Many Catholics already know that Mary appeared to three poor children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. But did you know about the angel that visited the children before Mary?
In 1916, the year before Mary appeared to them, the poor children Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco were leading their families’ flocks out to pasture when an angel appeared to them.
“We began to see,” Lucia later wrote in her memoirs, “in the distance, above the trees that stretched to the east, a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the sun.”
The angel spoke to them: “Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.”
He and the children knelt down, and they repeated after the angel this prayer:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”
When they finished, the angel said this before vanishing: “Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.”
Another day, the same angel appeared to them a second time. Again, he exhorted them to prayer: “What are you doing? You must pray! Pray! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you. You must offer your prayers and sacrifices to God, the Most High.”
When the children asked what sacrifices they should make, the angel explained:
“In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for sinners. In this way you will bring peace to our country, for I am its guardian angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings God will send you.”
A third time, the angel appeared to them again – this time holding a bleeding Eucharistic host over a chalice. Leaving the host and chalice floating in the air, the angel knelt and led them in a new prayer:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
The angel then offered the host and chalice to the children saying, “Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Offer reparation for their sakes and console God.”
Then he vanished, never to appear again.
Little did the children know, but this angel was just the prelude to the famous Marian apparitions they would receive the following year.