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Pope John Paul II Says...

“Teach Your People
to Pray the Rosary”

To mark the anniversary of the final apparition, which took place on October 13, the Holy Father addressed a Message about Our Lady of Fatima and the Rosary.  Here are excerpts of his Message, which was written in Portuguese and dated October 1, 1997.


Fraternal greetings in Christ the Lord

The 80th anniversary of that 13 October 1917, when the miraculous “dance of the sun” occurred in the sky, is an excellent occasion for me to turn in spirit to that shrine, since I cannot do so in person, with a prayer to the Mother of God for the preparation of the Christian people—and in a certain way of all humanity—for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, and with an exhortation to families and ecclesial communities to recite the Rosary daily.

On the threshold of the third millennium, as we observe the signs of the times in this 20th Century, Fatima is certainly one of the greatest, among other reasons because its message announces many of the later events and conditions them on the response to its appeals ... Among these and other signs of the times, as I said, Fatima stands out and helps us see the hand of God.

... Beneath the maternal mantle, which extends from Fatima over the whole world, humanity senses anew its longing for the Father’s house and for His Bread (cf. Lk 15:17). Dear pilgrims, as if it were possible to embrace all humanity, I ask you to say in Her name and for Her sake, “We fly to Thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God.  Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin”.

Woman, behold Your son.  Thus Jesus spoke to His Mother, while thinking of John, His beloved disciple who also stood at the foot of the Cross. Who has no cross? To carry it day after day, following in the footsteps of the Master, is the condition the Gospel imposes on us (cf. Lk 9:23), certainly as a blessing of salvation (cf. 1 Cor 1:23-24). The secret lies in not losing sight of the first Crucified One, to Whom the Father responded with the glory of the Resurrection, and Who began this pilgrimage of the blessed. That contemplation took the simple and effective form of meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, popularly venerated and recommended with great insistence by the Church’s Magisterium.

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Dear brothers and sisters, recite the Rosary every day.

I earnestly urge Pastors to pray the Rosary and to teach people in their Christian communities how to pray it.

For the faithful and courageous fulfillment of the human and Christian duties proper to each one’s state, help the people of God to return to the daily recitation of the Rosary, this sweet conversation of children with the Mother Whom “they took into their house” (cf. Jn 19:27)

Joining in this conversation and making my own the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of everyone, I fraternally greet all who are physically or spiritually taking part in the October pilgrimage, invoking for everyone, but in a special way for those who suffer, God’s comfort and strength, so that they may be willing to “complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church” (cf. Col 1:24), recalling the “truly tremendous mystery on which one can never sufficiently meditate”, i.e., that “the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary mortification of the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, directed to this end, and on the co-operation that Pastors and faithful, particularly the parents of families, have to offer to our Divine Savior” (Pius XII, Mystici Corporis n. 19).

Taken from L’Osservatore Romano, October 29, 1997