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Viewpoints

Father James Ebright: Fatima: The second apparition

The three children, brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and their cousin, Lúcia Santos, did not immediately return to their homes after the first apparition on May 13, 1917.

Dr. Kamila Valenta: Conversions in the midst of conflict

valentaThe Pew Research Center recently released a statistical report based on fertility rates, estimating that Islam will replace Christianity as the world’s largest religious faith by the year 2070.

Ellen Deem: What Poverty Action Week meant to us

deemPeople often ask me why I choose to teach in a Catholic school when I’m a Protestant. My response is always the same. When I realized God was calling me to teach, I knew one thing for certain. I needed to be able to verbally acknowledge where my calling came from on a daily basis. I was recently reminded of how important my calling is to me.

Deacon James H. Toner: Purgatory

tonerWhat we think is the right road
From the internet: “When we die, we will not be routed to a waiting room to await entrance to heaven. Either Christ’s death paid the full price of our sins or it didn’t. We will either go to hell or heaven.

Fred Gallagher: The Stations and the senses

gallagher fredIn every Catholic church I’ve ever entered, there have been pieces of art hanging on the walls of the nave: the Stations of the Cross.

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.

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