The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared 6 times to 3 shepherd children; Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta; between May 13 and October 13, 1917. She came to the little village of Fatima which had remained faithful to the Catholic Church during the recent persecutions by the government. Our Lady came with a message from God to every man, woman, and child of our century. Our Lady of Fatima promised that the whole world would be in peace, and that many souls would go to Heaven if Her requests were listened to and obeyed. She told us that war is a punishment for sin; that God would punish the world for its sins in our time by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and persecution of the Holy Father, the Pope, unless we listened to and obeyed the command of God. At Fatima, Pope John Paul II said on May 13; " the message of Fatima is more relevant and more urgent " then when Our Lady first appeared. The message is an anguished appeal of our Heavenly Mother, Who sees us in great danger and Who comes to offer Her help and advice. Her message is also a prophesy, a clear indication of what was about to transpire in the 20th century, and what is still going to happen infallibly in the near future, depending on our response to Her requests.
The Miracle of the "Dancing Sun"
As a great sign of the whole message truly coming from God, a marvelous miracle was worked in the sky above Fatima before 70,000 witnesses on October 13, 1917 at the time, date and place that Lucy and the other two children had prophesized in the name of Our Lady of Fatima. The children were told by Our Lady that God would perform a miracle so that people would believe in the apparitions. The date the children was October 13, 1917, in Fatima. On that date, 70,000 people came to see the phenomenon. The miracle occurred with the sun. All could stare perfectly at the sun without blinking, or even hurting heir eyes. While all were watching the sun, it rotated, got large and small, got close to the people, and got far away from them. The sun " danced ". Every single person who was there testified to seeing the sun dance, even non- believers who immediately dropped onto their knees and begged for forgiveness.
Our Lady of Fatima continues to work miracles today through Fatima water which is sent from Fatima, Portugal around the world. This Fatima water sprang up in Fatima at the spot the Bishop told people to dig, very near where Our Lady appeared at the Cova de Iria (the Cove of Peace) in Fatima. The water is known to cure people with sicknesses and poor health. Still, other people are cured when they go on pilgrimage to Fatima, which is about 90 miles north of Lisbon, Portugal.
The Declaration of Jacinta and Francisco Marto as Blessed on 13 May 2000 represents the next to last stage in the Church's official recognition of their holiness. It also provides a further confirmation of the authenticity and value of the Message of Fatima.