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UNITED NATIONS (CNS) -- The message of peace Mary gave to three shepherd children 100 years ago at Fatima, Portugal, is still timely and urgent in 2017 and is an ongoing reminder that flashes of the divine are revealed in unexpected places, according to speakers at a May 12 U.N. panel.
Before an audience of more than 600 people, speakers explored the peacemaking roles of women, children and religious leaders at the event organized by the Holy See Mission to the United Nations.
Between May 13, 1917, and Oct. 13, 1917, Mary appeared on six occasions in a field to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, siblings Francisco and Jacinto Marto, who are now saints.
Ambassador Alvaro Mendonca Moura, permanent representative of Portugal to the United Nations, noted that the Marian apparitions were met with understandable doubt and active resistance in 1917. But he said today Fatima is a central element of reverence for Portuguese Catholics, an inescapable element of Portuguese identity and an international gathering place for people looking for answers to personal existential questions.
Mendoca said at Fatima a woman brought the message of peace that was addressed to children. At the United Nations, there is a growing understanding of the peacemaking role of women, he said, and world leaders must guarantee that children grow up in safety and are allowed to become peacemakers.