MANILA – A priest called on the faithful to do penance and bombard heaven with prayers, especially the Rosary to stop the deadly Covid-19 hounding mankind for over a year now.

The urgent call was made by Fr. Carlos Reyes of the Fatima Catholic Parish Church in Mandaluyong City on the 104th anniversary of the 3rd Fatima Apparition in Portugal on Tuesday.

“At that time, there was also a pandemic outbreak in Europe where tens of thousands died. In fact, among those who died were the two seers of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco,” Fr. Reyes pointed out during an exclusive interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“The world was at upheaval at that time as World War One was raging when the Blessed Mother appeared before three young shepherds – Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco – to relay to them for mankind to pray the Rosary and ask God forgiveness for our sinfulness as Russia was spreading communism,” he added.

Reyes said the Blessed Virgin Mary also asked to pray the Rosary for the conversion of Russia which Pope John Paul II did in 1984 or 67 years after the Fatima Apparitions.

He asked the Catholic faithful “to pray the Rosary daily and do penance at this crucial time of Covid-19 that continued to spread across the globe, despite the development of vaccines.”

Reyes also cited similarities the situation of the world in 1917 and at present with the spread of the Covid-19 and world peace is being threatened “because man continues to sin, offending God.”

He also said “the world is also experiencing global warming because of man’s recklessness in destroying the environment.”

“It is time to confess our sin and ask God’s forgiveness and promise not to sin again,” Reyes said.

He said the message at the Fatima Apparition more than a century ago remains the same “penance, penance, penance and pray the Holy Rosary to attain a peaceful world.”

Historical archives recorded the 3rd Fatima Apparition when the three young shepherds were granted the privilege to see hell.

“Mr. Marto, father of Jacinta and Francisco, noticed that when the third apparition began, a small grayish cloud hovered over the holm oak, the sunlight diminished, and a cool breeze blew over the mountain range, despite it being the height of summer. He also heard something like flies inside an empty jug. The seers saw the customary glare, and then Our Lady over the holm oak.

“Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?

Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for she alone can be of any avail.

“Lucia: I would like to ask you to tell us who you are and to perform a miracle so everyone will believe that Your Grace appears to us.

“Our Lady: Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I wish, and I will perform a miracle that everyone shall see so as to believe.

“Lucia then made a number of requests for conversions, cures, and other graces. Our Lady recommended the constant recitation of the rosary; thus they would obtain those graces during the year.

“Then she went on: ‘Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make a sacrifice, 'O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"

In her memoirs, Lucia said “Our Lady (the Blessed Moher) showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror. (PNA)