24th Marian International Congress Concludes in Fatima

Fatima Apparitions are «a light shining on world history, in order that we do not despair»

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The 24th Mariological Marian International Congress was held at the Blessed Pope Paul VI Pastoral Centre in Fatima from the 6th to the 11th of September 2016 under the theme The Fatima event a hundred years later. History, message and relevance, and presided by the Special Envoy of the Holy Father, His Eminence Cardinal Jose Antonio Saraiva Martins, Prefect emeritus of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. The Congress was to integrate the initiatives promoted by the Shrine of Fatima in order to celebrate the first centennial of the apparitions of Fatima 1917-2017.
The Pontifical Marian International Academy (PAMI) in unison with the Sanctuary of Fatima invited the 500 delegates made up of specialists, and scholars in Mariology from around the world to study the series of apparitions which occurred in Fatima and to see the results of the rigorous and critical updated study of the inherent documentation of the events.
The Pontifical Academy along with the Sanctuary of Fatima have just published a selection of the critical documentation of Fatima from 1917 to 1930.
The congress through its major speakers attempted to delineate some of the consequent signs in order to deepen the message because of its dense contents, and which represents a “prophecy” full of hope for the Church, for humanity and the contemporary world. This intense work of interpretation, confrontation and updating is conducted in the light and based on the reports presented by several specialists during the general sessions as well as on the concepts proposed during the group works, divided by their various language groups. Bishop Antonio Marto who also attended the Congress summed up the proceedings saying, The relationship that Fatima has with world, history, the Church and political history “allows for Fatima to be spoken of as a major and dramatic event in the Church and world. Naturally the apparitions of our Lady of Fatima cannot be viewed as a fifth Gospel equal to the four Gospels. … They are an echo of the Gospels which helps the faith and maintain hope in the Church and world in these dramatic times; which is part of the function of private revelation. Above all they are … a light shining on world history, in order that we do not despair.
A total of 7 major conferences were given, the first by Professor Marco Daniel Duarte, the historian and director of the study and the diffusion department of the Sanctuary of Fatima. He sought to present the epistemology of Fatima, by listening, telling, reading and interpreting Fatima in the course of a century. The second conference was given by Father Luciano Coelho Cristino who presented the Critical Edition of the Fatima Documentation 1917-1930. Professor Cristina Sobral of the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon presented her paper on the critical study of the ‘Memoirs of Sister Lucia.’ The fourth conference was presented by the Japanese religious Sister Luca Maria Ritsuko Oka, on the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in response to the call of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917. Father Franco Manzi gave the penultimate conference on the Theological Content of the message of Fatima and its authentic interpretation. Father Antonio Escudero, Professor of Mariology at the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome presented the last of the major conferences on the “Aspects of Mariology emerging from the sources of Fatima”
A total of 117 minor papers were presented at the various afternoon workshops in 10 different languages. At the conclusion of which a round table forum was chaired by Father Salvatore Perrella OSM, President of the Pontifical Marianum in Rome and by Father Vincent Battaglia OFM, President of PAMI.
Each day a special sung mass was celebrated by the many bishops who attended the congress and by more than 100 priests. At the conclusion of the Congress, all participants were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the rosary basilica.

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William A. Thomas

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