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Viewpoints

Fatima: The first apparition

031717 ChildrensofFatimaThe constellation of events, noted in the previous commentary “The past prepares the future,” demonstrated that the Heavenly Father prepared a place called Fatima for His plan for peace to be revealed nearly 11 centuries later. In 1916, at the apex of the Great War, He sent an angel there to three shepherd children.

Barbara Case Speers: Plan B

speersJust recently I was reading Luke 5:17-20:

Sister Mary Raphael: Catapulted into Lent

raphaelIt is time. The ashes have come out, parish missions have begun. It is time for the “glory of these 40 days” and “hearts renewed by living faith.”

Barbara Case Speers: This Lent, don’t give up something – Do something instead

speersBy now, you have probably pondered what to give up for Lent. So what’s your game plan? Will it be similar to what you did last year for Lent?

Fred Gallagher: 40 days in books and words

gallagher fredAn old friend of mine used to say he gave up the same thing every year for Lent: antelope meat! “Somebody has to do it,” he said. I now do the same but I’ve added heresy to that formula.

Fatima: The past prepares the future

Europe, 711 AD. The Muslim population is increasing. Islam is firmly rooted in North Africa, Tunisia and most of the Arabian Peninsula. As the religion’s sphere of influence widens, the leaders establish, by force, an Islamic State – a Caliphate. It stretches from Aleppo, Syria in the west, Turkey to the north and Iran in the east. It is ruled by the Righteous Caliph.

cvnc MR 12FROM THE PASTORS

Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at  parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:

020717 fatimaVATICAN CITY — The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Portugal in 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima.

The pope, who accepted the invitation made by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the bishops of Portugal, "will go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from May 12-13," the Vatican announced Dec. 17.

The pilgrimage will mark the anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which first began on May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary.

The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

Following the announcement, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, rector of the Fatima shrine told Agencia Ecclesia, the news agency of the Portuguese bishops' conference, that the visit was a "cause for joy" for the shrine.

"For the shrine of Fatima, it is a great joy to receive this confirmation of Pope Francis' visit," he said.

"We know that those days will be a pilgrimage marked by this festivity that, on the one hand is for the centennial of the apparitions and, on the other hand, marks the presence of the pope in our midst and a pope as beloved as Pope Francis," Father Cabecinhas said.

While the Vatican confirmed the dates of the visit, the pope had already said that he intended to go.

"Certainly, as things presently stand, I will go to Portugal, and only to Fatima," he told journalists during his return flight to Rome from Azerbaijan Oct. 2.

Pope Francis will be the fourth pontiff to visit the Marian shrine, following the footsteps of Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who each paid homage different years to Mary on the anniversary of the first apparition May 13.

— Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service