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Definition:   The appearance of the Virgin Mary to three Portuguese children on May 13, 1917. While playing, the children saw a sudden flash of light, which turned out to be a lady. She promised to visit them on the 13th day of the next six months. During these apparitions, she made secret prophecies to the children. The first secret (revealed to the Pope in 1941) was the vision of souls in hell. By devotion to the immaculate heart of Mary many souls would escape such judgment. The second secret related to Russia and communism. The third secret concerned the attempted murder of a pope. [John Paul II, who survived an assassination attempt on the anniversary of the apparition in 1981, revealed this secret in 2000]. On the last of the six appearances a miracle occurred. With many thousands in attendance, the sun began to move around, shooting off brilliant colors. Then it plunged toward the earth before returning to normal. Despite having rained, the ground became immediately dry. A cathedral has been built in Fatima that is also the burial site for the three children. It is a very popular pilgrimage location.

Discussion: The Catholic Mary is considered to be Queen over all things who “by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation” (CCC 969). Clearly the Catholic Mary who is making spectacular appearances is not the real Mary. The miracle of the sun is striking in that it corresponds to the power of Satan to call down fire from the heavens (Rev. 13:13)

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