Philippine bishops on Saturday, cited the relevance of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, a hundred years after they reportedly occurred.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle celebrating the Fatima centenary in Pasay City of Philippines, on Saturday said that helping the poor and the outcasts is something that we can do concretely.
He said Christians must make room for people as Jesus did by doing good to others without being selective. “When we don’t like some people, we isolate them. But with Jesus, even Judas has room (in his heart),” Tagle said in his homily during Mass at the Our Lady of Fatima Parish. “Sometimes we do things that are contrary to Jesus’ teachings. Let us show that our parish is really God’s home… the body of Christ by giving room to others,” he said.
More than a thousand people attended the liturgical service which was also held to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the parish. Reflecting on the Fatima apparitions, he reminded the faithful that everyone had a place in God’s heart and it’s something that people should emulate.
He added that Fatima visionaries Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta were then nobodies and ignored by other people but Mary “showed them their room in the heart of Jesus.” Siblings Francesco and Jacina Marto were canonized by Pope Francis in Fatima, Portugal on May 13.
During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed 200 images of Our Lady of Fatima that were distributed to the different barangays in Pasay City.
Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches said the centenary celebration is an opportunity for Catholics to convert from a life of selfishness and "egoism." The prelate, who led hundreds of devotees in a candlelight procession in Manila, said the essence of the apparitions is a call to conversion. "God will do everything so that we won't lose him," Bishop Bacani told Filipino Catholics. "We must give ourselves to God ... Do some good deeds," he said.
Retired Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said the celebration of the centenary of the apparitions means a lot to Filipinos who are described as a "people in love with Mary." He said the children of Fatima — Jacinta and Francisco Marto — should be a model for Filipinos "whose future is bleak if we forget God."
On May 13, Pope Francis declared as saints the two young shepherds who claimed to have seen the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917.
The story of the Marto children, who called for prayer and conversion to prevent war, the spread of communism, and the assassination of a pope, captivated Catholics around the world.
Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta died a year later, both of pneumonia, when they were just nine and 10 years old. The third sibling, Lucia, became a nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97. (CBCP,UCAN)