This year's Hispanic Family Day at Fatima Shrine is on Aug. 26. The theme of the day is, "The Spirituality of Marriage and Family." The celebrant for the 10 a.m. Mass will be Father Erick Viloria, from the Diocese of Rochester, who will also speak at the 1 p.m. workshop on the section of "Amoris Laetitia" that we chose for the theme of the day.
The following is from Pope Francis' "Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love)" section number 318: "Family prayer is a special way of expressing and strengthening this paschal faith. A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God, to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, to pray for someone experiencing difficulty, to ask for help in showing love, to give thanks for life and for its blessings, and to ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle."
It is so exciting to be talking, and meditating, about the spirituality of marriage and family as we visit Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston in the year of the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to the children of Fatima. This year, on May 13, two of the children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were canonized saints by Pope Francis. It was known that as part of their chores, the siblings, along with their cousin, Lucia, would always take their sheep to the Cova da Iria and spend part of their time in prayer as they watched the sheep. The parents of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, and the parents of Servant of God Lucia dos Santos, had to have been the domestic teachers of these children and brought them up to be strong in their faith at a very young age.
Before the apparition, the children were taught the catechism of the Catholic Church and were told Bible stories in their homes. Lucia knew her catechism so well that, although the children during that time would receive their first Communion at the age of 10, she was allowed to receive Communion when she was 6. She also became a catechist at the age of 9.
"Amoris Laetitia" goes on to say: "With a few simple words, this moment of prayer can do immense good for our families. The various expressions of popular piety are a treasure of spirituality for many families. The family's communal journey of prayer culminates by sharing together in the Eucharist, especially in the context of the Sunday rest. Jesus knocks on the door of families, to share with them the Eucharistic supper (cf. Rev 3:20). There, spouses can always seal anew the paschal covenant which united them and which ought to reflect the covenant which God sealed with mankind in the cross. The Eucharist is the sacrament of the new covenant, where Christ's redemptive work is carried out (cf. Lk 22:20). The close bond between married life and the Eucharist thus becomes all the more clear."
It is clear that Lucia's mother and the parents of Francisco and Jacinta did just that, passing on the faith and the love for the Eucharist to their children.
We can learn a lot from these children and their families about living your spirituality. Join us for a day of prayer and learning at the shrine of Fatima.