Next year we mark a major anniversary. May 1917 is the centenary of Our Lady’s first apparition to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, the three shepherd children of Fatima. In all, there were six apparitions in 1917, which culminated on 13 October, 99 years ago today, when a vast crowd which had accompanied the three children witnessed what is known as “the miracle of the sun”.
In CTS’s new booklet, The Message and Prayers of Fatima, Timothy Tindal-Robertson introduces the reader to the message and meaning of those remarkable events. I asked Tindal-Robertson, national president of the World Apostolate of Fatima, England and Wales, why he thought Lucia and Blessed Francisco and Jacinta were chosen: having visited their tombs in Fatima, and having witnessed the great devotion to them, I was curious. For Tindal-Robertson, it is because “their hearts and minds were completely open to what was asked of them.”
To those who baulk at the thought of Our Lady showing a terrifying vision of Hell to children, he explains that when she promised to take them to heaven she told them “the reason for the vision was that, in order to save souls from going to Hell, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.”
In her apparition of 13 May 1917 Our Lady had requested that the Pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. This was finally carried out by St John Paul II on 25 March 1984. I ask Tindal-Robertson, who has written about the consecration and the events leading up to it in his book Fatima, Russia and John Paul II, why factions in the Church still insist that the consecration has not yet taken place.
He explains: “They have been confused by a falsified version of Our Lady’s request”, adding “they have not read Sister Lucia’s several statements that the Virgin was pleased with Pope John Paul II’s consecration.” He has a file of these statements, available to anyone interested in knowing the truth.
And how would he respond to those who say their faith doesn’t require them to believe in the apparitions at Fatima? Tinda-Robertson counters this with his own incisive question: “Would the Mother of God and of the Church come down from heaven accompanied by exceptional supernatural manifestations, with a message to save humanity from the spirit of Godlessness that has overtaken the world, if such an intervention was not needed?”