The Eyewitnesses of Fatima

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With 2017 comes the 100th Anniversary of the Fatima event which is an extraordinary part in the Church’s rich history and so, as with most historic moments, it will be tremendous to celebrate its centennial. However, it is also richly significant to note that this October 13th will be the 99th year since the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal, an event witnessed by tens of thousands. Why is 99 significant? Maybe it is simply unusual, but I find it amazing because 99 is the product of 33 x 3. So we have the number of years that Christ lived with the number of Persons in the Blessed Trinity. Is this related at all to the Year of Mercy? I don’t know, maybe I read too much into it, but what I do know is this:

“As the sun danced at midday in Fatima” is the translation of the article printed in the anti-Catholic Lisbon newspaper, O Seculo, reporting on the events that occurred in Cova da Iria, a field where the shepherd children of the apparitions pastured their sheep, in Fatima, Portugal on October 17, 1917. The miracle of the Sun, as it has come to be known, was witnessed by an estimated 70,000 people and the voice of one of those eye-witnesses belonged to the chief editor of O Seculo, Avelino de Almeida.

The crowd gathers in Cova da Iria on October 17, 1917.

Almeida was present for the claimed apparition of Mary in hopes to embarrass the Church and report a story opposite of what he did write. What he did publish was a detailed account of a miraculous event.

“From the road, where the carriages were crowded together and where hundreds of persons had stayed for want of sufficient courage to advance across the muddy ground, we saw the huge crowd turn towards the sun which appeared at its zenith, clear of the clouds. It resembled a flat plate of silver, and it was possible to stare at it without the least discomfort. It did not burn the eyes. It did not blind. We would say that it produced an eclipse. Then a tremendous cry rang out, and the crowd nearest us were heard to shout: ‘Miracle! Miracle! Marvel! Marvel! Before the dazzled eyes of the people, whose attitude transported us to biblical times, and who, dumb-founded, heads uncovered, contemplated the blue of the sky, the sun trembled, it made strange and abrupt movements, outside of all cosmic laws, ‘the sun danced’, according to the typical expression of the peasants …”

Dr. Jose Maria de Almeida Garrett, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, Portugal, reported something similar,

 “During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of colour in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.”

“Then, suddenly, one heard a clamour, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.”

This is a supernatural event reported by an atheist reporter trying to discredit the Church, a Science professor at a University, and a crowd 70,000. Of course, claims are made that the whole event was merely a case of psychological experience in which many wanted badly to see a miracle, they were tired, wet, and excited by the crowd and so all collectively, besides an apparent few who reported nothing or others reported slight variances of the miracle, experienced a hallucination of some sort. Basically, the anti-claim is that the miracle is a product of mass hysteria.

However, what about the two reports earlier mentioned? One was definitely hoping not to see a miracle, the other was well versed with science enough to be a university professor. Can we truly discredit the whole event with this amount of information, simply because a few people say, “no way”?

I recently had a chance encounter when I was at a friend’s house: I personally met the daughter of a man who was present in the field of Fatima on October 13 to witness the Miracle of the Sun. I was told that everything handed down to us about the event is absolutely true. “It’s exactly as they say”, said her husband in a classic Portuguese accent. Moreover, he shared with me that there was such a great number of people in the usually small populated Fatima due to the fact that the O Seculo paper had reported that the children said that The Lady promised that there would be a miracle on October 13, 1917.

My wife and me with Maria Gomes, daughter of the eyewitness of the Miracle of the Sun, and her husband, Louis.

This promise was made during the month or so that the children were kept in an adult jail. They had already been interviewed by their parents, priests, and the Bishop. Now the police placed them in a holding cell, threatened them that they were to be boiled alive if they did not tell “the truth”. However,their story never changed.

The three shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francesco, of the Fatima Apparitions.

And so we have a supernatural event given to the world to call us to pay attention to what was spoken by the Heavenly Visitor over the course of the 6 months in which Mary appeared to the shepherd children of Fatima. This can be likened to the miraculous deeds of Christ that He brought about to affirm His own Teaching.

So what then was the message that Our Lord wanted us to hear through these appearances of His Mother? Simply stated, we are instructed to pray the Rosary, offer sacrifices for the reparation of our sins and the sins of the whole world, and practice devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Furthermore, on the same day as the Miracle of the Sun, she tells us that we all need to strive to live well as she states,  “People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already too much offended.”

So let us remember Our Lady’s message as we continue on in this valley of tears. In it she gives us a gameplan to live in peace. Not peace that is freedom from struggle, but true peace that transcends our struggles, lifting us ever higher to the Source of Peace, Jesus Christ.


Thomas Clements

Thomas Clements

Thomas Clements is a High School and Middle School Theology Teacher. He graduated with an B.A. in Theology from Southern Catholic College and received an M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. On the side he has recorded a CD and performs music at various colleges, churches, and conferences. He lives with his wife and 3 children in Atlanta, GA.

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61 thoughts on “The Eyewitnesses of Fatima”

  1. Has Mary ever appeared to Protestants?
    She picks three peasant children living in near poverty to send an important message to the world and our Popes suppressed it reportedly in order to appease communists.

    1. I recollect having heard of an occasion or two in which it seems she did, though (a) not to send a public message and (b) of course these claims did not receive the careful scrutiny that is applied by the Church to Catholic clams. There are more … well, odd but meaningful occurrences than you might suspect, although most of them are kept private and could not in any event be subjected to the kind of public scrutiny that the Church requires for an approved miracle or apparition.

      As for the last part of your comment, get real. Yeah, John Paul II was certainly an enemy of Fatima, and Benedict XVI wanted to appease communists a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, just like I am King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland, inventor of the light bulb and first man to break the sound barrier in an airplane.

      1. Howie, you need a drink. JPII did supress the secret as well as BXVI, I never said they were enemies, Marxism in our church is its biggest problem IMHO. My point is, if you were not so silly, that Mary seems to select simple Catholics from everyday life for her appearances and messages. She sure didn’t pick Martin Luther or any other Lutheran heretics. To my limitied knowledge she has never appeared to give personal messages to non-Catholics and I wonder if that is true? You and Jehanne below make a great couple of fly-off-the handle jerks.

      2. I may be missing something here but this article says: Mr G said that Joseph Ratzinger told hi part of the secret is still secret.Paraphrasing here….Third Party, can be inflated,know what I mean.

      3. The Vatican communique said: “In this regard, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI declares ‘never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima,’ clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter ‘are pure inventions, absolutely untrue,’ and he confirms decisively that ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.'”

        I’ll take that over “the article said that Dr. Garrett said that Joseph Ratzinger said ….”

    2. What makes you think there were not hundreds of Protestants amongst the 70,000 eye witnesses present at Fatima? How about among the 200,000+ who saw the Virgin Mary on top of a Coptic Cathedral in Zeitoun, Egypt in 1968 over about 20 different nights? What would prevent Protestants from visiting chapels where statues of the Virgin weeps? Such as in a convent in Akita, Japan in 1973 where a wooden statue of Mary wept human tears or tears of blood 101 times?

      Are Protestants making demands on how Our Mother should behave in the same way atheists make demands on God should reveal Himself? Maybe some Protestant leaders need to humble themselves first and recognize to disparage or mock the Mother of God is really an ill-advised proposition no matter how it is viewed — and then they may find more witnesses to her appearances in their own ranks.

      1. I guess it is how we understand the Marian apparitions,but looking back at your reply in regards to apparitions to non Catholics,that would be Egypt back in The 60’s

      2. Me thinks you may be a troll.?You can Google Marian Apparitions of the 20th century.Ricardo Montebalm narration.Have A Blessed Christmas and New Year.

      3. I am not a troll at all. It seems to me that if Mary has only spoken to innocent Catholics of no prestige that that fact it is most noteworthy.

      4. My children and I saw this on October 28, 2016, this very year ofcourse. I am no catholic, I am a Christian. It’s a lot to write but in a nutshell I was on my back porch talking on the phone with my friend about politics (Trump,putin,etc) It was raining like crazy all of a sudden. It was not raining on the area where my friend was at the time we were on the phone talking. It thundered so hard we started talking about it and how thunder is the voice of God. So yeah, the thunder was real so I began to go back inside. It was 5:15 p.m. It stopped raining and the sky was gray with thick clouds but out of no where I see the sun. BUT it was rising and it looked like a disc! And it was spinning! And I said Oh my God is that the sun? My 3 daughters ran to the window. They saw it and they were shocked like I was. I’m on the phone still and I tell my friend the sun is moving! I couldn’t believe I was looking at the actual sun becaus no one can look directly at the sun. The it had the color of the rainbow around it and it was spinning and looked like as it was rising that it was coming to earth. Hand raised to God, I thought a planet or some huge comet was coming to earth. I was scared. But I stood still for a second to make sure that I was not loosing my mind. It moved above the tree and that’s when I ran lol! The girls were jumping up and down screaming it’s moving it’s moving! My eldest ran then ran back. But the my middle child stood and watched the whole thing. When I ran back it was bright sunny outside like it never rained. And the puddles were gone. My daughter saw the sun zigzag across the sky then sparkle bright. When I was coming back I saw the shade of gray slowly disappear to brightNess. It rained cats and dogs for like 10 minutes and then it stopped, that’s when the sun moved before my eyes. I searched and searched for this happening to anyone in America or not this year. The body of Christ is huge so I’ve just gotten a reality check by witnessing this. I waited to see if it would happen again a month later and it didn’t. I want to see it again so that I won’t run this time. I think my friend being on the phone was a distraction because I sounded absolutely NUTS saying the sun is moving. I believe God Elohim is here more now than ever. Christ is coming back very soon #Maranotha

      5. Awesome,quite the witness and testimony for you and your children.Hopefully FreemenRtrue sees this.When you come down to it ,you have been touched by God in the most intimate way.I personally call it stunned awe.There is a movie The 13th day.Very Good about the apparitions @Fatima.Dominic and Ian Dunn,who were asked to do a 20 minute short and in their research realized,there was more than 20 minutes would satisfy.The apparitions culminating in October 13,1917 miracle of the sun is something to behold.I think that this maybe able to help you along with your desire as you say ,to experience and not run away.You can get it on Vimeo,or get it from the library.This will help you in your journey with God,for he is always with us and always calling.Peace

      6. I really really appreciate that! I did research this. On that day October 28, 2016, I just typed in on Google “I saw the sun zigzag across the sky” and The Miracle of Fatima popped up. Let me tell you my mind was blown away! No lie, I ran my friend lol! Lately The Lord has been giving me dreams and visions. He’s actually always given me dreams and visions all of my life. I am 32 years old and the cadence is picking up, as far as spiritual revelation. We have also seen angels fly right out of the sun. I know I sound absolutely nut! They looked like orbs of lights in the sky then they began to manifest. Me and the girls were super excited. I tried to record the whole seen but my hands were literally shaking. I tell you this, a human being cannot stand still and uneffected by the Shekinah glory of God! One flew in a cloud and once it flew in the lining of the cloud turned into rainbow colors. I believe that Jesus is coming very soon and wanders are being shown in the skies. The veil is being pulled back. Earlier this year the sound of a horn woke me up abruptly out of my sleep,early in the morning. At first it sounded like the horn of an 18 wheeler but it did a crescendo and sounded like a melody then before it ended, the horn was so loud I can’t believe my husband and children did not hear this. I looked up this sound and found that it is a shofar. I believe I heard a trumpet blow. I have heard angels singing in the atmosphere 10 years ago. But seeing the sun dance was AMAZING! I can’t believe we witnessed this! It’s so ironic that 3 children witnessed this in 1917. I have 3 daughters. I feel like God is manifesting Himself physically in my life like never before. I now know Him as my Jehovah Shemah aka God is near, God is always with me wherever I go. Blessings To You!

  2. It is important to remember that this is not just some past historical event. Our Holy Father has put his pontificate under the patronage of Our Lady of Fatima. She promised that if we obeyed her requests, a period of peace would come to the world. It has still not come — we have not obeyed her requests! However, her promise still remains valid when we get desperate enough to obey. We should not delay or think it is useless by now. God wants to help us, but if we refuse to cooperate freely we tie his hands since he has given us the gift of saying yes or no. The mercy of God is illustrated in his promise to Abraham to save Sodom if only ten just people could be found. Among the requests of Mary at Fatima was the daily recitation of the rosary. Is that really too much to ask considering the situation we are facing in the world today?

    1. No, not too much, but she also asked the Pope to do a consecration of Russia to her along with all the other bishops worldwide and, according to many, this has not been done and Russia certainly seems to be spreading her errors, yes?

  3. The Lord Jesus will make His Mother known to Protestants. He alrady did in the book, “Heaven is for real”, concerning the little Protestant 4 year old who died for a short period of time and went to heaven. He said, and I quote. ” I saw Jesus’ Mommy. Sometimes she is standing next to Him and sometimes she is kneeling before Him”. Translation of that speaks for itself.

    1. Not quite what I meant when I implied that Mary’s appearances with messages are always to Catholics, simple and faithful ones. If it is true, I think it means something other than what the bigot below

    1. Mary’s purity frightens the evil one, and you know it don’t you Mr. Green. She has been venerated by the true church from the beginning. I became a Catholic when I read the Church Fathers of the second century; there an honest man will find the Catholic Church.

      1. If Mary is not the WOMAN of Gen. 3:15, then who is that woman? If Mary is that WOMAN, what can be concluded with a certitude of faith when we combine the WORD of God, “I am placing enmity between you (the devil) and the woman” and when we realize that God has only one, single, infinite, indivisible, eternal, always in the present tense thought (WORD) that is changeless, so therefore He is eternally putting enmity between the devil and the woman. She is never in the devil’s camp, under his control, and therefore sinless. Therefore she never does anything sinful nor fails to do that which is right. She never fails to use the graces given by God. She constantly seeks to understand scripture (the old testament) the way God wants it understood. She prays always for herself, her family, for her enemies (even the devils) because she knows that God loves all that exists (Wisdom 11:24) . As a child she prays for her future husband because “it is not right for a man to be alone, therefore let us make a helpmate for him” and she continued to pray for and through St. Joseph, as he was the head of the family, when they were married under Jewish law. Even when She became the Mother of God, she continued to honor St. Joseph as the head of the family because that is How Jesus (GOD) honored him and therefore still does so eternally. Mary believed Jesus to be true God and true Man and therefore resolutely united her prayer with HIS infinite prayer for everyone at every point of space and time because she knew His prayer was perfect and for all He loves eternally and “his thought does not change” (Numbers 23:19).
        If we focus on Jesus as true God and true Man and focus on the fact that He was subject to Joseph and Mary for thirty years, perfectly demonstrating the eternal changeless divine will, should we also conform our human wills to God’s eternal, changeless divine will and will to be subject to Joseph and Mary the way God honors them?

      2. I do feel sorry for you David. I will note that in The Bible Mary is addressed as “Hail full of grace.” And after Gabriel’s visit, Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord, still somehow utters these words — “from this day forward all generations shall call me blessed.” So that does not strike you as a special creation of God’s? Or are you suggesting that was a prideful flaw in Mary’s character? (unthinkable)
        Finally, where do you come off telling the world that God reveals Himself only through the Bible? Where in Scripture does Jesus even make reference to that being thee source and only source? It is clear to me you are afraid of thee Church Jesus established to whom He gave “the keys of the kingdom!” To whom He said “whatsoever you hold bound on earth shall be held bound in heaven.” Take heed.

    2. Mary is the boast of the Trinity, Mary agreed to Gods message from the angel Gabriel and said yes to becoming the Mother of God in his only begotten Son Jesus, to fulfill prophecy. Like a mother, Mary continue’s to focus on her Son Jesus, and bring our focus on Jesus. It pain’s Our Blessed Lord to hear people speak ill of his mother. Just as it would pain you to hear people speak ill of your mother. Ask yourself why did God decide to bring Jesus into the world through the Blessed Mother ? And why did the child Jesus, after being found in the temple Luke 2: 41-50, go home with Mary and Joseph and live under their authority Luke 2: 51-52.

      1. Its just not true I have read all the arguments! We dont need mary all we need is Jesus you Catholics have made Mary a GOD…..FACT

    3. Remember also, at the foot of the cross, Jesus gave his Mother Mary to John, and in doing so she became our mother also. How extraordinary to have such a mother to depend on, a mother that even when Jesus “hour had not yet come” John 2: 1-12 performed the Miracle of the wedding at Cana, because his mother Mary knew they had run of wine and wished to save the couple from embarrassment. How typical of a mother, and how fortunate we are to have her intercede for us, we have only to ask and as a good mother she will help us. How amazing is God that this was his plan, how then could we not praise and adore and worship him in his great glory. All praise be given to The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit, now and forever.

      1. 3
        down vote
        Behold thy mother: What Does Jesus Mean By Such Utterance in John 19:26-27?

        The teaching of the Roman Catholic church that Jesus entrusted his physical mother as the spiritual mother of the church is unfounded in these texts. In fact, that sort of interpretation is out of context.

        Jesus entrusted his mother to the care of John (John 19:26,27).

        Jesus did not entrust his mother to his siblings/ relatives because these were still unbelievers at that moment of Christ’s crucifixion (John 7:1-5).

        Christians care for widows ( James 1:27).

        Jesus considered not only his mother’s physical needs but also his spiritual needs when he entrusted his mother to the care of John.

        Jesus did not give Mary to the church as its mother is evident in the other New Testament Scripture.

        For Paul, the church/ Jerusalem is our mother:

        But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother (Galatians 4:26). But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

        For Paul, it is not Jesus’ mother who has been a mother to him:

        Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too(Romans 16:13).

        Jesus himself refers to the church as his mother in the spiritual sense.He is telling us that blood relations are not what is important. It doesn’t matter if you are a relative of Jesus – as if that were something to boast about. . What is important is to hear the Word of God and obey.

        “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35)

        While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:27,28)


        Jesus didn’t give his mom to be the mom of his church in John 19:26,27 for the context does not permit it. In reality, the first-century church does not give any evidence that Mary functioned as a mom to the entire church.

    4. David, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are right, we need to focus on Jesus. We as Catholics focus on Jesus through Mary. We believe that by honoring her we make Jesus happy and she then in turn teaches us to focus on Him rightly. Just as she did when Elizabeth honored her. (“My heart magnifies the Lord.”) Furthermore, it was Jesus who teaches that we must judge a tree by its fruits. I have seen many good fruits come from this apparition and others.

    1. Catholics are the only Christians. Protestants are heretics that are separated from the Sacrifice of the Mass that saves us. “unless you eat my flesh you have no life in you”.

      1. Please, protestants regard Mary and call her blessed, and have respect for her, We just do not believe she is co redeemer nor do we believe she or supposed catholic saints hear our prayers!

      2. Why are you here? This is about Fatima – an appearance by Mary with a message for the faithful. Just go away. There is only one Redeemer but Mary is a Medatrix of Grace. Many miracles are associated with prayers for aid to saints. Can your family members pray fro you? Then why not those Blessed souls in heaven? We do not care what you believe – just go away. Stay with the 10,000 + sects of protestantism that have torn the Body of Christ into little pieces.

      3. No they are not. The people in heaven are all saints and they do not hear our prayers! There is nothing in the bible that proves this. I have heard Catholics say it is a mystery how they hear us, since God can hear us so can the ‘”Saints”. This is putting those in Heaven on the same playing field as God. We will never be GOD!!!!

      4. Evangelicals do not really exist as a religious group. They are just like Flip Wilson’s church of What’s Happening Now.

      5. Your church, if you have one, is just one of 10,000+ heretical devolutions from the Church founded by Christ and from which you received the New Testament.

  4. I suppose the old saying is true: “For the believer, no proof is necessary, for the unbeliever, no proof is possible”. It would seem in this instance, both halves of the adage were manifested.

      1. Sometimes things are just that simple. In fact, belief in apparitions is so personal that the Church has never proclaimed any of them as dogma that must be believed. It is an individual choice.

      2. But an interesting point is…When the Blessed Mother proclaimed to St Bernadette “I Am The Immaculate Conception” it is the Confirmation of what the Church proclaimed as Marian Dogma ….1854 The Blessed Mother is the Immaculate Conception….St Bernadette 1858.

  5. In this time of Advent seen in the light of the message of Fatima, your article brings to mind a very specific prophesy in the Bible that refers to the underlying message of Fatima. The passage I am referring to regards a “coming” of Christ which is spoken of by St. Paul that is clearly not his final coming (i.e. the last judgment). Nevertheless, given the content of the prophecy, it is an event of enormous significance in world history. This one is basically ignored even in the liturgical readings (the passage is not in the lectionary). St. Paul, just after calming his readers about any need to worry that the “day of the Lord is at hand” (2 Thess 2:2), helpfully goes on to give the signs to know when this event would take place. None of this is included in the reading (31st Sunday of Ordinary Time in year c). However, in the Bible reading, the signs of his “advent” are rather detailed. It speaks first of all a mass “apostasy” (i.e., loss of faith, apostasia in the original Greek) and the revelation of the “lawless one” who “opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship … claiming that he is a god [the rise of contemporary atheism and nihilism].” “And now you know what is restraining [the papacy], that he may be revealed … whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth [i.e. the Holy Spirit] by the manifestation of his coming” (2 Thess 2: 3-8). By the way, all of his sounds like the Fatima prophesy [Russia will be converted and my Immaculate Heart will triumph and a time of peace will be given to the world, etc.]. Interestingly, 2017 will be the first centenary of the Fatima apparitions and Pope Francis has declared that it was his desire that his pontificate be particularly under the patronage of Our Lady of Fatima – he is even planning a pilgrimage. Seriously, how could God grant a time of peace to the world without a special action of the Holy Spirit as predicted by St. Paul or “another Pentecost” as Pope John XXIII prayed for at the time of the Council? Among other things, Mary asked at Fatima for the rosary to be recited daily. Isn’t it time we listened to her?

    1. The Blessed Mother asked for Forst Saturday’s in reparation for sin.Spend 15 minutes after mass meditating on the rosary.Pope Francis has given a plenary indulgence for this year of the anniversery of the Fatima centennial.,November 27,2016 is the beginning.Interesting The year of mercy concluded November 20 and we now are preparing for Fatima 100 years!!!

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