three children, later saw an apparition, of the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary, in her convent room in 1925.
Dating back to the 1500s, the Anglo-French word “aparicion” references the Epiphany as an opening of Heaven to the world. Just as the revelation of the Christ child to the three wise men offered a glimpse of a greater glory, so too can an apparition be understood to open a door to divine understanding. Over time the word has come to be used as a signifier of anything ghostly and unexpected, but it traces itself back to holy origins. Marian apparitions occupy a unique place in our Catholic faith, and pilgrimages to major sites in Lourdes and Tepeyac (near Mexico City, Our Lady of Guadalupe), for example, are legendary.
As important as the visions themselves, are the “messages” Mother Mary is said to have brought, from requests to build churches, to prayers to end a world war. The visions reveal a call to hope, though they also warn of challenges and crises, for which faith is offered as a refuge and an antidote. A particular feature of Marian apparitions is the disclosing of secrets that tell of impending tragedies or momentous events. In the end, such apparitions are powerful reminders of our belief in Mary, and her place as a mediator for humanity – a bridge to Our Lord.
As a university named in her honour, the St. Mary’s community looks forward to the month of May, which is traditionally understood as Our Lady’s month. As Marge Fenelon, writing in the National Catholic Register put it, “The idea of a month dedicated specifically to Mary can be traced back to baroque times. …It was in this era that Mary’s Month and May were combined… with special devotions organized on each day throughout the month. This custom became especially widespread during the nineteenth century and remains in practice until today.” For many, including me, every day is Mary’s day: a time to celebrate a blessing of incredible mystery and approachability. As St. Josemaria Escrivá once said, “When you see the storm, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down.”