October 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – At least nine U.S. Catholic dioceses and two eparchies will be consecrated to Our Lady this year to mark the 100th anniversary of her apparitions at Fatima.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone consecrated his diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 7, the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary. He said this consecration was a “nothing less than a call to arms: to spiritual arms.”
On October 15, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput will consecrate his archdiocese to Our Lady of Fatima at Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
This “momentous occasion” is “a decisive moment in which we turn our local church, our parishes, schools, institutions, ourselves and our families over to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” according to the archdiocese.
All other dioceses and the two Eastern rite eparchies in Pennsylvania will also be consecrated to Mary this weekend.
Appearing in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary warned that if Russia wasn’t consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, the country would “spread her errors” throughout the world. The Bolshevik Revolution began later that year.
Mary also asked that people pray the rosary for peace and do penance in reparation for the sins of the world.
The Catholic Church has approved these apparitions as legitimate. On October 13, 1917, the “miracle of the sun” and the last of the Fatima apparitions occurred.
Cordileone blasted the “barbarity” of the past 100 years on October 7, saying that abortion and homosexuality are a “living reflection of hell.”
He noted that “the vision of hell” the three peasant children of Fatima – two of whom are now canonized – saw is “a well-known moment in the story of the Fatima apparitions.”
It was a “vision so horrible and gruesome that they shrieked out loud with fear,” said the San Francisco archbishop. And right after showing the children what hell looked like, Our Lady “asked for the spreading of devotion to her Immaculate Heart.”
Our Lady of Fatima told the three children, “More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
“The century since the Fatima apparitions now ending has mocked God, but God will not be mocked: not because He delights in wreaking vengeance on us, but because turning our backs on God only bounces back to us, leading to our own self-destruction,” said Cordileone.
Cordileone cited the first two world wars, the Holocaust, persecution of Christians, and “the most brutal regimes in world history” as dark hallmarks of the past 100 years.
“Our own land has been soiled by the blood of innocent children in what has become a deadly epidemic tantamount to a genocide on life in the womb; and now we are increasingly witnessing the abandonment of our suffering brothers and sisters at the other end of life’s journey,” he continued.
“And even in our own city of St. Francis, we see in our streets people suffering from the ravages of addiction and mental illness, as well as the celebration and even exaltation of the vulgar and the blasphemous, mocking God’s beautiful plan in how He created us, in our very bodies, for communion with one another and Himself,” said Cordileone in an apparent reference to the homosexual movement and gender ideology.
“God is roundly mocked in our very streets, and it is met with approval and applause in our community – and yet, we remain silent,” he lamented.
“The century since the Fatima apparitions now ending has mocked God, but God will not be mocked: not because He delights in wreaking vengeance on us but because turning our backs on God only bounces back to us, leading to our own self-destruction,” Cordileone warned.
Archbishop Cordileone: Catholics need to fast, do penance on Fridays again
The Blessed Virgin Mary can help bring people to Jesus, Cordileone said. “In her maternal presence, Mary is there to advocate for us.”
“We might not have the power to change world history, but we can change what happens in our own families and communities if we heed the message” Our Lady gave at Fatima, he said. “This next century can be radically different from the last one, but only if we heed the message and respond to the requests.”
The consecration of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is one way to heed Mary’s requests, Cordileone said.
Prayer, particularly the rosary, penance, and Eucharistic Adoration are the “threefold recipe for peace and salvation.”
He implored his diocese to return to the Catholic practice of doing penance on Fridays and going to Confession at least once a month.
The faithful can do penance on Fridays by “selecting one concrete form of bodily fasting to observe on this day, whether that be abstaining from meat or another type of food or from some type of drink they normally enjoy, or omitting a meal altogether.”
“We are living in a time and place of intense spiritual battle, and only in taking up spiritual arms will we alleviate the spiritual disease that is at the root of so much of the physical and mental suffering in the world today,” said Cordileone.
He left his flock with a message of hope:
There is one more very important thing our Lady told the children after their vision of hell, not a request, but a promise: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Let us heed her message, let us grant her requests, in order to hasten that triumph, that triumph which is that of her Son over death, for she is inseparably linked to her Son, who came to win for us our eternal salvation. Her Immaculate Heart is the door that opens up for us entrance into that triumph. It is through that door that we walk from the darkness of sin and death to the light of Christ’s truth and mercy. There it is, on the other side of that door, a glorious, vast, light-filled paradise that is heaven. Her heart is the gate of heaven.
Father Richard Heilman, one of the organizers of an October 7 rosary rally during which participants consecrated themselves to Mary, thinks the lead-up to October 13 will be “stormy.”
“Pray, fast, and put on the full armor of Christ – remain strong in a ‘state of grace’ – and lay hold of the spiritual weapons God has given us – especially the Rosary,” he advised on his blog. “Be a ‘calming force’ amidst the storms raging all around us.”