The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in Portugal, is one of the most universally known shrines, since the occurrence of the phenomenal events that took place there, particularly in the year 1917.
At the opening of the 20th century, the Blessed Virgin announced to the children of Fatima the heartrending episodes which would occur in the world during the last decades of the second millennium. Since then, visitors and pilgrims have flocked to Fatima by the millions each year, from everywhere on the planet.
Here is a quick timeline of the "Fatima events" - Fatima is a small village about 120 km north of Lisbon; here the Virgin called the faithful to pray for sinners and a true conversion of the heart.
The Blessed Virgin promised a great miracle
- From April to October: Three shepherds, Lucy dos Santos, 10 years old (today a Carmelite in Coimbra), and her cousins, Francisco Marto, 9 years old (d. 4-4-1919) and Jacinta Marto, 7 years old (d. 2-20-1920), saw a figure that reminded them of a snowy statue.
- During the following spring, summer and fall: an angel appeared to the children.
July 13th: the Virgin promised a great miracle "so everyone may believe" and she revealed three secrets. Two were divulged in 1941: 1) a vision of hell like a sea of fire where demons and the damned are plunged; 2) the end of the war (but only if people cease offending God, or else under the pontificate of Pius XI another war will start).
August 19th: on the 13th, the civil authorities, worried about the rising curiosity and fervor manifested at the preceding apparition, arrest the children who spend 24 hours in prison. For this reason the visit was postponed to the 19th. The Virgin appeared to the children in Valihnos, near the Cova da Iria.
- October 13th, the sixth and last apparition: with the "dance of the sun" in front of a crowd of 70,000. The Virgin spoke to the children about the necessity to return to the Ten Commandments and the Gospel. The good are invited to do penance for the sinners, so as to preserve them from hell and to obtain peace in the world and the conversion of Russia.
December 10, 1925 - February 15, 1926:
The Virgin asked for the consecration of the world and Russia to her Immaculate Heart
- June 13th: The Virgin appeared to Lucy in Tuy (Spain) and told her to ask for the consecration of the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- October 13th: the Bishop of Leiria declared the authenticity of the apparitions and approved the official cult to Our Lady of Fatima.
- October 31st: Pius XII made the consecration asked for by the Virgin; Our Lady of Fatima crowned queen of Portugal and of the world.
- October 30th, 31st and November 1st at 4 pm: Pius XII saw the sun dance in the sky in the gardens of the Vatican.
- May 13th: 50th anniversary of the apparitions, visit of Paul VI.
1982 and 1991:
- May 13th: Visits of John Paul II for the 1st and 10th anniversaries of the attempted assassination from which he escaped in Rome on May 13, 1981.
Beatification of the shepherds Francisco and Jacinta; revelation of the Third Secret
- March 25th: John Paul II renewed the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on Saint Peter's Square in Rome, in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
- May 13th to October 13th: celebration of the 80th anniversary of the apparitions. Fatima receives over 4 million visitors each year.
May 13th: Beatification of the shepherds Jacinta and Francisco by John Paul II in Fatima, and revelation of the content of the "Third Secret" by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano. It alludes to the attempted assassination of the pope on Saint Peter's Square, on May 13th (1981), to the atheist communism struggle against the Church and Christians, and to the immense suffering of the victims of the faith during the 20th century.
"I would like to reiterate all the kindness that the Lord showed me, when He saved me from death while I had been critically wounded on that May 13th 1981," said John Paul II. "I also want to express my gratitude to Blessed Jacinta for the sacrifices and prayers she presented for the Holy Father whom she had seen suffer so much."
June 26: Publication of the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the apparitions and the "Secret".
Act of entrustment and consecration of the world to Our Lady of Fatima
October 8th: John Paul II and 1,500 bishops made an act of entrustment and consecration of the world to Our Lady of Fatima for the 3rd millennium, on the occasion of their jubilee, on Saint Peter's Square, facing the statue of the Virgin of Fatima.