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Irish prayer group asks for First Saturday Devotion as risk of escalation of war looms 

A Limerick prayer group has asked for First Saturday prayers as the world faces the escalation of war, with today marking the 105th Anniversary of the Church-approved Miracle of Fatima (Milagre do Sol). 

First Saturday devotion for Catholics requires attending the Sacrament of Confession, recitation of the Rosary, and 15-minute meditation on the First Saturday of the month for five months in a row. The prayer and reparation is carried out by Catholics in reparation for offences against Our Lady. 

The Church approved and widely known apparition of Fatima still has great relevance today for Catholics, and today marks the Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun (Milagre do Sol in Portuguese). The miracle was a series of events reported to have occurred miraculously on 13 October 1917, witnessed by a large crowd who had gathered in Fatima, Portugal, in response to a prophecy made by three young Portuguese shepherd children, Lucia Santos and Francisco and Jacinta Marto. 

The children prophesied that Our Lady of Fatima would appear and perform miracles on that date. Newspapers at the time published testimonies from awe-struck witnesses who testified that they had seen extraordinary solar activity, with the sun appearing to ‘dance’ in the sky and careen towards the earth, emitting multicoloured light and radiant colours. According to witnesses, the event lasted around ten minutes. 

Incredibly, it was estimated that the number of people who were present and witnessed the miracle ranged from 30,000 and 40,000 by Avelino de Almeida writing for the Portuguese newspaper O Século, to 100,000, estimated by lawyer José Almeida Garrett.

A canonical investigation into the event was opened by the local bishop in November 1917, where witness accounts and the alleged private revelations were reviewed. The local priest conducting the investigation was said to have been particularly convinced by the concurring testimony of extraordinary sun phenomena from secular reporters, government officials, and other sceptics who were in attendance. Bishop José da Silva declared the miracle “worthy of belief” on 13 October 1930, and it was officially accepted within the Catholic Church. 

Speaking to Gript, a Limerick prayer group said that while many people are putting forward possible solutions for world peace, they say “the Blessed Mother gave us the answer 105 years ago at Fatima.” 

“During the first apparition at Fatima, on May 13 1917, Our Lady gave advice to end wars, telling the children: “Pray the rosary every day to achieve peace in the world and the end of war”. At the third apparition on July 13, she said: “Continue to pray the rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because she alone can be of any avail.”

“She also told the visionaries: “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace”.”

“I think the world and our Church is walking blind into the gravity of the current state of affairs of the world and the real possibility of dramatic escalation of war, and of the warning by Our Lady of ‘various nations will be annihilated’”, one member of the Limerick Prayer group told Gript. 

The group urged every person and every parish in Ireland to attentively consider the messages of Our Lady of Fatima, and “most importantly, the action required to bring peace and conversion to our world, as promised by Our Lady of Fatima”, especially as we face an escalating war and the possibility of a nuclear war, along with abortion on a broad-based scale across Ireland since 2018.

While Pope Francis consecrated the world, including Russia and Ukraine, to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart – as requested at Fatima – on 25 March 2022, the request for the First Saturday devotion to be carried out by Catholics is not happening on a parish level, according to the Limerick Prayer Group. 

The group called on parishes across Ireland to consider starting the devotion in parishes seeing as “urgent action is required to bring peace and conversion to the world, as requested by Our Lady”. 

It comes as thousands travelled to Fatima, with huge crowds gathering at the Marian Shrine overnight to take part in a candlelit procession to mark today’s anniversary of the Fatima Miracle:

Hundreds of Catholics also participated in a Fatima procession in Brandenburg in Germany last night.


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