Lucia's 97th Birthday and a New Consecration
By Richard P. Salbato
On March 22, 2004 at 11:30 AM a Mass was concelebrated by nine priests at the Convent in Coimbra to wish Lucia of Fatima a happy 97th birthday. Father Jose Valinho was the prime celebrant. He is the closest living relative of Lucia and talks with her every month. I brought Father Gordon with me, a blind priest, and he was able to be one of the concelebrants. Before the Mass Father Jose Valinho talked about Lucia and the fact that she was in good health and good spirits in spite of being 97 years old.
After Mass we all sang Happy Birthday to her and then many went in another room to talk with her personally. Two days later and 20 years ago the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, consecrated the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and not long after that communism began to fall apart. However, Our Lady of Fatima promised a period of peace and this has not happened yet.
Many ask why Sister Lucia is still living at 97 years of age, but I have no idea. Our Lady of Fatima simply said that "I want you to stay longer to spread devotion to My Immaculate Heart." I think that should be our job and if we were dong it, Lucia could have gone home already. Some say that Lucia will live to see the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but I do not see how this is possible unless God miraculously intervenes in the world Himself. In fact, as the Holy Father said on March 23rd there is no peace in the world.
On March 23rd
The Holy Father renewed the Act of Consecration of 1984
a time of "violence, terrorism and war," John Paul II again
consecrated the world to the Blessed Virgin Mary. During today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope
renewed the 1984 act of consecration of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary, "responding to what Our Lady had requested at Fatima."
The Holy Father previously had asked bishops worldwide to carry out the 1984 act of consecration to Mary in their respective dioceses. Sister Lucia, one of the visionaries of the Marian apparitions, confirmed later that the solemn and universal consecration corresponded to the Blessed Virgin's wishes.
"Humanity was then going through difficult times, of great concern and uncertainty," John Paul II recalled today. "Twenty years later, the world continues to be fearfully marked by hatred, violence, terrorism and war."
"Among the numerous victims that the news records every day, there are so many defenseless people, stricken while carrying out their duty," he added at the general audience, which he dedicated to reflect on this Thursday's solemnity of the Annunciation.
"So much blood continues to be spilt in many regions of the world," the Pope said. "The need is still urgent for people to open their hearts to a courageous effort of reciprocal understanding. The hope for justice and peace is ever greater in every part of the earth."
"How can we respond to this thirst for hope and love other than by taking recourse to Christ through Mary?" he asked.
The Holy Father concluded with the prayer he raised on that historic day 20 years ago.
"Mother of Christ," he said, "may the infinite salvific power of the Redemption be revealed once again in the history of the world: power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May the light of hope be revealed to all in your Immaculate Heart!"
In his address, the Pope mentioned other key moments of his pontificate.
He recalled Dec. 8, 1978, when he placed the Church and the world in Mary's hands in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Then, on June 4, 1979, during his first trip to Poland as Pope, "I renewed this entrustment in the Shrine of Jasna Gora."
March 25th was 20 years after the 1984 Consecration
The feast of the Annunciation is in my opinion a greater feast than Christmas or Easter because on that day Christ and His Kingdom came into the world, into the womb of Mary. Once She said, "Yes!" our salvation was already realized and could not stop until finished. She had to say "Yes!" for all of us and once She did the end result - salvation - was guaranteed. At Christmas we see Christ for the first time, but He was already here for 9 months in the new Ark of the Covenant and Easter proves our salvation but it was already realized when He entered into the New Covenant the New Ark, Mary.
The Holy Father says of this day, that we "celebrate
the solemnity of the Annunciation, which allows us contemplate the Incarnation
of the eternal Word, made man in Mary's womb. The Virgin's "yes"
opened the doors to the realization of the salvific plan of the heavenly
Father, a plan of redemption for all people.
"This feast, which this year falls in the middle of Lent, on one hand refers us to the beginnings of salvation, and on the other invites us to turn our gaze to the paschal mystery. We look at Christ crucified who has redeemed humanity, fulfilling to the end the will of the Father. On Calvary, in his last moments of life, Jesus entrusted us to Mary as Mother and to her he has commended us as children.
"Associated to the mystery of the Incarnation, Our Lady is co-participant in the mystery of redemption. Her fiat, which we recall tomorrow, echoes that of the incarnate Word. In profound syntony with Christ's and the Virgin's fiat, each one of us is called to unite his own "yes" to the mysterious plans of Providence. In fact, only from full adherence to the Divine Will do that joy and true peace spring which we all ardently desire also for our times.
"2. On the vigil of this feast, at once Christological and Marian, my thoughts turn to some significant moments at the beginning of my pontificate: the 8th of December of 1978 at St. Mary Major, when I entrusted the Church and the world to Our Lady; the 4th of June of the following year, when I renewed this entrustment in the Shrine of Jasna Gora. In particular, I am thinking of the 25th of March of 1984, Holy Year of the Redemption. Twenty years have gone by since that day, when in St. Peter's Square, in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world "convoked" in advance, I wished to entrust the whole of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, responding to what Our Lady had requested at Fatima.
"3. Humanity was then going through difficult times, of great concern and uncertainty. Twenty years later, the world continues to be fearfully marked by hatred, violence, terrorism and war. Among the numerous victims that the news records every day, there are so many defenseless people, stricken while carrying out their duty. In today's Day, dedicated to the memory and to prayer for the "Martyr Missionaries," we cannot but remember the priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful deceased in mission land in the course of 2003. So much blood continues to be spilt in many regions of the world. The need is still urgent for people to open their hearts to a courageous effort of reciprocal understanding. The hope for justice and peace is ever greater in every part of the earth. How can we respond to this thirst for hope and love other than by taking recourse to Christ, through Mary? To the Holy Virgin I repeat also today the supplication I addressed to her then. "Mother of Christ, may the infinite salvific power of the Redemption be revealed once again in the history of the world: power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May the light of hope be revealed to all in your Immaculate Heart!"
Three Great Days in 2004
March 22, 24 and 25 mark three great days of this year, Lucia's birthday, the new consecration to Our Lady by the Holy Father and the feast of the Annunciation and the 20th year after the 1984 Consecration. The Holy Father said, "May it transform consciences." And on the same day that he said this, "The Passion of the Christ" became the fastest movie to hit $300,000,000 dollars. At the same time people are coming out from this movie with changes in there hearts, and converting to the faith. Maybe Our Lady of Fatima is using this movie to bring about the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart. It is dividing the wheat from the chaff and making people see themselves as they are or making them angry at God. The world will never be the same after this movie and it is my hope that it is an aid to Mary's final triumph and a period of peace in the world.