MAY 2017


By Fr. Tirso Villaverde


Our Lady of Fatima 100th Anniversary reminds us of message: Pray


Parishioners of St. Catherine Laboure in Glenview, IL attend the blessing of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine by Fr. Maina Waithaka (5th fr. L) on March 1. (Fr. l-r) Josie de la Cruz, Efren Estrella, Zeny de Guzman, Kenneth Chua, Norma Loleng, Felix Bayona, Hilda Sy, Amy Estrella, Marietta Maglaya, Zenith Chua, Ken Alwahab, Rose Alfon, Irma Zarzuela, Maria Alwahab, Lolit & Kit Mendoza, Dom Maglaya, Susan Rosal, Edna Jaboni, Mercy Manansala, Lily Perrine, Reggie Spears , Leticia Caridad, Jean Jumawan and Beverly Belzer. (Photo by Ben Alfon)


THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA is May 13th and will mark the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia in Portugal.

The year was 1917 and the entire world was at a serious crisis being engulfed in World War I. The Virgin Mary initially visited these three young children on May 13 and her visits ended on October 13 of that same year.

For those who are not familiar with the Catholic Church’s stance on the many claims of apparitions of the Virgin Mary, let it first be clear that the Church does not approve every single claim of a Marian apparition. There is a long process by which a claim that the Virgin Mary appeared can be affirmed. In fact, the majority of claims are left without official Church approval. There are some that have received a sort of “nihil obstat” approval, meaning there is nothing about a certain claim that goes contrary to what would be contrary to the faith.

left pic: The Virgin Mary visited Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia in Fatima, Portugla in 1917.

Divine revelation

There are a good number of claims that have actually been discouraged by the Church since there is no substantial proof that an apparition took place and/or the message is clearly contrary to the faith. The vision of Our Lady of Fatima is one among the handful of apparitions that have received full and official approval by the Catholic Church.

Believers and non-believers alike may ask, “Why would the Virgin Mary appear in the first place?” The Church believes wholeheartedly that the fullness of divine revelation is in Jesus himself. That is to say, after Jesus, there are no new revelations or messages that God desires to share with the world. God has said everything that He desired to be conveyed and needed to make known in His Only Begotten Son. Jesus is the fullness of revelation because he is the very Word of God, the Logos, the message that God wanted to share with the world.

For this reason, it must be made clear that the Church never believes or officially supports a claim that the Virgin Mary comes with a “new” revelation from God. The Virgin Mary by the very fact that she herself is a creature who needed to be redeemed by the saving work of Christ cannot take a place above the role of Jesus. Even though the Savior of the world was born through the Virgin Mary, Jesus is the Divine Son of God who came to speak the word of God because Jesus himself is the Word of God.

“Wake up call”

Mary herself knows her proper place in the hierarchy of heaven and earth. She will never go contrary to the will of God since from the very beginning of her life, her will was united with the will of God. All of this is to say that the Virgin Mary never comes with a message that is contrary to what Jesus has first proclaimed. If this is the case, then it is clear evidence that it is not the Virgin Mary who is appearing nor is the message to be believed.

Having said this, sometimes human beings need to be reminded in a very powerful way the message of God. There may come moments in human history when God may deem it necessary to send a “wake up call” to those who are hard hearted and indifferent to the Word of God. As a servant of God, the Virgin Mary can be sent into the world to appear to the ones God has chosen and convey His message to His People.

Simple message

The Catholic Church believes that the Virgin Mary and other saints are sent by God when people need words of comfort, hope, or even challenge. The Virgin Mary is sent by God because there is a universal message of great importance that God wants to impart. Angels and the saints are never sent by God with any “new” revelation or any message that may go contrary to the Sacred Scripture.

The Virgin Mary appeared to the three children at Fatima during the height of World War I. The forces of evil were threatening the stability and peace of everyone in the world. For this reason, the Virgin Mary was sent with a simple message—PRAY!
It is obvious that we Christians ought to be praying constantly, but the sad reality is that we need to be reminded. Whether we are Catholic or any other Christian denomination, praying is one of the utmost duties of our Christian lives. It must be the very foundation of who we are as followers of Christ. We still live in a world where the evil one still has an influence.

The message of Our Lady of Fatima is a clear reminder to all believers of God’s own request that His Son’s followers remain faithful to who we are called to be. Prayer unites the heart and soul to the mind and will of God. The more the human mind and soul are united to God, the less prone a person becomes to the influence of the evil one.

The vision of Our Lady of Fatima contains much more that we can unpack for greater understanding. Our Lady of Fatima asks us to pray. May all who claim the name of Christ, be faithful to this profound vocation of ours.



Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine Consecration, June 24

St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church in Glenview, IL is in the process of building the first Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine in North America on their church grounds. The official consecration of the shrine will take place on Saturday, June 24. This event coincides with Our Lady of Fatima’s 100th Anniversary, the Marian apparition to three Portuguese children.

Through the generous donations of St. Catherine Laboure Asian American Association, parishioners and friends, they have raised more than 75% of the funding for construction in three years. St. Catherine welcomes donations. For those who wish to donate, call the parish at 847-729-1414 or email Ken at For those interested in attending the shrine’s June 24 consecration, St. Catherine Laboure Parish is at 3535 Thornwood Ave., Glenview, IL 60026.






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