May 13th is to put it mildly an “interesting” day for Catholics in general and my family in particular.

In 1917 Our Lady of Fátima first appeared to three children in Portugal.

In 1981 while Pope John Paul was entering Saint Peter’s Square he was shot at close range. In great pain, the Holy Father kept repeating, “Mary, my Mother! Mary, my Mother!” I remember the day well – it was my birthday! My wife also remembers it all too well, as she was in St. Peter’s Square that day and was a witness to history!

When he briefly gained consciousness before being operated on, the Pope instructed the doctors not to remove his Brown Scapular during the operation. He stated that Our Lady of Fátima helped keep him alive throughout his ordeal.

He said later: “Could I forget that the event in St. Peter's Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fátima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.“

This painting says it all (a print hangs in our home):

Pope John Paul II and Mary