Have you been looking to do something important with your life? Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima has a request to make of you!
Hear all about it when EWTN’s Jim and Joy interview Katrina Leyden, PhD, President and Co-Founder of the Communal First Saturdays Apostolate. The program airs Part at 1 p.m. ET, Wednesday, May 2, and Part 2 at Friday, May 4 – just in time for the May First Saturdays Devotion.
So why should you tune in and what do you need to know about this? A little over 100 years ago, Our Lady told the three Fatima seers:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, there will be peace….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 fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.”
St. John Paul II and the bishops fulfilled Our Lady of Fatima’s first request to consecrate Russia and the world to her Immaculate Heart on March 25, 1984. However, her second request, the First Saturdays Devotion, has not been fulfilled on a widespread basis. Therefore, the conversion of Russia, which includes the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church, has not yet been realized, peace has not come to the world, and many souls are perishing!
Unfortunately, many people either don’t know about Our Lady’s second request – the fulfillment of the First Saturdays devotion – or they aren’t fulfilling it correctly.
Here’s where the importance of this apostolate becomes apparent! Thanks to the imprimatur of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, this apostolate is “the first canonically approved public First Saturdays devotion joined to the Liturgy.” This means that the First Saturdays Apostolate takes the private practice of the First Saturdays devotion and provides a liturgically approved way to pray this in common with other parishioners, in an expanded manner before, during, and after Mass.
While you can certainly practice this devotion in private, Leyden hopes that you will consider making this available to a wider audience by joining the Apostolate, becoming a leader, and starting this devotion in your own parish – with the approval of your pastor, of course. Fortunately, materials on the Apostolate’s website, www.Communalfirstsaturdays.org, make what could be perceived as a daunting task extremely easy!
Currently, the Communal First Saturdays Apostolate boasts six U.S. locations (including a Houston nursing home), and one in the U.K. (Wales). Leyden is also excited to see that someone in Nigeria just signed up, and she is fielding requests from Ireland and London – but obviously there is room for growth and leaders are needed! (Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and time-saving materials.)
“I was blessed to go to Fatima in 2008,” said Leyden, in explaining how all of this came about. “It was an unplanned trip. I went there, and prayed for others, but I didn’t know what to pray for myself. When I came back, a friend said ‘What about starting the First Saturdays devotion?’ My heart was on fire and it hasn’t stopped since. I wanted to spread it – whatever I could do!”
Leyden began to research the devotion, reading everything she could get her hands on, including Church documents and talking to anyone who would listen. She discovered there are a lot of misconceptions about the devotion. For example, some people think if they simply attend Mass on the First Saturdays that they have fulfilled Our Lady’s requests.
As many EWTN viewers may know, there are four practices we need to complete on each of five First Saturdays – all with the same intention: We are asked to:
- Go to Confession with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Receive Holy Communion with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Pray the rosary (five decades) with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Keep Our Lady company for an additional 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The difference with the Communal First Saturdays is that the above becomes a PUBLIC devotion done in conjunction with the celebration of Mass. We outline the steps below, but don’t be intimidated. Leyden says the whole devotion, including the Mass, takes less than two hours a month.
Preparation begins with individual confessions, which are offered in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Just before the rosary begins, there is short period of prayer in which the requested intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is expressed stated, and various Fatima prayers and a litany to the patron saints of the devotion are said. This is followed by a communal rosary, and Mass with a Communion of Reparation (communion may be brought to the sick and homebound).
Finally, there is a 15-minute meditation on those Scriptures which pertain to two or more mysteries of the rosary. This is an especially fruitful time to meditate on mysteries of the rosary because the faithful have just received the Eucharist. The leader reads a verse or more of Scripture at a time with pauses for reflection, which makes this a communal form of lectio divina.
Optional additions to this devotion are the reception of the Brown Scapular after the devotions, and/or participation in the Pilgrim Virgin Statue Church to Home Visitation. “Our Lady has two goals with the visitation,” Leydon said. “One is to establish the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home. The second is enthronement of the Sacred Heart.”
The mission of the Communal First Saturdays Apostolate is “to spread the Communal First Saturdays order and devotion in parishes, shrines, and other Catholic venues to fulfil Our Lady’s requests for the salvation of souls and peace in the world,” Leyden said. People tell Leyden that in parishes where this practice is instituted, grace abounds!
A pamphlet with 29 reasons to practice the Communal First Saturdays devotion (which can be purchased on the group’s home page, https://communalfirstsaturdays.org) notes that the Communal First Saturdays devotion “enables one to practice the entire Fatima message” and “makes it possible for a larger number of people to participate due to increased awareness by the parishioners.” And because it’s a public prayer, it also makes it possible for each individual’s prayers to have greater reparatory power. After all, Jesus said: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt. 20:18).”
No matter what you have done in your life, who wouldn’t want to stand before the Throne of God on Judgement Day knowing that you helped to save a multitude of souls and to bring about peace on earth? As Mother Angelica always said, “We are all called to be great saints.”
Here’s an opportunity!
Note: You can purchase the two main texts of this devotion at www.ewtnrc.com. The Communal First Saturdays is available at http://bit.ly/2FuaZKT, while “Fatima and the First Saturdays” can be found at http://bit.ly/2I9i1Ke.