The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon, Portugal — and EWTN is rolling out a new miniseries to mark the occasion, called “The Message of Fatima.”
Between May 13 and Oct. 13, 1917, three Portuguese shepherd children — Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and their cousin Lucia dos Santos — saw monthly visions of Our Lady.
Mary instructed the children to pray the rosary for world peace, to end World War I, to convert sinners, and to bring Russia back to the Faith.
From Franciscan Media:
Mary gave the children three secrets. Following the deaths of Francisco and Jacinta in 1919 and 1920 respectively, Lucia revealed the first secret in 1927. It concerned devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The second secret was a vision of hell. When Lucia grew up she became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97.
Pope John Paul II directed the Holy See’s Secretary of State to reveal the third secret in 2000; it spoke of a “bishop in white” who was shot by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows into him. Many people linked this vision to the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.
The feast of Our Lady of Fatima was approved by the local bishop in 1930; it was added to the Church’s worldwide calendar in 2002.
The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is Saturday, May 13 … and the very next day, Sunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day — so that weekend, we celebrate both our Mother in Heaven and all the mothers on Earth.
In a May 4 blog post, EWTN revealed extensive details about its docudrama miniseries “The Message of Fatima,” written, produced and directed by Stefano Mazzeo.
From the EWTN blog:
Not everyone knows that an Angel appeared to the three shepherd children in 1916 to prepare them for the apparitions from the Mother of God the following year. Episode 1 of this important docu-drama, which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, May 10, prepares viewers for what is to come by conveying the Angel’s messages. At 8 p.m. ET that same evening, Fr. Mitch Pacwa will interview Writer/Director Mazzeo on “EWTN Live.”
Then, just as at Fatima in 1917, EWTN will air an account of one of the six apparitions on the 13th of the same month in which they originally occurred. Each monthly episode will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, beginning Saturday, May 13 and ending Friday, Oct. 13 with the Miracle of the Sun.
The production was filmed on location in Fatima, featuring a trio of young actors that looks strikingly like the original seers, along with such authentic settings as the church in which the children were baptized, went to First Confession and First Holy Communion.
“Pope Benedict XVI said, “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. The message will continue to be lived out as long as there are people on earth. It’s a private revelation, so we don’t have to believe it, but it does lead us to and re-emphasize the deposit of faith. I cannot say for sure that anything will happen this year, but I believe that the message of Fatima is not finished yet. The prophesies are ongoing.”
Click here to read the whole thing, which includes several stills from the production.
There are also reports that Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta — who died while still children — during an upcoming visit to the Fatima shrine in Portugal on May 12-23. The sainthood cause for Servant of God Sister Lucia is ongoing, and in February, it passed an important milestone on the way to beatification, the last step before canonization.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.