Today is the Feast of our Lady of Fatima when we thank the Lord for Mary's six appearances to three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, between May 13 and October 13, 1917 at the little village of Fatima which had remained faithful to the Church during recent persecution by the government. Fatima is about 145 km north of Lisbon, Portugal. Our Lady said to the children that war is a punishment for sin; that the Church would face great persecution unless there was real repentance, a listening to the word of God and obedience to his commands. Pope John Paul II said that the message of Fatima is even more relevant and more urgent than when Our Lady first appeared. In fact, Mary’s message was a prophecy, an indication of what was to transpire in the 20th century.
As a sign that this message came from God, a miracle took place in the sky above Fatima before 70,000 witnesses on October 13, 1917 at the exact time, date and place that Lucy and the other two children had prophesied. While the crowd watched, the sun rotated, grew large and small, came close to the people, and then drew far away from them. The sun "danced." Everyone who was there testified to seeing this, even non-believers who immediately dropped onto their knees and begged for forgiveness.
Over the decades Fatima became a great pilgrimage centre, a place truly blessed by God that draws people from all over the world to seek Our Lady's intercession. In recent years increasing numbers of Anglicans have gone to pray at Fatima, including a youth pilgrimage organised by Forward in Faith UK.
Here is a video of the procession of Our Lady of Fatima.