Fatima, Past and Present

Shrine's Rector Talks of Historical Impact of Apparitions

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RIMINI, Italy, SEPT. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The secret of Fatima has made its mark on the history of the 20th century, says the rector of the Marian shrine in Portugal.



It is "a reality which has marked the past, speaks about our present, and looks at the future of humanity," Monsignor Luciano Guerra said when speaking on "Fatima at the Heart of History," at the recent "Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples." That weeklong event was organized by the Communion and Liberation movement.

Reflecting on the mystery of the Blessed Virgin's apparitions 86 years ago, the rector said: "Fatima is in the heart that makes the heart of history move."

"Its secret is the most important for history because it speaks about war and the future," he said.

"Since August 1917, the year of the first apparition of the Virgin, it has been at the center of the thinking of the people and the authorities," Monsignor Guerra said. "There are numerous questions, starting with the authenticity of the apparitions, recounted by the three little shepherds, in face of a reality that over the past 60 years makes the content of the prophetic messages even more acute."

Portuguese journalist Aura Miguel, an expert on the apparitions, also addressed the meeting. "The present importance of the secret of Fatima consists in the inseparable connection that links it to the Pope," she said.

"The link is evident between the vision of the man dressed in white who falls to the ground and the murderous attack on the Pope, who miraculously survived; it all happened on May 13, anniversary of the first apparition in Fatima," Miguel said.

While in the hospital, John Paul II asked that all the documentation relating to Fatima be given to him. After reading it, he realized that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had to take place, the journalist said.

"The year of the consecration, we witnessed the opening of Russia to the West and the fall of the Berlin Wall," Miguel said.

The Pope then interpreted the attempt on his life as the incident that shed light on the meaning of the mystery of Fatima, which continues to be relevant. "There are still too many Christians being persecuted, and the heart that is open to God is stronger than all the guns of the world," Miguel concluded.