It was last year that I first celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. My plan is to do most of it over again and that is what I’m really coming to love about liturgical living: creating traditions. When Candlemas rolled around this year, I got more excitement out of the fact that I would be cooking crepes and watching Mass the same way I did the year before to honor the day more so than eating the actual crepes themselves. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Our first concern with liturgical living is to put God at the center of our lives and our time. The second concern should be to emphasize each liturgical event with a tradition in a way that adds a rhythm to our lives. One that ebbs and flows throughout our lives alongside God’s Word and Gospel.
You can read more about the history of Our Lady of Fatima here. In fact, I encourage you to browse America Needs Fatima’s website and explore organizations spreading her message because it is not only needed but also a beautiful devotion to practice. Other than reading about this Marian Apparition, here are some more ideas for celebrating this beautiful Feast!
(This year, the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord falls on May 13th which means it precedes celebrating Our Lady of Fatima. It is still okay to honor her in some way this day but be sure to attend Mass as it is a Holy Day of Obligation and give proper attention to the Ascension Solemnity as it is of most importance that day!)
Go to Mass
Celebrating a feast or liturgical event is really not all that complex – even just saying a prayer that is special to that day or event is enough to be considered “liturgical living.” You really only make it as ornate as you want to! Above all else, I think the best way to celebrate a feast is to get to Mass and focus on praying more throughout the day. In the case of Our Lady of Fatima, which again falls on a Solemnity this year so we should all be going to Mass anyways – perhaps after though, spend 15 extra minutes praying in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary or praying one of your three Rosaries to make a full crown (explained next).
It’s okay if you don’t make a full-blown Portuguese meal or break out in a traditional Spanish song – going to Mass is really the best way to celebrate and thus, that is why it is number one on this list.
Pray a Full Crown of Rosaries
I used to think that a full Rosary was just five decades until I read The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort. In fact, a full Rosary is all fifteen mysteries contemplated (Glorious, Joyful, and Sorrowful). Of all days to pray a full Rosary, this might just be one of the top ones to consider doing so! One of the biggest takeaways from the story of Our Lady of Fatima is her urgency in getting us to pray the Rosary.
Pray one in the morning, one at lunchtime, and one before bed. Or, make sure to pray one at Mass this year and the other two whenever they best fit your schedule. There are videos you can follow along with, Sacred Art online you can meditate over with each mystery, or perhaps even praying with friends and family in a group – no matter how you do it, just pray a Rosary.
I still have not seen this movie yet and it is definitely something I plan on adding to my traditions for this year. It’s a small blessing that comes with living in 2021 that we have so much music, art, movies, and books that we can use to supplement Mass and prayer for liturgical celebrations! While of course it is always good to take a break from the noise and data-saturation that comes with technology, they can also be used for good and watching a movie that portrays important events in Church History is one such way to utilize modern day technology and art.
There are also many books on OLF you can read from throughout the day or perhaps, research her message and take small moments to read excerpts and pray over them. Research traditional Portuguese music and play in your car ride to work or Mass – there are many ways to dive into the universality of the Catholic Church which can make liturgical living not only fun but also very educational.
Make a Portuguese Dinner
Last year, the biggest undertaking for me was the cooking. Since we were knee-deep into lockdowns at that time, I couldn’t go to Mass BUT I did plan a big Portuguese meal to make the day feel extra special. Although this year, I’m very excited to be able to go to Mass and celebrate in the truest form. All that being said, I now have a food tradition that I hope to keep throughout my life for Our Lady of Fatima and that is Peri-Peri Chicken and Pasteis de Nata.
If you’ve ever seen the Great British Bake Off, you might know what Pasteis de Nata is – a delicious but not overly-sweet custard tart that originated from Portugal. Peri-Peri spice/sauce originates from both Portuguese and Africa and has been made famous with the global food chain, Nando’s, which is where I actually experienced it for the first time. When I was thinking of foods to make last year for the feast, I remembered going to Nando’s and was inspired to try making Peri-Peri Chicken at home. The recipes I’m using this year are below but my plan overtime is to be able to commit them to memory with my own twists so that they become me and my family’s own in a small way!
Wear A Chord Around Your Waist
Jacinta, Lucia, and Francisco, the three seers of Our Lady of Fatima, were children at the time the apparitions occurred. One of the details of their story that has always inspired me was when they felt called to tie chords around their waist as a form of penance. Ultimately, Our Lady of Fatima asked them to stop wearing the chords to bed as their sacrifices and penances had pleased the Lord and He did not want them to be in pain. That being said, wearing a chord is still a powerful form of penance. Should you choose to do this, I do urge you to do it prudently and with the proper disposition, consult a priest first if you must. Don’t make the chord so tight that you seriously injure yourself or bring attention to your discomfort. It should be tight enough that it reminds you throughout the day of what you’re doing but loose enough that you can bear to go along with your daily tasks albeit perhaps a little uncomfortably. Then, offer your private discomfort up for others (the souls in Purgatory, the unborn, for the proper consecration of Russia etc.)
I hope that you are excited to celebrate this beautiful Feast this year! Tell me in the comments what your plans are! If you’re interested in learning more about how to get started with liturgical living especially if you’re a young, single Catholic – check out my video below: