2017 Was the (Undeclared) Year of Fatima
National Catholic Register, 28 December 2017
There was no such special designation for the centennial of the apparitions at Fatima. Yet in parish after parish, in schools and chaplaincies and shrines, the centennial was marked by devotions.
Preparation for the centennial of the Fatima apparitions began in 2010, with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Portuguese shrine, where he acknowledged that “in seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit of the Lady ‘come from heaven.’”
The expected highlight of the Fatima centennial was the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Fatima for the feast May 13, when he canonized the child visionaries Jacinta and Francisco Marto — the youngest non-martyr saints in Church history. Yet the centennial became a much more widespread observance, an undeclared “Year of Fatima,” a movement of the faithful and local pastors.
Under St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the idea of special dedicated years was often employed. John Paul had his Years of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit leading up to the Great Jubilee of 2000, and then the Years of the Rosary and the Eucharist. Benedict added the Year of Priests, the Year of St. Paul and the Year of Faith. Pope Francis added a Year of Consecrated Life and then the recent Jubilee of Mercy.
There was no such special designation for the centennial of the apparitions at Fatima. Yet in parish after parish, in schools and chaplaincies and shrines, the centennial was marked by devotions — the Rosary, First Saturdays and processions — along with lectures about the history and significance of Fatima in the life of the Church. Above all, a wave of consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — requested by the Blessed Mother at Fatima — swept over the entire world.
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