The First Saturdays devotion answers Fatima call for reparation

By Donal Anthony Foley –

The First Saturdays devotion, which the Blessed Virgin expounded at Fatima in July 1917 to the three seers, and later fully explained to Sister Lucia in December 1925, could almost be described as one of the “forgotten,” or at least “neglected,” parts of the Fatima message. Most Catholics are familiar with the Rosary and with devotion to Our Lady in general, but if you mention the First Saturdays devotion of reparation, quite often the response is a puzzled look. Even when it has been explained, people still don’t appreciate its importance – but it is so vital that we have to make the effort to do that.

The First Saturdays devotion really comes under the heading of “reparation” as far as the Fatima message is concerned, and is closely linked to devotion to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Reparation – the idea that we should make up for our own and other’s sins – is not a popular idea nowadays, but since it received so much emphasis at Fatima, it should not be ignored.

More concretely, this is what the Blessed Virgin actually said to Lucia in June 1917: “Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by me to adorn his throne.”

A point worth noticing is that this devotion is clearly very dear to Our Lord – it’s something He wishes, something He desires.

And likewise, reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is something required by God, as Our Lord himself revealed to Sister Lucia in Pontevedra in 1925, when He appeared as a young child to the postulant and said: “Have compassion on the heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”

Then Our Lady herself spoke to Lucia, saying, “My daughter, look at my Heart surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

The reward promised here is quite incredible in terms of its value – the grace of final perseverance and the eventual assurance of heaven. In fact, we are talking about something of infinite value. And all that for the small inconvenience of taking part in the First Saturdays devotion – an hour and a half a month – for five months.

A further incentive for making this devotion, and continuing to make it after we have done it once for ourselves, is that by doing this we will be helping to bring about the conversion of Russia and eventual world peace.

We know this because Our Lady came back in 1929 to visit Sister Lucia and said, “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops in the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”

And since she had mentioned the First Saturdays and the consecration of Russia as things she would come back to ask for during her July 1917 apparition, we know they are closely linked.

The problem is that Catholics in general aren’t aware of this important link and of the power and efficacy of the First Saturdays devotion.

As long ago as August 1971, at a Blue Army international seminar on the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Fatima, the future Cardinal Ciappi, OP, a papal theologian, spoke of the need to recognize the “timeliness and alas, the tragic actuality of the reparation demanded at Fatima … for offenses committed towards the person of the Immaculate Heart transpierced on Calvary.”

The then Father Ciappi, went on to lament the “Doubts cast upon the Immaculate Conception, the perpetual virginity, [and] the divine and spiritual maternity of Mary, as well as a too-frequent rejection of her images and even her displacement from the hearts of children in catechism, [all of which] constitute an offense of extreme seriousness to God.”

So the situation was bad 46 years ago, and has only grown much worse in the intervening period.

An example of how bad things were, though, even then, is the aftermath of the attack on Michelangelo’s Pieta, the famous sculpture of Our Lady holding her dead Son – which is in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome – and which took place on May 21, 1972. An unbalanced individual struck the sculpture with a geologist’s hammer, causing major damage to the statue. Shortly after this, a dozen of the foremost artists at the Biennal of Venice, an international art exhibition, requested that the festival’s top prize be awarded to the person who attacked the Pieta.

So nearly 50 years ago one of the most important statues of Our Lady in the world was regarded with disdain by the artistic elite, an example of one of the offenses which Our Lord complained about to Sister Lucia when He explained to her that there are Five First Saturdays because of the five types of offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as outlined by Father Ciappi above.

The situation has grown far worse over the last half century and we now witnessing an unprecedented decline in public morality at all levels of society. The only thing that can save our civilization from its own self-destructive tendencies is a return to solid belief in God – and an important part of that belief has been reiterated for our times through the message of Fatima.

And so it is up to us, who are aware of the importance of Fatima and the First Saturdays devotion, to do everything in our power to let our fellow believers, and the world in general, know about them.

Check out our materials on First Saturday devotions
to help you get started in doing the devotion.


Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, including Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World, and maintains a related web site at 


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