By Tom Quiner
Three children saw something that changed the world. The year was 1917.
It took place in Portugal on May 13th at 5PM. Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were stopped in their tracks by the mystical appearance of a beautiful woman.
Here’s how Lucia described the woman:
She was “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”
The woman appeared to them again on June 13th. And again on July 13th. Word was getting out about the mysterious woman, and thousands of people began to flock to the area.
The communist authorities attempted to stop all of this nonsense by jailing the children on August 13th. But the Woman appreared to them instead on August 19th upon their release from jail.
The children claimed “the Lady,” as they called her, entrusted them with three secrets. The first involved a vision of Hell. The second gave instructions on how to save people from Hell.
The third remained a secret until the year 2000.
The day was May 13th.
The time was 5PM.
The year was 1981.
Pope John Paul II made his way through St. Peter Square in an open air vehicle. A man approached the pontiff, raised a gun and fired at point blank range.
Five, maybe six shots were heard. The Pope was hit.
His internal injuries were severe. He was bleeding internally. In fact, he lost most of his blood.
He was near death. In fact, he should have died.
But he lived.
It was a miracle he lived. Upon gaining consciousness, the Pope recalled the significance of the date and time, 64 years to the second that the Lady had appreared to those three children in Fatima, Portugal.
And he thought about the significance of the yet unrevealed “3rd secret.” What was the secret? That a “Bishop dressed in white” would be shot and killed.
But John Paul II lived. He credited the Lady with deflecting the bullet just enough to spare his life.
Today is the 36th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. I marvel at the events of 1981 and contrast them with the events of 1968.
I was in 9th grade when Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis. And then two short months later, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed.
It seemed as if our country was falling apart.
In 1981, I was married and just a week away from becoming a father for the first time when a gunman shot President Ronald Reagan.
The President almost died. By all accounts, he should have died. His injuries were grave.
Six weeks later, Pope John Paul II was shot and almost died.
Two men with the potential to change the world were shot and died in 1968.
Two men with the potential to change the world were shot and lived in 1981.
Why did events go so differently in 1981? Was it divine intervention?
Did this mysterious Lady from Fatima somehow intercede in a supernatural way to allow President Reagan and Pope John Paul II to fulfill their destiny, to meet and join forces to defeat communism?
You be the judge.
The Pope was presented with the bullet doctors removed from his body. He held it in his hand, turned it and studied it from every direction.
What did he do with it? He had it mounted in the crown of the statue of the Lady of Fatima, the Blessed Mother of Christ.
The Pope was devoted to the Blessed Mother. He asked for her prayers of intercession daily.
I juxtapose the events of 1917, 1968, and 1981 as one of life’s many mysteries.
By Tom Quiner Was it simply greed? Did Judas betray Jesus for the 30 pieces of silver? Here’s what St. Matthew (26: 14-16) says about the betrayal: Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’…
How can you make a return to the Lord? Is there anyway you can actually ‘payback’ the Lord for all the good he has done for you? Think about it: everything you have is a gift from God: your family, your friends, shelter, food … everything. What can you possibly do to pay Him back?…
Have you ever wondered what your last words will be? Leonardo da Vinci’s focused on what he didn’t get done: “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” Actor Humphrey Bogart was flip: “I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.” Atheist Karl Marx was…
It’s hard to believe Psalm 22 was written a millennium before Jesus was nailed to the cross. This messianic psalm, which describes the travails of David, surely prefigures Christ. In a way, it is reminiscent of Psalm 51 which opens our Lenten season with Ash Wednesday, just as Psalm 22 is sung on Palm Sunday,…
“Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord.” The psalmist might allude to drowning in the depths of dark, cold water in this line from Psalm 130. Or he might allude to life’s addictions and sins that separate us from God. Whatever the depth of our suffering, our soul is hardwired by God…
In a hit list of psalms, this exquisite example of sacred literature, Psalm 23, is surely at the top of the list. The psalmist expresses a timeless level of wisdom in this gem. Modern man thinks he is so much smarter than ancient man. It is true that we know more stuff thanks to the…
This is a psalm of praise. It suggests that, for starters, we need to be attentive, to open our hearts to God and listen for Him, our Father. We live in a noisy world with non-stop distractions. When we slow down and quiet our soul, He comes to us. And when he whispers His lovely…
[Lenten psalms are powerful prayers. Tom Quiner, composer of THE FIRE AND THE MERCY, The Pentecost Musical, has set over 100 psalms to music, including all of the psalms included in the Catholic lectionary for this Lenten cycle. This blog will post his commentaries on each of these psalms throughout Lent.] Are the ‘baseball gods’…
By Tom Quiner Integrating God and faith into movies doesn’t always work. Sometimes, directors who are ardent believers try so hard to convey their fervor that the audience feels like they’ve been clubbed over the head. Other times, a director of little or no faith is able to convey a timeless story of faith with…
Testimonials from past performance.
“The Wedding at Cana is a first class production from start to finish. I enjoyed it so very much that I went for "seconds" and attended it again. I highly recommend it to everyone, as a "must see." BOB WEAST, Professor Emeritus, Drake University
“I just wanted to say thanks so much for putting together a great show! Gabriel and I really enjoyed it, and it was a great gift to the diocese. ADAMA STOREY, MARRIAGE & FAMILY LIFE OFFICE DIRECTOR, DIOCESE OF DES MOINES
“The concert ‘Cana’ was a spiritually uplifting event for all of us. The reviews were raves. Thanks for answering God’s call to use the arts to proclaim the Splendor of Truth. MONSIGNOR FRANK CHIODO
"The show was lively, very expressive cast. Beautiful music. Fabulous voices … and a great experience of faith. The dinner really dressed up the evening & enhanced the role of the audience." FRANCIS J. COLELLA
"What a powerful production. I had no idea that I was in for such a professional evening of entertainment. I had no idea how touching it would be to see this story performed." ANN & JOE JEFFRIES
"We were privileged at St. Francis of Assisi Parish to host the premier performance of “The Wedding at Cana.” The staging was a unique and fresh perspective on Jesus’ first miracle. The mixture of song and Scripture was reminiscent of the way Scripture would have been presented by wandering troubadours to excite people and encourage them to believe the Gospel. This presentation of the Wedding at Cana successfully married the Gospel and entertainment. We were pleased to host this performance." FR. RAY McHENRY
"What an incredibly talented group of vocalists!" SUE PONDER
"Really, really impressive & well done! Professional throughout. The cast was enthusiastic and so good. I did not know there was a group of Catholics doing this and encourage you to continue." JOE GRAZIANO
"It was done beautifully. Mary was so beautiful! Singing was impressive!" GARY & BERNICE DALBEY
"A wonderful expression of Christ's first miracle. Wonderful voices with so much power. It was the Bible set to music by great voices." DARLENE TURSI
"Our parish came together for food fellowship and a live meditation on the gospel narrative of the wedding feast at Cana. It was prayerful as well as entertaining. We enjoyed the music as well as the narrative. It was as though we were having a group Ignatian meditation in which we were ourselves involved with Jesus and Mary at the wedding feast. It brings the gospel alive. In a way it was unforgettable since I could never again read that passage without thinking of the enactment of the passage in our hall, a great moment to evangelize ourselves as well as visitors. Well-supported by the parish, in fact we packed our parish hall. A great beginning for the Lenten season." MONSIGNOR FRANK BOGNANNO