The following is a revision of a letter I composed in Rome in 2000 AD:
On Saturday, 7th October 2000 I arrived in St Peter’s Square in Rome at 5:00pm just as the prayer of the Rosary was commencing. It was the feast of the holy Rosary and had been raining all afternoon, but now for some minutes past the clouds had parted and the sun’s rays were streaming down into the Square.
Several hundred thousand people gathered in front of St Peter’s Basilica to join Pope John Paul II and the largest collection of Bishops since the Second Vatican Council in praying the five glorious mysteries of the Rosary. The statue of our Lady of Fatima had been brought to Rome and was now carried in solemn procession to a prominent position facing the people.
The Pope’s seat faced our Lady as She faced the people in the Square. On the following day, Sunday 8th October in St Peter’s square, the Pope would preside at a Eucharistic concelebration in the context of the Jubilee of Bishops during which he would entrust the third millennium to our Lady of Fatima.
But on this feast of the holy Rosary various lay people from each continent were now assigned to lead one decade of the Rosary in their own language. Pope John Paul said a short prayer after each decade, and then one verse of the Ave Maria was sung by all present.
When we reached the fifth glorious decade, and much to my surprise, Sister Lucia of Fatima appeared live on the huge video screens that were distributed throughout the Square. She was in the chapel of her convent with her Carmelite nuns in Portugal. I understood that she had joined us live from her home via satellite. She lead the fifth decade of the Rosary. There was an audible “gasp” that sounded spontaneously from the congregation in the Square as soon as Lucia appeared on the screens.
So there they were: John Paul II and Sister Lucia dos Santos. Two of the greatest figures of the 20th century brought together by means of modern telecommunication on the feast of the Rosary, in the year of Jubilee, on the eve of the third millennium of Christ. This Pope has been the most visible person of the century while Lucia has been perhaps the most hidden person of influence.
The significance and symbolism of this moment blasted like a trumpet in the recesses of my soul. It resounded again and again as if to announce a great mystery. I am not aware of any other public appearance of Lucia in which she lead the prayer of the Rosary since she did so publicly in 1917 at the Cova da Iria, the site of the apparitions of our Lady of Fatima.
The Pope was evidently captured by the same sense of wonder as he prayed before our Lady’s statue. For perhaps he more than anyone else realises what miracles the Virgin of Fatima has accomplished, thus far. Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has stated that the message of our Lady of Fatima “remains valuable for the Christians of the 21st century.”
In his younger days John Paul’s amiable and smiling face had concealed an iron will to uphold the truth at all costs. Now his ageing body houses a soul so mature and strong in God that, by comparison, other leaders on the international scene seem like little children who need his guidance and his wisdom. From his vantage point and in his consummate wisdom the Pope sees and understands the condition of the world better than anyone.
In his entrustment of the world to Mary he judges that “We are the men and women of an extraordinary time, exhilarating yet full of contradictions…… Today as never before in the past, humanity stands at a crossroads.” And with the authority of Peter he consecrates the third millennium to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As for Sister Lucia, as much as she is unpretentious and as little as she thinks of herself, as much there exudes a powerful magnetism from her personality and a sense of victory about her countenance. Who can guess the significance of Lucia’s role in our times?
Padre Pio received light from the Holy Spirit on the state of individual souls and how to guide them to salvation, while Lucia received light from Heaven on the state of the world and how to guide the whole world to salvation.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta ministered to the poor and the dying, while Lucia has prayed and made sacrifices as she hid in the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the greater part of the 20th century for those poor in mercy and grace and those dying of sin.
St Maximillian Kolbe launched a spiritual campaign to combat the Church’s opponents in the world, while Lucia made a direct request, on behalf of our Lady, to all Catholic Bishops to unite with the Pope in consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
When John Paul II, upon his election to the See of Peter, was evidently so well prepared and formed by the Lord to lead the Church, and was immediately engaged in his great mission to guide the Church through many dangerous waters, Lucia was praying that his life be spared, and had been praying so since before he was born, for she carried the third secret of Fatima close to her heart for 83 years before the Pope decided to reveal it to the world in the year 2000.
St Louis de Montfort wrote that consecration to Mary will form us into faithful images of Her Divine Son, and Sister Lucia has announced to the 20th century that consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save us from the fires of hell, [would have saved us] from the second world war, from the assassination of Pope John Paul II, from world domination by totalitarian regimes, from unbelief and indifference to God, and from all evils.
Whoever cannot hear our Lady of Fatima’s message cannot understand the 20th century and cannot participate in what is perhaps the most dramatic of worldwide movements ever to take place in history.
October 2000 AD