The apparitions of Fatima are a significant event of the Catholic Church, not only because of their importance for many persons and their wide spreading throughout the world, but also because of their close bond with the Gospel message, the intensity with which the apparitions mark the experience of faith of many Catholics and the prophetic extent of its calls. The Church confirmed that these apparitions are a credible and valid proposal for the fulfillment of a Christian life.
Indeed, the message of Fatima is eloquent to believers of all time; it didn’t remain caught in a former time; it projects instead dynamism in our present and opens horizons of faith for the future of human history. As Fatima events are a call for humanity of our time, the centennial celebration also wants to become an instrument of this up-to-date call. Therefore, it’s not just a historic date we shall mark, which relegated it to a time of the past.
The pilgrimage of Pope Benedict XVI at Cova da Iria, in May 2010, following the pilgrimages of his predecessors, shows us, in a way, that in the message of Fatima there is a set of elements that can developed the message into a vehicle of evangelization, a path to conversion and to Jesus Christ. In this sense, this celebration should contribute to deepen and update this message; it should provide a contribution to the renewal and strengthening of faith, and it should be a help to spiritual growth of the people of God.
Therefore, the celebration of this centennial is, first of all and above all, a pastoral project that focuses on the spiritual nature and reflection of faith. Its objectives are of religious nature in their many aspects (theological, celebrative, spiritual, catechetical ...) and dimensions (personal, community, social ...).
The aspects of cultural or social context are also present in these commemorations, but always in the perspective of mission: they are a privileged way to reach those who are emotionally away from the Church, they are an expression of the faith that is celebrated, and they are the Christian accomplishment of human realities.
The objectives of the centennial of the apparitions of Fatima, presented here, have been defined in this setting.
To show the importance of the apparitions of Fatima to the Church and the world.
To spread the message of Fatima at national and international level.
To foment reflection on the message of Fatima and its implications for Christian life.
To develop, in the light of the message of Fatima, pastoral support.
To propose ways of living the spirituality of Fatima.
To promote the festive dimension of the centennial with rituals and cultural proposals.
On November 28, 2010, First Sunday of Advent, the Shrine of Fatima began a new stage, which has as its aim and goal the year 2017. It is a thematic plan, with seven years, to prepare and supervise the centennial celebration of the Fatima apparitions.
The plan here presented, which serves as a base for this cycle, was elaborated by a theological commission constituted as follows: Virgílio Antunes, Vítor Coutinho, Angela Coelho, Carlos Cabecinhas, Emanuel Silva, Jacinto Farias, Joao Duque, José Carlos Carvalho, Luciano Cristino.
The source to itemize the several elements of this reflection itinerary was found in Sister Lucia’s Memoirs. In each of the annual thematic cycles there is an allusion to one of the apparitions, both of the Angel and of Our Lady, and so is covered the whole history of the Fatima events. Leaning on testimonial texts and various theological insights, the main intention was to identify the fundamental ideas of the Fatima Message, finding for each of the seven annual cycles a diversified set of proposals, adequate to present and illuminate such a message: an inspiring phrase or motto was adopted, from which a general theme was derived and formulated for each year; also was defined a theological nucleus, a catechetical element and a believing attitude to be developed. In order to create a correspondence with the main months of pilgrimage, from May to October, each general theme was divided into six thematic units; and each unity was provided with several specific contents.
This itinerary connects the significant themes of the Fatima Message in a threadlike course, so as to highlight the unifying ideas between them, to discern and divide into its central and secondary aspects, to find a perspective or relational approach and several reading keys. There was a concern to integrate and bring together into this plan the theological contents of the Fatima Message and the concrete expressions of its spirituality, that can be included and developed in the various pastoral proposals: the worship of the Most Holy Trinity, the centrality of the Eucharist, the call to conversion, penance as a way of spiritual change, the Marian dimension of the Catholic faith, prayer for the conversion of sinners, for the Pope and for peace in the world, reparation to the hearts of Jesus and Mary, fraternal solidarity.
All these elements provide further development prospects of the Fatima Message, because they afford a theological framework for the devotional exercises peculiar to Fatima spirituality: Rosary prayer, Eucharistic adoration, the devotional practice of First Saturdays, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And so they constitute a guidance for thematic support of the liturgical celebrations, of catechesis, of spiritual and devotional acts, of study and reflection activities.
The Shrine of Fatima has promoted two competitions with the aim of creating a poetic and musical composition, which could be sung in celebrations (liturgical or not). This creation follows the old belief of the Church - which also matches the anthropological reality of many cultures - that poetic language, intrinsically linked to musical expression, can express and lead people to express joy in a special celebration. With this initiative, the Shrine of Fatima aimed for a hymn for the celebration of the centennial of the apparitions. This creation would be the identification element of the event which should be easily understood and remembered by the assemblies gathered around the Message of Fatima (in the Shrine or elsewhere).
Entitled "Mestra do Anúncio, Profecia do Amor" (Master of the announcement, Prophecy of love), this hymn of the centennial of the apparitions of Fatima (published as a support for all communities who wish to use it) is the result of these two competitions, which jury consisted of professionals in the field of literature, music and theological sciences, with Maria Helena da Rocha Pereira, Vasco Graça Moura, José Tolentino Mendonça, Joana Carneiro, Eugénio Amorim Paulo Lameiro, Virgílio do Nascimento Antunes and Vítor Coutinho.
Among the dozens of compositions submitted to the contest, the literary composition of Marco Daniel Duarte was the winner and the musical composition of José Joaquim Ribeiro. The hymn of the centennial was sung for the first time during the anniversary pilgrimage in May 2011.
May this poetic support help the pilgrim of Fatima to contemplate the Mother of Clemency and Mercy, the Mother of Peace and Gentleness, Mary who is the Master of the announcement of the Truth of God to men and is the Prophecy of the love of God experienced by all men. Humble servant, she welcomed the Word and kept it in her heart; near the Cross of Jesus, she united herself to the Mystery of Redemption and welcomed all men as her children; until the coming of the Holy Spirit, she persevered in prayer with the Apostles, by joining in the prayers of all men and becoming a model of prayer; in Heaven, Mary now assists the pilgrim Church with her maternal love.
Our history meets in every step with the motherhood of Our Lady. Almost a hundred years ago, "a lady brighter than the sun" appeared to the little shepherds in this place. Through this hymn, let us sing the motherhood of Mary that makes us experience the love and closeness of God:
Ave o clemens, Ave o pia
Salve Regina Rosarii Fatimae!
Ave o dulcis Virgo Maria.
Shrine of Fatima, May 13, 2012
Organizing Committee of the Centennial of the Apparitions of Fatima
Official Symbol of the Centennial of the Apparitions of Fatima
Symbol of unconditional love, the Heart of Mary embodies fully the Heart of God. The Symbol of the Centennial of the Apparitions at Fatima, created from the sculpture "In the Heart of Mary", authored by Cristina Rocha Leiria, wants to remind everyone that it is possible to discover in Mary's image the merciful love of God for all humanity.
Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia have experienced that love and each pilgrim of the Lady of the Rosary can also experience it; standing in front of the heart, one can see his own face in the symbol, universally considered as the image of Love.
Entering the Heart of Mary, we are sure we will reach God, as the motto chosen to celebrate the centennial of the apparitions of Fatima reminds us: "My Immaculate Heart will lead you to God" (Memoirs of Sister Lucia).
Official logo of the Centennial of the Apparitions of Fatima
The proposal is based on the dates that mark the ephemeris of the Centennial of the Apparitions of Fatima and on an easily recognizable and identifiable element of the Shrine: the bell tower of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
With the Apparitions and the spirituality that arose and that is rooted in Fatima, the Shrine welcomes thousands of pilgrims. For these pilgrims, and in a
purely pictorial language, the basilica and its tower are a goal, a sign that they have reached their destination, which is the place of the apparitions.
The image of the tower is thus considered the incontestable symbol of Fatima, of the Apparitions of Our Lady, of the little Shepherds and of Faith.
Based on this image, a logo was created with the centennial dates, and one of the figures was replaced by a cross, to bring out the Christian feature of the ephemeris.
The colors were chosen with the wish to emphasize the lightness and the spiritual of the event. Warm gray tones contrast with the gold color allusive to the crown of Our Lady and the different gold elements present in sacred art.
For practical reasons, and in addition to the main logo, a version less "descriptive" and more condensed has been created and can be used as a "seal”.