Chicago Catholics, have you heard about a series of rosary rallies coming up this weekend? You may be wondering what all the fuss is about. At least two different groups are organizing rosary events over the weekend for Our Lady of Fatima, and they're asking all faithful Catholics to consider joining them. So why this specific weekend? Why so much focus on Fatima?
Simply put, October 13, 2013, marks the 96th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun” event, in which an estimated 30,000 to 100,000 people in Portugal witnessed extraordinary solar activity. According to the story, the blessed Virgin Mary visited three young children in Fatima. She predicted an end to World War I and showed the children visions, lifting her hands to the sky. At that moment, one of the children, Lucia, exclaimed, “The sun!” The sun suddenly emerged from behind the clouds, breaking up a day of rain. Observers said the sun appeared to whirl. Newspaper reports at the time said that the spectators all saw the sun “dance” in the sky for up to ten minutes, and cast multicolored lights across the landscape. (Later, Pope Pius XII even reported witnessing the miracle of the sun from the Vatican gardens.) Our Lady urged repentance and the building of a chapel at the site. This was the final of several appearances of Our Lady of Fatima.
Earlier, the three children at Fatima had reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary and testified that Our Lady had promised them a miracle in the sky would occur to prove to the naysayers that her messages were real. The Miracle of the Sun event is widely seen as a fulfillment of that promise.
The Archdiocese of Chicago is marking this event with a special “Fatima 100 Year Countdown” event at Holy Name Cathedral. There will be a mass at 2:00 p.m., celebrated by Bishop Joseph M. Siegel of the Diocese of Joliet. Fr. Andrew Apostole will use this special occasion give a short talk about the importance of Fatima and what it means for the world. The Mass is sponsored by the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima. Various Marian groups will bring banners and join together in a procession, carrying a statue of Mary in remembrance of the event.
Throughout the weekend, various other events are being held throughout the Chicago area to commemorate the Miracle of the Sun. For example, the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima will also be at Noonan Academy (19131 Henry Drive, Mokena, Illinois) on Sat., October 12, 2013 for a 6:30p.m. for dinner and presentation by the aforementioned Fatima expert Father Andrew Apostoli. They will also be honoring the Army's past president, Gloria Violante.
Perhaps most notably, however, hundreds of Rosary Rallies are occurring over the weekend to honor Fatima. The U.S. rallies are sponsored by America Needs Fatima, a not-for-profit organization. A local example of this is Glenview Rosary Rally. The rally will be held at St. Catherine Laboure Church, 3535 Thornwood in Glenview, Illinois. (two blocks west of Greenwood Avenue). It will occur on Saturday, October 12, 2013, in accordance with Our Lady's encouragement to recite the Rosary to promote world peace and to atone for sins. The schedule of the Glenview event is as follows:
- 8:00 am –Mass
- 8:45 am – Joyful Mysteries
- 9:00 am – Luminous Mysteries
- 9:30 am - 10:45 am – Individual confession
- 10:45 am – Sorrowful Mysteries
- 11:00 am – Divine Mercy Chaplet
- 11:45 am – Procession outside
- 12:00 pm (noon) – Angelus
- 12:15 pm – Glorious Mysteries
Everyone is invited to attend this event. If you have any questions or require additional information, please call St. Catherine Laboure's rectory at (847) 729-1414. For Chicago area Catholics who wish to attend a rosary rally closer to home, you can visit http://campaigns.americaneedsfatima.org/current-campaigns/rosary-rally-captain-map.html for the location of a rosary rally near you.
For those who can't attend any events to mark the Miracle of the Sun over this weekend, you can still honor Our Lady from home. Just take some time out to reflect on the message of Fatima, and consider reciting this special prayer:
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, (here kiss your rosary as a sign of your consecration. This carries a partial indulgence.) I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with it my every thought, word and action of this day. O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!