Day by Day with Pope Francis features selections from the homilies, public addresses, letters and other writings of the Holy Father addressed to the world since the beginning of his papacy. These quotations offer words of hope, comfort, inspiration, courage,and incentive.
Today, May 13th, the Catholic Church celebrates the
feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Here is the story:
May 13th, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three little
shepherds in the village of Fatima, Portugal. Seven-year old Jacinta, her
nine-year-old brother Francisco, and their ten-year-old cousin Lucia were
tending their sheep in a field called the Cova da Iria. Suddenly they saw a
bright flash of light. A beautiful Lady, dressed in white and gold, appeared on
a cloud over a small oak tree. A golden cord hung around her neck. Her hands
were joined in prayer and she held a pearl rosary.
told the children that she had been sent by God with a message for every man,
woman and child in our century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn
asunder by the untold violence of World War I, Mary promised that Heaven would
grant peace to the entire world if her requests for prayer, reparation, and
consecration were heard and obeyed.
explained that war is a punishment for sin. She warned that if people continued
to disobey God’s Will, they would suffer consequences of war, hunger, and persecution
of the Church. She also prophesied that Russia would “spread her errors” of
atheism and materialism across the earth. Our Lady of Fatima repeatedly
emphasized the necessity of praying daily, especially the Rosary, of wearing
the Brown Scapular, and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice. She
also promised a sign on October 13th as proof of her messages.
A heavy rain fell all night and into the morning as a
great crowd of more than 70,000 people gathered at the Cova on October 13th,
1917. The Lady
appeared to the children for the last time, more radiant than ever. “Her face
was brighter than the sun,” said Francisco. “I am the Lady of the Rosary,” the
Virgin Mary said. “I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and
ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord, who has
been so deeply offended. They must pray, especially the rosary.” She said that
if people amended their lives, the war would end soon. She then left the
children, raising her hands toward the sky.
cried, “Look at the sun!” The children looked up and saw Mother Mary with Saint
Joseph and the Infant Jesus. They saw Jesus blessing the people. Meanwhile, the
people were able to look at the sun without hurting their eyes. It appeared as a
silver disc, and began spinning in the sky. As it danced, it cast off great
shafts of colored light which flashed and fell upon the sky and the earth. Men
and women fell to their knees and prayed as brilliant colors fell on the trees
and stones. Suddenly, the sun began to zigzag! It started to fall like a wheel
of fire upon the people. They cried out in fear and asked Jesus and Mary to
save them. After a few moments, the sun returned to its place. The people
rejoiced and praised God for the “Miracle of the Sun.”
May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot in the chest and in the abdomen at
point blank range in St. Peter’s Square. He credited his miraculous escape from
death to the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima. One year later he traveled to
Fatima, and placed the bullet in the crown resting upon the statue of Mary
there. He said, “One finger fired the bullet, but another guided its path.”
than 7 years later, the Berlin Wall fell without a bullet being fired, and
Communism collapsed across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
As you may recall, we celebrated the feast of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, on March 19th.
But he is so important, the Church wanted to honor him more, and they found a way.
For decades, May Day was the occasion for Communist countries to parade their military power. On this day in 1955, Pope Pius XII inaugurated the celebration of Saint Joseph the Worker. It seemed comical, even absurd, to raise up Joseph to challenge the Communist military machine on its May Day march, but look at what happened! The disintegration of Communism is often attributed to the Lord working through the prayers of His people, and especially in response to the apparitions of Mother Mary at Fatima in 1917, urging all to pray and do penance for the conversion of Russia.
That being said, it is also true that the Lord has transformed the world through Joseph and through simple, common, obscure workers like him--like us! As Saint Paul exhorts us, "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it for the Lord rather than for men. ... Be slaves of Christ the Lord". (Colossians 3:23-24).
Our simple lives and routine work can change the world if we have faith as did Saint Joseph. The Lord is speaking to us today: "Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work! For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:4).
Dear friends, Today—Holy
Thursday, tomorrow —Good Friday, and Holy Saturday evening—the Easter Vigil,
make up the Triduum, the three most sacred days for Christians all over the
world. Jesus became one of us to save us, to deliver us from death, to give us
real and lasting life. He waits for us to choose Him, as He has chosen us. This
Easter, may you come to know Him and His love for you, for you are precious to
Today, August 15, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed
What does this mean? The Church teaches that “the
immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of
her earthly life, was assumed (taken up) body and soul to heavenly glory.” In
other words, God raised Mary up, body and soul, to be with Him in heaven
Pope Pius XII pointed to the Book of
Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for the dogma in terms of Mary's victory
over sin and death as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: “then shall
come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Revelation
12 also speaks of a woman, clothed with the sun, who is caught up in the battle
between good and evil. Many see this woman as a symbol both of Mary and of all
God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New
Testament, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s
does this mean for us? Mary is understood as “the first among the disciples of
the Lord.” Thus, she is a sign of what God wants to do for us, and will
do for us, if we follow her direction given to the servants at the wedding of
Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.”