The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora do Rosário da Fátima) is one of most famous Marian shrines in the world. Some four million people visit Fatima each year, drawn by apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported by three local shepherd children in 1917.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three 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 persecutions by the government. Our Lady came with a message from God to every man, woman, and child of our time. Our Lady of Fatima promised that the whole world would be in peace and many souls would go to Heaven if her requests were heeded and obeyed. She told us that war is a punishment for sin, and God would punish the world for its sins 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.
As a sign that these messages truly came from God, a marvelous miracle was worked in the sky above Fatima. Our Lady said that God would perform a miracle so that people would believe in the apparitions. On October 13, 1017, 70,000 people came to see the phenomenon. The miracle occurred with the sun. All could stare straight at the sun without blinking or even hurting their eyes. Around noon, many of the observers testified they saw wondrous things in the heavens: the rain clouds parted, the “sky opened up” and the sun seemed to dance and spin in the sky, change colors, or go completely dark for several minutes before appearing to plunge towards the earth.Every single person who was there testified to seeing the sun dance, even non-believers, communists and atheists who immediately dropped onto their knees and begged for forgiveness.
At Fatima, Pope John Paul II said that ” the message of Fatima is more relevant and more urgent ” than when Our Lady first appeared. The message is an anguished appeal of our Heavenly Mother, who sees us in great danger and 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 to come in the future depending on our response to her message.