The pathway to God through the heart of His mother

By Mary Powers

“Dear Lady of Fatima, We come on bended knee, To beg your intercession, for peace and unity. Dear Mary, won’t you show us, The right and shining way…”

Such goes a traditional song to Our Lady of Fatima, a simple tune of love asking for peace in the world.

Today, we continue to search for that peace and await the final victory in the spiritual battle promised to come through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, revealing to them the importance of devotion to her Immaculate Heart — a mother’s heart, filled with love for her Son and also for all humanity. Yet, it is deeply wounded by the sins committed against God and her heart. It was a message from a mother. A request for reparations, but also prayers for peace.

In the end, she promised that her heart would be our refuge and the path that would lead us to God.

“The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is simple,” explained the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Father Mark Mazza. “It’s that Mary loves us. She is a mother. And she loves us so much that she wants us to come to her Son and live close to her Son as she did. And so she opens her heart to us.”

The artwork in the Belmont church illustrates the message of Fatima, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the way for us to live this devotion to her through the sacraments. The beautiful image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary graces the wall behind the tabernacle and faces a stained-glass window of the Fatima apparitions. Then, throughout the church are stained-glass windows of the sacraments.

In the centennial year of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 2017, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone consecrated the Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“The purpose of the consecration was to rededicate ourselves to responding to God’s call to holiness in our lives by living our vocations faithfully and well,” wrote Archbishop Cordileone in 2019, “and opening our minds and hearts to God’s grace through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In living this consecration — praying the daily rosary, frequenting the Sacrament of Penance, performing other acts of penance and praying before the Blessed Sacrament each week — we comfort our mother’s heart, answering her request at Fatima.

Mary Powers is the assistant director of communications and media relations for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.