Mother’s Day — The Children of Fatima

Sunday Service Children’s Story

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 Good morning and welcome to our children’s story.  Today we’re celebrating Mother’s Day.

We’re also celebrating the 100th anniversary of beloved Mother Mary appearing to the three children in Fatima, Portugal. She appeared to them six times between May 13, 1917 and October 13, 1917, and is called the Lady of Fatima.

During each month's apparition, Mother Mary encouraged prayer, especially the rosary, and communicated certain prophecies. In one she told the children that she promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if her requests for prayer were heard and obeyed.

Our story today is not about the prophecies, but about the children. Who were they and why did Mother Mary choose them?

Let’s hear our story now.

 The Three Shepherd Children of Fatima

            In the village of Aljustrel, situated in the parish of Fatima, lived three children Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. They were raised in homes of faith and devotion to God and the blessed Mother Mary. The catechism was as valuable as their daily bread, the stories from the Bible were as much a part of their recreation as play, and the word of the village priest was law, just as was the word of their parents.

The three children were great friends and spent much of their time together. They liked to go outside on moonlit nights to look at the stars. They pointed to the sky to see who could count the most stars. “I know, let’s name the stars ‘the Angels’ lanterns,’” said one.   They named the sun ‘Our Lady’s Lamp.’

            One account of their lives mentions that the three children enjoyed calling out across the valley to hear their voices echo back. The name that returned most clearly was “Maria.” This was one of Lucia’s older sisters playing a trick on them.

The youngest, Jacinta, charmed all who knew her. She was pretty, energetic and loved to dance and gather flowers to make garlands.

But as some children do, she would often pout when she did not get her way, especially when Lucia could not play with her because now she must tend to the sheep in the pasture.

Jacinta begged her mother, “Mama, I want to be with Lucia and tend sheep too.”

Finally, her mother gave in, “Alright Jacinta, you may take a few sheep to pasture with your cousin. However, you must do as she says.”

While watching the sheep graze, the children loved to play games. “Let’s play “pebble and buttons,” said Jacinta. This was her favorite game, but not Lucia’s. Lucia often went home at mealtime only to receive a scolding from her mother. For more often than not, Jacinta had won Lucia’s buttons and Lucia returned home only with pebbles.

Jacinta’s sheep became her friends too. She held the little ones on her lap. She even tried to carry a lamb home on her shoulders, as she had seen in pictures of the Good Shepherd story.

Jacinta also showed her love for life in her deep devotion to Jesus and Mother Mary. She gave the rosary daily. She studied her catechism. At the age of five when she heard the story of Jesus’ Passion Week, she melted in tears. She vowed right then, “I will never sin or offend my Lord anymore.”

Jacinta’s brother, Francisco, was two years older than her. He loved playing games with other children, yet without the spirit of competition and would not complain when treated unfairly.

He was a peacemaker, but courageous. This was shown when the mayor of Fatima treated the young boy unfairly, claiming that he had not really seen Mother Mary. Yet, Francisco never waivered from his story no matter how unkind the mayor was to him.

The young boy had a love for nature, and animals in particular. He played with lizards and snakes, and would bring them home, to his mother’s chagrin.

Once he said to a friend, “Here, I will give you a penny, all the money I have, if you will give me the bird you captured.” He bought this bird only to set it free, for he could not bear to see a living creature locked up.

He played a reed pipe, to which Lucia and his sister Jacinta would sing and dance. He was a kind and gentle boy, who loved God and the blessed Mother Mary.

Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, also called Lucy, was the youngest of seven children and the cousin to Jacinta and Francisco. Her father and mother both were storytellers. Her mother taught lessons from the Bible to the children and once remarked that Lucia remembered everything she heard. In fact Lucia knew her catechism so well that she became a catechist by the age of nine.

At that time, children participated in their First Holy Communion at the age of ten. However, Lucia received hers at age six. A visiting missionary from Lisbon found young Lucia crying after one of her classes. “Why are you sad?” he asked. Lucia told him how she wished to have communion with her Lord and savior.

The missionary went to the parish priest and said, “”She understands what she's doing better than many of the others.” Because of this intervention, Lucia was allowed to participate in her First Holy Communion.

On the morning of her First Holy Communion, Lucy kissed her parents’ hands and asked for their pardon for any offenses. Then she asked them to bless her.

Lucy’s mother said, “When you receive Jesus in Holy Communion, ask him to make you a saint.” These words made a great impression on Lucy’s heart.

When she received her First Holy Communion later that day, the first thing she said to Jesus was, “O Lord, make me a saint. Keep my heart always pure, for you alone.”

Jesus distinctly replied, “The grace granted to you this day will remain living in your soul, producing fruits of eternal life.”

Conclusion:

After the appearances of Mother Mary to the children, all three of them felt transformed in God. Francisco and Jacinta lived a short life. Lucia lived to the age of 98 as a devout servant to God. She passed away in 2005.

As you have heard throughout this story, the deep love and devotion these precious children had for God prepared them for the miraculous appearances of Mother Mary. Their souls had already been bonding to Jesus and Mother Mary, enabling them to receive the radiant light of her visit. They became the witness and spokespersons for the messages from Mother Mary for generations to come.

They set the example for us, showing us that we too can bond with beloved Jesus and Mother Mary through the giving of our devotions. Our beloved Guru Ma told us to invoke angels to prepare us for the visitation of the Blessed Mother in our life.

Let us end by reciting a Hail Mary. Every time we say this, we are saying Hail Ma Ray or hail Mother Light. And when we recite it, we receive the radiance of beloved Mother Mary that connects us to the Divine Mother in heaven.

Please close your eyes and meditate in your heart as we recite the Hail Mary.

(Recite devotionally together 1x.)

Hail, Mary, full of grace.

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women and

Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us, sons and daughters of God,

now and at the hour of our victory

over sin, disease, and death.

Thank you for being here today and Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

 

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