Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina


Bishop Robert Barron: Our Lady of Fatima and a theological reading of history

barronThis past week, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to a group of shepherd children near the Portuguese town of Fatima. The series of Fatima appearances – lasting from May until October of 1917 – is one of the most extraordinary in the history of the Church. It has also beguiled political and cultural commentators outside the ambit of the Church, and it is this wider implication that I would like to explore.

Fred Gallagher: Thinking like a Catholic

gallagher fredSeveral years ago a young man came to talk to me.

He had some major problems, among them alcohol abuse. He was a bright young man with a volatile temper and some pretty anti-social behavior when he was drinking.

Deacon James H. Toner: Women deacons

tonerWhat we think is the right road

The Catholic priesthood is temporarily closed to women, but we can still make a progressive change in holy orders. There are male deacons, so why can’t there be female deacons? Women deacons would be a good start on the path, after a few more years, to a priesthood that does not discriminate against women. They have a right to holy orders, too.

Father James Ebright: Fatima: The third apparition

The sufferings of the three children intensified as their families, neighbors and even their pastor condemned them for making claims that Our Lady appeared to them. Their pastor told the people that the children’s claims were the “invention of the devil.” One of the few who believed the children replied to him saying, “There is praying at the Cova da Iria, and the devil does not like that.” “The devil, even, goes to the Communion rail,” countered the priest. Such was the persecution of the three seers.

Fred Gallagher: The light rising

gallagher fredGiven that our faith is built upon Christ’s coming into the world, serving us, suffering and dying for us, and then rising from the dead, it is natural to speculate all the more about what His rising means in our lives.

Deacon James H. Toner: The mood of the times

tonerWhat we think is the right road

Abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia are rights. The poor are poor because the rich are rich. The earth is over-populated, and man himself is the chief threat to the well-being of our planet. Islam is a religion of peace. War is always immoral.


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