As I mentioned last weekend at the end of Mass, please consider joining us for a Lenten afternoon reflection on Sunday, March 12 at the Paulding church. The theme for the reflection is: Making Prayer Come Alive! Speaker Mary Jo Parrish from Kingdom Builders in Fort Wayne will be leading our reflection. This event is free of charge to attend and is open to all. Lunch will be served immediately following the 10:30 Mass that day in the Paulding church basement. The reflection will begin at 12:30 and will conclude with a short period of Eucharistic adoration. We want this to be a family friendly event, so we are planning to have childcare available after lunch for those who would like to attend, but don’t think their little ones will be able to make it through the presentation.
As I also mentioned last weekend at the end of Mass, we stopped having our 1st Saturday Latin Masses last year when Pope Francis put restrictions on the celebration of the Latin Mass. Since that time, some parishioners have requested that we bring back the 1st Saturday Masses, but do them in English in the current form of the Mass. As such, I will now be having Mass at 8:00 A.M. on the 1st Saturday of each month in Paulding, with the first one being March 4. Please note that these Masses do not count for one’s Sunday obligation.
Although one does not need to have the intention of fulfilling the 1st Saturday devotion in order to attend a 1st Saturday Mass, it is worthwhile here to explain a little bit about the origins of the 1st Saturday devotion. Our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, five times in 1917, on the 13th of each month from May through October, but not in August. On July 13 of that year, Mary revealed to the children the now-famed secret of the Fatima apparition in three parts. In the first part of the secret, Our Lady gave the three children a brief vision of Hell and its torments. In the second part of the secret, Mary revealed to the children what would happen if devotion to her Immaculate heart spread. She also made a request that the reception of the Eucharist on the 1st Saturday of each month be offered for the reparation of sins (ours and others’) and the conversion of sinners. One of the children, Lucia, eventually became a nun and recorded Mary’s words to her and her two siblings during the second part of the secret:
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 [(World War I)] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of 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.
Since that message, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate heart of Mary gained much attention. Popes Pius XII, Paul VI, and John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate heart, but without mentioning Russia specifically. Last year, Pope Francis wanted to leave no more doubt about the matter and specifically consecrated Russia to the Immaculate heart shortly after the current war in Ukraine erupted.
With the 1st Saturday Masses now returning to our parish, we can do our part to help fulfill Our Lady’s request for us to offer Communions of reparation for ourselves and for the world. If you intend to do the Five First Saturdays devotion, the four requirements are: 1) Going to confession, 2) Receiving Communion, 3) Praying 5 decades of the rosary, and 4) 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the rosary. Typically, the 15 minutes of meditation are done in addition to the rosary. Also, sacramental confession may be done within 8 days either before or after the reception of Communion.