One of the most significant apparitions of Our Lady took place in Fatima, Portugal in the year 1917. Six times between May and October, she appeared to three shepherd children, Francisco and his sister Jacinta Marto and their cousin Lucia Dos Santos, giving them messages.
Her messages emphasized central truths and devotions of the Catholic Faith including the Blessed Trinity, the Eucharist and the value of penance, the rosary and making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.
Our Lady also made requests of us at Fatima, promising if we listened to her and followed through, there would be peace in the world. Among her requests for us were to:
- Pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world;
- Consecrate Russia and each of us individually to Mary’s Immaculate Heart;
- Perform our daily duties out of love, dedicating everything to God; and
- Make reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary by observing the Five First Saturdays of Reparation (see below).
In the year leading up to the apparitions, the children were visited three times by an angel, known as the Angel of Peace or the Angel of Portugal. The angel taught them prayers (see below), encouraged them to make sacrifices and even brought them Most Holy Communion on the last visit. Unbeknownst to the children, these visits prepared their hearts, minds and souls to receive Our Lady's visits.
Five First Saturdays
See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me? Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the … mysteries of the Rosary."
Our Lady to Sr. Lucia on December 10, 1925
In 1930, Jesus explained to Sr. Lucia why the number should be five instead of nine (to match the First Fridays devotion) or seven (to match the Seven Sorrows of Mary). This was in answer to a question her spiritual director posed. There are five ways people offend or blaspheme against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the five Saturdays counteract these:
Offenses or blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception – its denial and/or ridicule
Against her perpetual virginity
Against her divine maternity, refusing to accept her as the Mother of God and mother of all mankind
Those who implant in children’s hearts, indifference, contempt and even hate against our Immaculate Mother
Insults directed against her sacred images –displays of indifference or ridicule, and the infliction of damage to them.
With the intention of making reparation to Mary's Immaculate Heart, we are asked to:
Go to Confession (Can be within 8 days before or after the First Saturday)
Receive Holy Communion
Pray five decades of the Rosary
Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary
While Our Lady has promised to assist all those who will practice the devotion of the first Saturday, on five consecutive months, with the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of their death, this is not a guaranteed passage into Heaven. Our cooperation with grace is always required!
Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you."
Angel of Peace to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, 1916
Taught to the children by the Angel
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
The children were moved to pray this during Our Lady's first apparition
Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament!
Taught to the children by Our Lady
O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Lady asked that this be recited at the end of each decade
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
Taught to the children by the Angel
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.