|Vigil of 100th Anniversary of July Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima (source: fatima.pt)|
It is then fitting that this International Pilgrimage was led by Bishops from the countries which once comprised the former Soviet Union. The Principle celebrant and Homilist at the Mass of the July 13th, was Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, F.S.C.B., Metropolitan Archbishop of Madre di Dio a Mosca (Moscow). Bishop Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C., Titular Bishop of Celerina, Auxiliary Bishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan, was the Principle Celebrant for the Vigil Mass, with the homily delivered by Bishop Clemens Pickel, Bishop of San Clemente a Saratov, Russian Federation.
In addition to these Prelates, others from former Soviet countries included Bishop Joseph Werth, S.J., Bishop of Trasfigurazione a Novosibirsk, Russian Federation; Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz, Bishop of San Giuseppe a Irkutsk, Russian Federation; Archbishop Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan; and Fr. Andrzej Madej, Superior of Missio Sui Iuris in Turkmenistan. The Sanctuary of Fátima also hosted about 5000 pilgrims, spread over 110 groups, coming from 24 countries. The most numerous were the Italians and the Spaniards.
Below is my translation of Bishop Pickel's homily: (Original Portuguese here)
Dear Pilgrims, Brothers and Sisters!
It is with great inner joy that we, Pilgrims from Russia, are here with you today. We are well aware that in this very place, exactly 100 years ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to the Shepherd children. We are also recognise that even now, without manifesting herself in an apparition, the Virgin Mary is equally close to us, as she was 100 years ago. Benedicta es tu, Maria!
The meeting with the "Lady", on July 13th of 1917, had a special meaning. Mary communicated a 'secret', and spoke of Russia.
Today it is said that Russia has converted. It was Sister Lúcia herself, who confirmed that the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, made by St. John Paul II corresponded completely to what the Mother of God had requested.
Does this mean that everything is now done? Is Fátima just a 100 year Chapter in the history of the Church and of humanity, which we now solemnly close with this Jubilee?
That would be a catastrophe for the hotel industry and commerce of this town, but that's not what this is about!
Today, a 100 years ago, in this place, the Mother of God taught the Shepherd children a prayer, that today has the same meaning as it did then. The Fátima Prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen. It is known the world over. It is a prayer addressed to Jesus, and is usually said during the recitation of the Holy Rosary. When we pray it, we ask for the forgiveness of our sins, to be saved from the fires of Hell, that all may go to heaven, and mercy on poor sinners. Is this less relevant today, than it was 100 years ago?
It is a prayer of reparation. We can translate into various languages; but we can also translate into our lives. This is exactly what many of those pilgrims do, kneeling, as they approach the Chapel of the Apparitions. Many return home here and change their lives, a blessing to the whole world.
Dear Brother, Dear Sister! If Our Lady, who is here today, asked you a favour, yes, asked you one thing, what would it be?
"Have I not told you already?"
Bishop of San Clemente a Saratov, Russian Federation
Watch video of the Vigil of the 100th Anniversary of the July Apparitions here: