MANILA – The Philippines joined the whole Catholic world in the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the Fatima apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary before three Portuguese peasants on May 13, 1917.
The Blessed Mother is the patron saint of the Philippines, where more than 80 percent of the population is Catholic.
Many churches in the country are named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
It was in Cova da Iria at Fatima that the Blessed Mother appeared before three children -- Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta -- who saw a flash of light like a lightning from the sky, which was followed by another flash though it was a clear blue sky, according to church records.
It was during the first apparition that the Blessed Mother made a fervent request to all humanity to: "Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war."
After saying these words, she rose into the air, moving towards the east and disappeared from the sight of the three children, the church records show.
The Fatima apparitions had the elements of prophecy and eschatology, particularly the outbreak of World War I in 1918 and World War II in 1939 in Europe and two years later in the Pacific and the conversion of Russia. It may be recalled that in 1989, the world saw the breakup of the Soviet Union.
It was also during the Fatima apparitions that close to 100,000 people witnessed what is now known as the “dancing of the Sun” as the Blessed Mother also handed the Three Secrets of Fatima, the church said.
The first secret was when the three children saw in a vision the fire of hell.
The second secret included the instructions of the Blessed Mother on how to save souls from hell and convert the world to the Christian faith.
The third secret was a vision of the death of the Pope and other religious figures.
The Blessed Mother told the children the importance of penance, and more penance for man to be saved from eternal perdition.*PNA