100th Anniversary of Fatima Marked at UN Headquarters
NEW YORK, May 12 (C-Fam) “Pope Francis has just landed in Fatima,” said the ambassador of Portugal to mark the beginning of a special event at UN headquarters to celebrate the centenary of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima to three Portuguese shepherd children. Pope Francis is in Fatima to canonize two of the children, Jacinta and Francisco.
Panelists became emotional as they addressed over 500 people packed into a UN conference room and recounted the remarkable faith and trials of the three young shepherds and how Our Lady appeared to them asking them to pray and make sacrifices for peace in the middle of the Great War in 1917, and only months before the October revolution unleashed communism on the world.
The third child, Lucia, became a nun and lived until 2005. Before she died Sister Lucia revealed that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.” But she wrote not to worry, because “Our Lady has already crushed its head.”
Ambassador Álvaro Mendonça e Moura of Portugal introduced the event highlighting the message of peace of Fatima “Peace is a nuclear always present message,” he said of the message the children received. “It is a woman that brings the message of peace,” he added, and “It is to the children that the message of peace is firstly addressed.”
Archbishop Bernadito Auza, of the Holy See Mission to the UN, which co-sponsored the event alongside Portugal, recounted the miracle of the dancing Sun, where 70,000 witnesses, among them atheists, journalists, government officials and other skeptics witnessed a miraculous event that confirmed that the three shepherd children were truly experiencing something supernatural.
He said it would not be easy to dismiss the witness of all those people. But he emphasized that “we are not celebrating just a series of events from the past. They are relevant for the present and future of humanity.”
Auza appealed to Pope Francis’ “universal call to conversion,” understood not as a change of religion but as a change of heart to understand Fatima’s message of peace.
“Conversion is a precondition for peace,” he said. “It is from the transformation of the heart that the revolution of peace flows,” he added.
Johnnette Benkovic, Founder and President of Women of Grace, spoke about the importance of women to create peace and cited Pope Paul VI’s last words at the close of the Vatican Council II: “Women of the entire universe, whether Christian or non-believing, you to whom life is entrusted at this grave moment in history, it is for you to save the peace of the world.” She pointed to Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Teresa, the Lady of Burma, and Benazhir Bhutto as women who fulfilled this calling.
A famous statue of Our Lady blessed by Pope Pius XII to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the apparitions presided over the meeting. It is known as the “UN Statue” because it was brought to UN headquarters once before in 1952. The statue and relics of Jacinta and Francisco will be at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for a special celebration of the centenary of the apparitions on Saturday, May 13th.