While extraordinary events, Marian apparitions ordinarily doesn’t usually make liturgical news. But Our Lady of Fatima is considered extraordinary even among the many Marian apparitions that the Church has approved. On May 13, 1917, our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, Lucia Santo, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Martos, asking them to pray the Rosary and the teachings of her Son, Jesus Christ.
According to an April 6 report at Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), an extraordinary celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass took place on May 13, the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.
“The Vatican office which governs the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite has given priests permission to say a special Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima this year, noting the importance of the apparition’s centenary,” ETWN reports. “In an April 5 decree the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei gave permission for any priest of the Latin Rite to celebrate a votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 13, 2017—the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal.”
Since Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum in 2007, priests do not need permission to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass; however, the EWTN report explains why permission was necessary to celebrate this form of the Mass on May 13.
“The permission is significant because in the extraordinary form, May 13 is the third class feast of St. Robert Bellarmine—which means Our Lady of Fatima cannot normally be celebrated,” the ETWN report notes. “In the ordinary form, meanwhile, May 13 is already an optional memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. If a Votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart is celebrated on May 13 in the extraordinary form, it may include a commemoration of St. Robert Bellarmine, as per the rubrics of the Roman Missal of 1962.”
According to a translation of April 5 decree by Gregary DiPippo, editor of the New Liturgical Movement, the Vatican granted this special permission because, as the decree states, “many of the Christian faithful who are attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite have a particular and fervent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima” and out of a wish “to encourage the devotion of the faithful to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima.”