Parish of the
Good Shepherd, Woodthorpe
St Anthony's of Calverton
The Good Shepherd Church, Nottingham
Sunday 15 October 2023
Did you know that there was an angel who appeared to the children in Fatima in 1916 to prepare the little shepherds for Our Lady's appearances in 1917?

In fact, the Fatima message spans a period of 13 years from the Angel of Peace (The Angel of The Eucharist) in 1916 until 1929 when the Most Holy Trinity and Our Lady appeared to Lucia in the chapel at Tui in Spain.

In the spring of 1916 when Francisco, Jacinta and their cousin Lucia were tending their sheep, a luminous figure of a youth of around fourteen or fifteen years old appeared in the sky, coming from the east. In her memoirs, Lucia described the "supernatural atmosphere" which engulfed them as the angel said "Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me." So, the Fatima message begins with an invitation not to be afraid! In today's world this is no mean feat! We are faced with pandemics, natural disasters, economic instability and war; and then there are the personal as well as family challenges which so many people face. However, the angel and Our Lady gave us the solution and that solution is prayer and the Holy Eucharist.

Later the Angel told the children "The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy upon you". In 1929, the last words of Fatima were "grace and mercy". So contrary to what most people think, Fatima is not primarily about chastisement, persecution and hell, it is a message of hope and love from a God who loves us unto the point of mercy and who is truly present in person in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

It is no accident that it was three young children who witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima. It was their testimony that spread across the region and enabled more than 70,000 people to witness the Miracle of the Sun on 13th October 1917. This is hugely significant and encouraging for our young people today who are called to live holy lives and to proclaim the truths of the Gospel in the years to come.

Pope Benedict XVI said:
"The Lady who came from heaven, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus."

This is what Our Lady, the Immaculate Heart of Fatima, wants for each one of us - to fall in love with God in Jesus and to experience him as the most beautiful reality of our human existence!
3 Thackeray's Lane, Woodthorpe, Nottingham, NG5 4HT. Tel: (0115) 926 8288