DELRAY BEACH | St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Delray Beach marked the 105th anniversary of the sixth apparition in Fatima, Portugal, the “miracle of the sun,” Oct. 13, 2022, with a Mass, music, prayers, rosary and procession to honor Our Lady of Fatima, organized by the Legion of Mary.
Father Dennis Gonzales, pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer, led the outdoor procession with Ted Vargas, the Legion of Mary treasurer, carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Following them were religious, clergy, a seminarian and families praying the rosary.
“The primary message of Our Lady of Fatima in her apparition to the three children is to pray, in particular the rosary,” Father Gonzales said. “The apparition invites us to receive Mary in our lives as our mother and protector.”
Reflecting on the problems of modern life, he said, “Our society is divided in many ways because we are not united in prayer. Even on Sundays, we move to different directions instead of going to church and celebrate the Lord’s Day at Mass. We seldom gather as a family in prayer.”
Father Gonzales offered a suggestion for healing and peace in the world: “As we gather to celebrate the last day of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, we are encouraged to make it part of our daily schedule to pray. Prayer leads to inner peace and calm. It paves the way for a peaceful heart and conversion. It draws us closer together with each other in friendship and love.”
The evening began Mass celebrated by Father Danis Ridore, who is in residence at the parish. In his homily, the priest said, “If only we would listen. Things are getting worse and worse because parents are not taking responsibility for their children. We are here to pray. We are here to intercede, but it is not enough.
“Try to pray from your heart so that the Blessed Virgin Mary may listen and intervene for us before Jesus, before God the Father, so that we will change and amend our lives,” he said.
Before the ceremony began, Lisa Vargas, Legion of Mary president, spoke about the meaning of the sixth apparition of Fatima.
“The miracle of the sun was a miracle to show the people that what the children were saying all those months was true,” she said. “Many times Our Lady has said that the rosary is the most powerful weapon in these times. Over 70,000 people witnessed the miracle of the sun at Fatima.”
During the ceremony, Vargas referred to Our Lady’s message to the three shepherd children Oct. 13, 1917, the last apparition at Fatima, by reading an excerpt from a Legion of Mary pamphlet titled “Honoring the Anniversary of Our Lady’s Sixth Apparition at Fatima.”
“At exactly 12 noon, true sun time, the miracle which was foretold months in advance happened. In moments, the rain ceased, the clouds rolled back and the sun appeared in the clear sky,” she said. “Then for about 10 minutes there was a spinning and descent of the sun like a giant solar wheel giving off all kinds of color. It came close to their heads. People screamed, thinking it was the end of the world. Some called out their sins, begging forgiveness.”
Vargas, explaining how the miracle ended, said, “The children beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the sign of the cross with their hands.”
The miracle continued, with Vargas reading: “They saw our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord then appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition vanished and Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Carmel with the scapular held down to the world, inviting all to wear it.”
Attending the ceremony was Sister Elizabeth Halaj of the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who teaches at St. Vincent Ferrer School. She spoke about the importance of the Fatima message for today. “We always need our Mother. We have to listen, not just hear. The message has to go to our hearts and we have to live it,” she said. “We have to be an example, the peacemaker starting in our own families, in our own small circle.”
Sister Halaj explained that the message of Fatima is “peace, penance and pray the rosary. Peace will come through the rosary, through Mary. The rosary will bring us peace in our hearts and it will reflect in our families and in our workplace.”
For more information on the Legion of Mary at St. Vincent Ferrer, call Vargas at 561-670-5315 or come to a Legion meeting on Fridays at 5:30 p.m. in the parish’s Guadalupe Hall. For details on the parish, go to https://stvincentferrer.com or call 561-276-6893.