77th. Our Lady of Fatima. - KARJAT
Annual Pilgrimage Oct 13, 2012
The story of Our Lady of Fatima & The Shrine dedicated to her at Karjat.
The Fatima Pilgrimage at Karjat known to many. Even though today there are number of Churches that are dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, however Our Lady of Fatima Church at Karjat is the first to be named and dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, not only in India, but in Asia. The Elegantly Carved Wooden Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is brought from Fatima, Portugal in 1920.
Before we understand more about one of the oldest shrines in Asia dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima near Karjat station (e), is situated 91km from Mumbai city by Local CR train, & takes about one & and a half hour.
We need to know the story of Fatima in brief.
So here it is:
The apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima 1917
The three visit of the angel were a precursor getting the children ready for the six apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, to Lucia aged, 10, Jacinta aged 7 and Francesco aged 9 years.
First apparition in Fatima of the Angel
The shepherd children saw in spring 1916 in Fatima the vision of an angel of peace whose mission was to prepare them for the Coming of the Mother Mary. The Angel demonstrated to the children the fervent, attentive, and composed manner in which we should all pray, and the reverence we should show toward God in prayer.
Second apparition in Fatima of the Angel
During the summer of 1916, the angel appeared a second time to the children, and urged them to pray: "Constantly offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High". He presented himself as the guardian angel of Portugal.
Third apparition in Fatima of the Angel
In his third and final apparition to the children in autumn 1916 in Fatima, the Angel gave them Holy Communion, and demonstrated the proper way to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist: all three children knelt to receive Communion; and Lucy was given the Sacred Host on the tongue and the Angel shared the Blood of the Chalice between Francisco and Jacinta.
First apparition of Our Lady in Fatima
It was on the 13th of May 1917 that Our Blessed Lady appeared for the first time in Fatima. They were playing and building a wall when they suddenly saw a flash of lightening. They thought that a storm was brewing and herded the sheep together to take them home. They once again saw a flash of lightening and shortly afterwards they saw above a small oak tree a Lady dressed entirely in white and shining more brilliantly than the sun. They were standing so close to it that they were standing in this Light. The Beautiful Lady said; “be not afraid, I shall do you no harm”. Lucia asked;” where have you come from?” It is Lucia who asks all the questions. “ And what to you want from me?” The Blessed Virgin said: ”I come from Heaven, I come to ask to you to come back here on the thirteenth of the month at the same time for six months. Then I shall tell you who I am and what I want. Then I shall come a seventh time.” Then Lucia asked, “ Shall I also go to Heaven?” -----“ Yes.”—And Jacinta?”-----“as well”-------“And Francesco?”----“He too, but he must first say a lot of rosaries.” Then Lucia asked about two girls’ aged 16 and 20, who had died recently, if they were in Heaven. “The first is and the second not”. Was the reply.
This was the first apparition when they got to know Our Lady. Then Our Lady started to tell them why She had come. “ Will you all offer yourselves to God to carry the suffering. that He shall give you in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners?” In childlike and heroic simplicity they answered. “ We want to”. “Then you suffer a lot, but the Grace of God shall be your strength!” Whilst She said the words: - “ The grace of God She opened Her hands out of which came beams of such a strong light, that it dug into the deepest depths of our souls. In this way She showed us ourselves in God, Who is this Light.
We saw ourselves better than in the very best mirror, Lucia tells us. Due to an enormous inner urge to do so, we fell to our knees and repeated: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.” After a short time, Our Lady said; “ Pray the rosary every day for peace in the world and for the end of the war! At the end of the rosary say the following prayer: My Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fire of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have the most need of Thy Mercy.” Then She slowly moved away to the east.
Second apparition of our Lady in Fatima
The second encounter took place on the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. 13th. June. Our Lady asked the children to pray the Rosary daily. She promised to take Jacinta and Francesco to heaven soon. To Lucia, She gave the mission of remaining in the world to establish devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. She promised Lucia: "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God." On that occasion Our Lady gave the children another vision of God and revealed to the Her Immaculate Heart, surrounded by thorns, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation for them.
Third apparition of Our Lady in Fatima
The apparition of July 13th would prove to be in many ways the most controversial aspect of the message of Fatima, providing a secret in three parts which the children guarded zealously. The first two parts, the vision of hell and the prophecy of the future role of Russia and how to prevent it, would not be revealed until Sr. Lucia wrote them down in her third memoir, at the request of the bishop, in 1941. The third part, usually called the Third Secret, was only later communicated to the bishop, who sent it unread to Pope Pius XII.
The vision of hell in Fatima
Lucia later revealed that as she spoke these words, Lady Mary opened her hands and rays of light from them seemed to penetrate the earth so that they saw a terrifying vision of hell, full of demons and lost souls amidst indescribable horrors. This vision of hell was the first part of the "secret" of Fatima, and was not revealed until much later. The children looked up to the sad face of the Blessed Virgin, who spoke to them kindly: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wants the devotion of My Immaculate Heart to be spread over the world and to increase. If people do what I shall tell you, many will be saved and there will be peace, the war shall end if people truly stop blaspheming God. If they don’t, during the pontificate of Pius X1 a worse war shall start. If you suddenly see a bright unknown light one night, know that that is a sign from God, which He is giving you to let you know that He is going to punish the world for her sins. This with war, famine, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart. And that you receive Holy Communion every first Saturday of the month as reparation. If the people do as I ask and really take heed of my words, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If this does not occur, Russia will spread her false teaching throughout the world, war and persecution of the church are inevitable. The good shall suffer martyrdom; The Holy Father shall suffer much; different nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me and it will be converted and some time of peace will be granted to humanity. In Portugal the people will keep their faith. Tell this to no one other than Francesco. When you pray the rosary, say after each decade: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, take all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Your mercy.” Lucie then asked, “ Do you want me to do anything else?” “ No I desire nothing more from you today.” Then She glided slowly towards the East, ‘ She disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament.
Fourth apparition of Our Lady in Fatima
August 13th 1917 the children were in prison in Ourem, a few kilometres from Fatima. Jacinta, in tears offered everything for the conversion of sinners. The time that Our Blessed Lady would appear came and went. The twenty thousand people in Fatima saw and hear the rumble of thunder and a vividly brilliant flash of lightening in the clear blue sky. The sun grew pale and the whole atmosphere changed to a dull, sickly sort of yellow, while a light cloud, of beautiful shape, appeared and hovered a while over the oak tree and the place of the apparitions.
On the 19th of August Lady Mary appeared in Fatima to the children in the area which is called Valinos, a small village near Fatima. Once again She appeared above a holm oak tree. Lucie said: “What do you wish of me?” Our Lady answered,” I want you to come to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth and continue to pray the rosary, at the last apparition, I shall do a miracle, so that all people may believe.” “What are we to do with the money which the people leave at Cova da Iria?” “This money is for the the feast day of Our Lady of The Rosary, that which is left over is to build a Chapel.” When Lucie asked Our Lady to heal some sick people. Our Lady answered, “ During the next year I shall heal some. Pray! Pray! A lot and bring offers for the sinners, as a lot of souls go to hell because nobody offers themselves for these souls or prays for them. Pray!” Our Lady was elevated and moved off towards the East.
Fifth apparition of Our Lady in Fatima
13th of September. Rumours were spreading that God was going to do something special on this day. Lucies mother, who often hit her child as she thought that Lucie was telling lies had fixed all her hopes on this. But nothing happened which made the apparitions clearer. This meant that her position at home got worse. But Lucie offered her suffering up as Our Lady had taught her.” My Jesus, I offer all to You, it is for Your Love and reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the conversion of sinners.” Our Lady said: “God is pleased with your offers, but He wants you to wear those penance belts only at night.” The children had made these belts themselves.
Sixth and last apparition of Our Lady in Fatima
On a rainy day at October 13th of 1917 in Fatima the mystic Lady appeared for the sixth and last time to the children. More than 70.000 people in Fatima were present that evening. The children were still the only one who can seen her and she declared that she was the Holy Maria. She declared the children her three secrets and appeared then. Suddenly, the rain stops and the clouds drove away to reveal the sun. The sun begans to turn around and seems to fall down ! witnesses declared later. The people thought that the world ends but the sun got his normal position back to the sky. By tradition it is told that this phenomenon happens twice.
The Miracle of the Sun in Fatima
The sun miracle which all these people had witnessed can best be described in the following words. After the long extensive rains, the sky became blue, people could easily look into the sun, which started to spin round like a wheel of fire which radiated wonderful shafts of light in all sorts of colours. The people, the hills, the trees and everything in Fatima seemed to radiate these marvelous colours. Then the sun stood still for a moment then the wonderful thing that had happened reoccurred. It was repeated for a third time. But now the sun broke loose from the heavens and came down to earth with a zigzagging movement. It became bigger and bigger and looked as though it would fall on the people and flatten them. All were frightened and fell to the ground while they prayed for mercy and forgiveness. The people prayed…
Then everything returned to normal and the people who had been kneeling in the mud realised that they were filthy all over. They turned to the children and fired a barrage of questions at them. This continued well into the night before they permitted the children to get some rest, only to be continued the next day. They offered all this up for the sinners and (never told before) for the Holy Father The Pope.
The deaths of Francisco and Jacinta
After this the interrogations commenced and as always people tried to get the children to tell the secrets that Our Blessed Lady had told them. But without success, as even the little Jacinta said, " rather die than tell". Jacinta died soon afterwards 20th of February 1920. She died alone in hospital in Lisbon, just as Our Lady had said.
Francesco had died the previous year on the 4th of April 1919. Lucie is still alive. Our Blessed Lady had said that she would live longer as Our Blessed Lord had chosen her to be His worker to make Our Lady known and to increase the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.
The Apparition at Pontevedra December 10, 1925
Eight years after the Fatima events, when Sister Lucy was living in a convent in Pontevedra, Spain, she experienced another apparition of Our Lady. On the 10th of December 1925 Our Blessed Lady appeared to her in Pontevedra, with Her Child in a cloud of light. The Child said: "have mercy on the heart of your Blessed Mother, it is surrounded with thorns with which the ungrateful people still continue to pierce it. Continually piercing Her heart with nobody removing the thorns by acts of restitution". Then Our Blessed Lady said: "My daughter, see My heart surrounded by thorns with which the ungrateful people pierce it with their blasphemous language and ungratefulness. Will you try to comfort me and to make it known, that all who have attended Mass on the first Saturday for five consecutive months, been to confession and received Holy Communion, prayed the rosary and kept Me company for fifteen and ungratefulness. to make it known that all minutes whilst contemplating the mysteries of the rosary and do this has restitution I shall grant them the mercy which they will need in their hour of death".
The Vision of the Most Holy Trinity and Our Lady of Fatima at Tuy, Spain, June 13, 1929
Lucy was moved from Pontevedra to Tuy, Spain, just over the national border, on July 16, 1926, nine months after she first entered the nunnery at Pontevedra. We have no evidence that her superiors made this move because they were concerned about her personal welfare. Her “apparitions” continued. As Our Lady said at the apparition of 13 July 1917: "I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia". She did this on 13 June 1929, when She appeared to Lucy in the Chapel of Dorotheas, in the town of Tuy, Spain. My mother superior and Father confessor had given me permission to hold a holy hour from Thursday 23.00 hours until Friday Midnight. One night, I was alone praying on my knees in the Chapel, the prayer of the Angels.( Notice how faithful she has remained). I was feeling very tired and stretched, continuing to pray with my arms stretched out. The perpetual sanctuary lamp was the only light. Suddenly the entire chapel was filled with a super natural light, a Cross of Light appeared which spread to the edges of the altar. In a very clear light, in the upper part of the Cross, was the Face and upper torso of the Body of a person. In front of the chest was a Dove of light and the Body of another Person was nailed to the Cross. Just below the waist a chalice was suspended, above which there was a large Host onto which fell some drops of blood. from the Face of the crucified and some drops of Blood from the wound in His chest. These drops rolled from the host into the chalice. Under the right arm of the cross stood Our Lady of Fatima with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand. It was devoid of the sword or the roses, but with the crown of thorns and flames. Under the left arm of the cross, appeared some large letters looking like crystal clear water that flowed towards the altar forming the words: "MERCY AND CHARITY"
I then received more detail about the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, which is a secret that I may not tell. Then Our Blessed Lady said: " Now is the time for The Pope to invite all the Bishops of the world to join him to dedicate Russia to my Immaculate Heart. He 'God' has promised to save it if this done. So many souls are condemned by God's Righteous Justice because of the sins against Me. That is why I ask for reparation. Offer yourself to pray for this intention!!!"
The three Secrets of Fatima
The first secret was a vision of Hell:
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
The second secret was a statement that World War I would end and goes on to predict another war, World War II during the reign of Pope Pius XI, should men continue offending God and should Russia not convert. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light*, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
The third part of the secret was allegedly written down "by order of His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother" on 3 January 1944. In 1943, Lúcia fell ill with influenza and pleurisy, which had killed her cousins. For several months, she was sure she was going to die. Bishop Silva, visiting her on 15 September 1943 while she was bed-ridden, first suggested that she write the third secret down to ensure that it would be recorded in the event of her death. Lucia was hesitant to do so, however. She was under strict obedience according to her Carmelite vows, but when she received the secret, she had heard Mary say not to reveal it. Because Carmelite obedience requires that orders from superiors be regarded as coming directly from God, she was in a quandary as to whose orders took precedence. Finally, in mid-October, Bishop Silva sent her a letter containing a direct order to record the secret, and Lúcia obeyed. In June 1944, the sealed envelope containing the third secret was delivered to Silva, where it stayed until 1957, when it was finally delivered to Rome.
It was announced by Cardinal Sodano on 13 May 2000, 83 years after the first apparition of the Lady to the children in the Cova da Iria, that the Third Secret would finally be released. In his announcement, Cardinal Sodano implied that the secret was about the persecution of Christians in the 20th century that culminated in the failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981.
The text of the Third Secret, according to the Vatican, was published on 26 June 2000:
The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 May 1917.
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium (a basin containing holy water with which worshippers sprinkle themselves.)in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Along with the text of the secret, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope), published a theological commentary, in which he states that:
A careful reading of the text of the so-called third 'secret' of Fatima ... will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled.
After explaining the differences between public and private revelations, he cautions people not to see in the message a determined future event:
The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.
He then moves on to talk about the symbolic nature of the images, noting that:
The concluding part of the 'secret' uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.
As for the meaning of the message:
What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the 'secret': the exhortation to prayer as the path of 'salvation for souls' and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA. KARJAT.
Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, we have learnt that the three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima,. Fatima is an Arabic girl name. The meaning of the name is `Abstainable’, which incidentally is the name of the sister of Prophet Mohamed. At that time, Portugal too was in political turmoil, having overthrown her monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after. Many missionaries fled the persecution by moving to different Countries. This is when, in the year 1920, the present carved statue placed on the Main Altar of the Church at Karjat, was brought from Portugal. The place around the Karjat Church is known as Fatima Nagar.
Before the apparitions of O.L of Fatima which were observed between May 13-Oct 13 1917. The priest at Karjat were already building a shrine to O L of Fatima,not knowing that they would dedicate the shrine to her in Mar 1915.
It was on 5th March 1915, that the land close to Karjat station was purchased by Fr. Aniceto Pereira, the then Parish Priest of Holy Cross Church, Matheran, for construction of the Church, The land was purchased from Pestonji B. Balaporria and Ardesan P. Bhikaji. This purchase deal was done on behalf of the Bishop of Daman. The only Catholics were the railway workers, since Karjat had by then become the hub of railway workshop, especially of the stream engine. When Our Lady appeared at Fatima in the year 1917, Fr. J. A. Gomes was in-charge of Karjat. The idea of having a Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima was conceived already at that time, but for some reason it did not materialize. Soon permission was granted and the statue was venerated by the Catholic Railway Staff in one of the rooms at Karjat stations.
Matheran and Karjat being under the Gloria Church, Byculla, in the year 1929 Fr. Orphine Desa, then an assistant at Byculla and in-charge of Karjat built the Chapel at Karjat. The new Chapel was completed in 1936. His Grace Archbishop Joaquim Lima blessed the site. The carved statue which was brought from Portugal was now placed in the Chapel.
The importance of Fatima had grown by now and in the year 1935 the pilgrimage started.
In 1937 this mission was handed to the Jesuits who were running a mission and a Church at Kune (Pune, perhaps), Khandala. In 1939 the Jesuits purchased additional land for the expansion of school and mission just behind the Karjat Church. During the time of Fr Morey the Church was registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950 and on 30th June 1955 under the name Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1974, the Gram Panchayat issued an order to tax all pilgrims coming to Karjat. However this was stopped subsequently.
In1978 May, Jesuits moved out from Karjat with no alternative to continue the mission work at Karjat. A priest from Ambarnath came to celebrate the Eucharist occasionally. He was also requested to look after the pastoral need of the faithful at Khapoli.
From 1980, the Pilar fathers from Ambarnath took charge of Karjat parish. At that time for a period of two years, the Central Railway withdrew the special train services, which brought the devotees from Mumbai. A reminder to them about this matter by Fr. Durado who had taken charge, at the feast of 1980, was not consented, by the railway authorities. Karjat was under the Pilar Fathers and a part of the north East Salsette Deanery, till 1991. A house called Sara Villa was purchased, which became a blessing for the parish.
Fr. Gervis the first Diocesan Resident Priest was appointed. He remained for the full appointed term which can be considered not less than a miracle and God’s blessing, knowing the past situation. He became a true pastor to the parishioners, in the real sense of the term, who were without a full time pastor.
The fulfillment of the dream of a Shrine of Fatima in Karjat, is not as distant as before. Very soon this dream will be fulfilled. The term Shrine as cannon law states is a Church or other sacred place which with the approval of the Local Ordinary is by reason of a special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims. The distinguishing characteristic of a Shrine is that it is a place of pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey by the faithful to a Shrine, a place made sacred. A number of people come to Fatima Church as pilgrims and today the Shrine of our Lady of Fatima is one of the famous Shrines and is sometimes referred to as the Fatima of the East. The vast concourse of devotees, hailing from every creed and community, who throng the Shrine with their votive offering during the feast day in October, is ample testimony of the people’s trust in the power of the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima and her help in the hour of trouble and need.
Today the Church at Karjat is looked after by a Diocesan resident priest which should have happened long ago.
Collated by. Tony DIAS
St. Joseph’s Church.VIKHROLI. MUMBAI. 400079
Cell # 09821342681
web page: tonydias.page.tl