Valenzuela City, February 1, 2017 — In line with the centennial celebration of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, bishops affirm that the Message of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her apparitions at Fatima are as relevant in today’s world in crisis and urged the faithful to “go back to basics of faith” by praying especially for the country’s government officials amid what seems to be an “adversarial relationship” seen lately.
According to Jaro Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdamaeo, who is the National Spiritual Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF) Philippines, the message of the Our Lady of Fatima is to continue leading a prayerful life.
Lagdameo, likewise, called on the people to pray and support government officials from the highest post down to town leaders.
“You will notice really an adversarial relationship between the state and the Church. What should be the idea is a relationship that is working together and respecting one another and serving the same people together not adversarial,” Lagdameo said.
“We encourage our lay faithful to pray for the senators, congressmen, governors, representatives, mayors even the barangay captains that they may learn to serve the people,” he added.
Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Appointed Liaison Bishop for the Fatima Centennial Celebration Bishop Guillermo Afable of the Diocese of Digos said that prayer and devotion is needed with the increasing challenges for the Church such as efforts to push for divorce and same-sex union in the country.
“The message of Fatima is not only relevant but urgent,” Afable said. “Nandito na tayo sa third World War. It is a different kind of world war. It is amazing, unbelievable and mind boggling na tayo na lang yung country kung saan hindi pa nili-legalize ang divorce at same-sex marriage but it is still a continuing battle. There is the Reproductive Health Law. Maraming possibilities dyan na we need to be vigilant.”
In 1916 and 1917, a series of apparitions by the Angel of Peace and the Blessed Virgin Mary was witnessed by three children seers – Lucia Santos, Jacinta and Francisco Marto in Fatima, Portugal. The apparitions were eventually granted approval by the local ordinary of Leiria-Fatima on October 13, 1930.
Fatima Centennial Celebration
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Valenzuela is the center of Fatima devotion in the Philippines and will be spearheading the activities for its 100th anniversary hand in hand with the World Apostolate of Fatima of the Philippines.
According to Bro. Jilson Tio, chairman of the centennial committee, all objectives of the national celebration are aligned with centenary celebrations in the sanctuary in Fatima, Portugal.
The centennial celebration opened November 27, 2016 and will cap off by November 26, 2017. One of the major activities lined up is the nine-month visit of the National Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima to nine different national and Marian shrines in Luzon.
The first visit started in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Makati last August 2016 followed by a visit to the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Parañaque City last September, and the Manila Cathedral last October.
Because we are a “Pueblo Amante de Maria”, another Fatima Pilgrim Image was given to our country which is under the care of the WAF Philippines will start its Centenary Pilgrim Image Visit to all the Arch/Dioceses in the country. The first leg of this Centenary Visit which starts on February 4, 2017 will embark on the Arch/Dioceses within Mindanao starting with Davao, Digos, Tagum, Mati, Tandag, Surigao, and Butuan. On March, the image will be going to the Arch/Dioceses of Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay, Kidapawan, Marbel, Cotabato, Prelature of Marawi, Iligan, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Ipil, Zamboanga, Isabela and Dipolog. The Pilgrimage will stop for a break during the Holy Week and will resume after Easter Sunday with the Arch/Dioceses within Visayas starting with Dumaguete, Cebu, Tagbilaran, Talibon, Maasin, Palo, Naval, Borongan, Calbayog, Catarman, Masbate, Sorsogon and Naga.
While the WAF Philippines Pilgrim Image is in the Diocese of Legazpi by May 25-28, it will grace the 21st Biennial National Convention of the World Apostolate of Fatima of the Philippines. Afterwhich the pilgrimage continues to the Arch/Dioceses of Virac, Libmanan, Daet, Gumaca, Boac, Lucena, Lipa, San Pablo and Manila by the month of June.
On June 24, 2017 will be the Renewal of National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The pilgrimage will resume after, with the Dioceses of Imus, and Paranaque. Another break takes place to give way to the National Marian Congress on July 4-6, 2017. The Arch/Dioceses of Pasig, Antipolo, Cubao, Novaliches, Caloocan, Malolos, Balanga, Iba, Alaminos, Lingayen-Dagupan, Urdaneta, Baguio, San Fernando La Union, A.V. of Bontoc Lagawe, Nueva Segovia, Bangued, Laoag, Tuguegarao, A.V. of Tabuk, Ilagan, Bayombong, San Jose, Cabanatuan, Tarlac, San Fernando, Prelatures of Infanta and Batanes, A.V. of Puerto Princesa and Taytay, San Jose de Antique, Kalibo, Capiz, Jaro, Bacolod, Kabankalan, San Carlos, A.V. of San Jose, Mindoro, Calapan and Romblon which will run from the months of July to October of 2017.
There will also be a series of Marian conferences with speakers from the WAF International, particularly its International President Prof. Americo Pablo Lopez-Ortiz on May 21.
On April 30, there will be a Grand Marian Exhibit showcasing different iconographies of Our Lady of Fatima.
To address the youth, the documentary film “Fatima in the World” will also be publicly screened in the shrine as well as in different dioceses and archdioceses in the country. A concert is also being planned with the Philippine Madrigal Singers performing.
According to the WAF National President Bro. Reynald Andales who, is also one of the WAF International Board of Trustees, the centennial celebration is also a good way to bring other Marian groups, particularly Fatima groups, together and to ensure that the quality of what is being preached about the Fatima apparitions stay true to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church thereby ushering in unity of all the Fatima Apostolate in the country.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima Rector Msgr. Bartolome Santos, meanwhile added that the centenary of the Fatima Apparitions can be a venue to prepare Catholics for the Year of the Parishes as Communion of Communities this 2017 since the call to prayer by recitation of the rosary and novenas are some of the “basic” necessities in Catholic faith. The Year of the Parishes theme this year is part of the nine-year preparation of the CBCP for the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.
The theme focuses on empowering the Basic Ecclesial Communities or the grassroots in strengthening their faith through regular and effective catechesis in parishes and communities.