On July 13, 1917, the Virgin Mary said to three shepherd children in Fatima: “Jesus wants to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If what I say to you is done many souls will be saved and there will be peace in the world.”
Jacinta one of the shepherd children often repeated that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the way to heaven. Veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is closely linked to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is the reason the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been celebrated since 1969 on Saturday after the Friday feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Jacinta died of influenza in 1920 and before going to hospital she told Lucia: “Tell everyone that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and people are to ask for these graces. Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Mary to be venerated along side the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which can be renewed often, is an essential part of the Fatima message.
The spirituality of the Fatima apparitions has its specific expression in the devotion on the first Saturdays of the month. On December 10, 1925, the Virgin Mary appeared to Sister Lucia in her cell of the religious house in Pontevedra with the Child Jesus.
The Child Jesus said to Sr Lucia:
“Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother covered with the thorns which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.”
Our Lady then said:
“My daughter, look at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least try to console me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death with all graces necessary for salvation, all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.’”
The spiritual exercises of Fatima First Saturdays form the hearts of the devotees to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (as with all who are connected to the community of the Light of Mary).
During night prayer from May 29 to 30, 1930, the Lord Jesus told Sister Lucia that practicing first Saturday devotion would also be possible on the Sunday after the first Saturday, if the priests would agree.
After Our Lord explained to Lucia the reason for five first Saturdays was to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all the offences against her and in particularly for the five offences against her, namely, those sins against her Immaculate Conception, Virginity, Divine Motherhood and Spiritual Maternity, children’s love for her and her Sacred Images.
All parts of the devotion: going to Confession, receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, praying the Rosary, keeping Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary are to be made with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The devotion of Mother Mary through the five first Saturdays was affirmed by Pope Pius X prior to the Fatima apparitions in 1917.
The Holy Father, Pope Pius X, “in order to increase the devotion of the faithful to the glorious and immaculate Mother of God and to encourage the desire to give reparation, which wants to be a kind of atonement on the part of the faithful for the reprehensible curses by which wicked people desecrate the most holy name and the noble dignity of the Holy Virgin, from of his own decision to grant authorized indulgences, which can also be offered for the dead, to all those who, on the first Saturday of the month after Holy Confession and Holy Communion, perform some special exercises in the spirit of compensation in honor of the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin and pray for the intention of St. Father”.
(Decretum S. Penitentiariae de die 13.junii 1912 cfr. Acta Apost.)
(Published in Posol BSJ, r. 1944 p.15: Our response to the Fatima message of the Virgin Mary. Trnava)