FAQ

First Saturdays

What did Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima say God wanted?

On July 13, 1917, Our Lady told the children:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, there will be peace.… I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace (emphasis ours).

(For more information please see Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima and especially the book, Fatima and the First Saturdays.)

What has been done?

The Consecration was finally fulfilled on March 25, 1984 by Pope John Paul II and the bishops of the world.

― This opened the way for the end of the persecution in Russia as Jesus promised Sr. Lucia (May, 1930), and also for the return of religious freedom in Russia. Many other countries in Eastern Europe have shared in these blessings as well.

―This was the 1st of 2 phases toward Russia’s conversion, which is yet to come.

Very few have fulfilled our Lady’s wish for the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays.

―The fulfillment of this wish is what will bring about conversion and peace.

 The following are words from Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily at Fatima:

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete…May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity (May 13, 2010).

What is the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays? (also known as the First Saturdays or First Saturdays devotion)

On December 10, 1925, the Child Jesus and Mary came to Sr. Lucia to explain how one can fulfill the request for the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. Jesus spoke first saying:

Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.” Then the most holy Virgin said, “My daughter, look at My Heart surrounded with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it 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 mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.(Emphasis ours).

What are the two promises made by Our Lady in regard to the First Saturdays?

The first promise in regard to the First Saturdays was made on July 13, 1917. Our Lady promised the salvation of souls, and a period of peace, together with the conversion of Russia if we fulfill her two wishes. One wish remains to be fulfilled, the First Saturdays. The first promise requires that we persevere in making the First Saturdays and is not limited to making 5 consecutive First Saturdays. This first promise also requires that a large number of people fulfill the First Saturdays. In this way, we may help repair the damage done by the sins of the world and in particular against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In this way also, we help remove what prohibits an outpouring of graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In this ongoing practice of the First Saturdays, we greatly benefit our neighbor as well as ourselves.

On December 10, 1925, Our Lady made a 2nd promise of salvation for each one who makes the five First Saturdays (See the bold print in the previous question.). This 2nd promise presupposes that we are already aware of the first promise. In time we should come to realize that the love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is our greatest motivation for practicing this devotion.

Why are there 5 First Saturdays?

There are 5 First Saturdays because, as Jesus told Sr. Lucia (May, 1930), there are 5 kinds of offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

  1. 1. Against the Immaculate Conception of Mary
  2. 2. Against Mary’s Virginity
  3. 3. Against Mary’s Divine Maternity and her Motherhood of all mankind
  4. 4. Turning children against Mary as their heavenly Mother
  5. 5. Against Mary’s Sacred Images

Why is it important to try to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

Reparation to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is an act of love and an act of justice, which repairs the harm done by sin. As mentioned above, the Child Jesus said, “have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.” We can remove these thorns with acts of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary not only for our own sins but also for the sins of others, so that we may receive grace and mercy poured out by the Holy Spirit. For a more detailed explanation please see The Communal First Saturdays book.

What if I start the First Saturdays devotion one month and cannot complete it the next month?

You would need to restart the following month in order to make five consecutive First Saturdays. However, even though the one or more months would not count toward the fulfillment of the five consecutive First Saturdays, they are still of great value. No love for Jesus and Mary is ever without value. The discipline of making five consecutive First Saturdays provides a foundation for a habit of attending Mass on a regular basis apart from our Sunday obligation. Of course, our practice of the First Saturdays is not acceptable if we fail to practice our Sunday obligation. The First Saturdays also helps us to form a habit of going to Confession regularly.

What if I forget to fulfill one of the practices of the First Saturdays?

All the practices are necessary to complete the First Saturdays devotion. This includes the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for each of the four practices. If you forget one practice and the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you should start again on the next First Saturday for 5 consecutive First Saturdays. Again nothing that we do for Jesus and Mary is without value. With their help, we can persevere with patience.

How do I keep Our Lady company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

You can fulfill Our Lady’s request for this meditation any time on the First Saturdays. If possible, a special time to do this is immediately after Holy Mass in which we received Jesus in Holy Communion. St. Teresa of Avila recommended using a spiritual book as a starting point for meditation. St. Therese of Lisieux told us that her favorite reading was the Gospels. In the spirit of the Magisterial document, Verbum Domini, we recommend the ancient practice of lectio divina as a method of reading and pondering those Holy Scriptures related to the mysteries of the Rosary while keeping Our Blessed Mother company. Materials are available that include a handy collection of those Scriptures related to all twenty mysteries of the Rosary. These materials also show one how to use the lectio divina in meditating on the mysteries. For more information, please see The Communal First Saturdays book and The Communal First Saturdays Devotional book. At the very least, one might simply call to mind any of the mysteries of the Rosary and ponder them in Our Lady’s company.

Is it alright to meditate on any of the mysteries of the Rosary that one wishes?

There are no requirements as to which mysteries one chooses to meditate on in fulfilling the First Saturdays. It would be helpful to plan on covering all of the mysteries over a period of months.

What if I cannot go to Confession on the First Saturday?

Confession is the one requirement that Jesus said can be completed even more than eight days from the First Saturday, “provided that when they receive Me, they are in the state of grace and have the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” (Jesus to Sr. Lucia, February 15, 1926, Fatima in Lucia’s own words, Appendix I, trans. Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, 1976, p. 192). Jesus does not specify the number of days that one should go to Confession before or after receiving Him, but we can understand His words to mean that one should go to Confession on some day at least once a month for each First Saturday. This would be consistent with the Church’s present rule for gaining a plenary indulgence, which says Confession may be within 20 days before or after receiving Holy Communion and performing the prescribed work (Manuel of Indulgences, n. 5, 2006).

To fulfill the request for each First Saturday, the faithful need to go to Confession with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If the faithful forget to make this intention, Jesus said, “They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of the first opportunity to go to confession” (Jesus to Sr. Lucia, February 15, 1926, Fatima in Lucia’s own words, Appendix I, trans. Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, 1976, p. 192).

What are the four practices that I need to remember to do with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

Remember

In order to fulfill the First Saturdays Devotion, on five consecutive First Saturdays or even more, the following 4 separate actions must be completed with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1. Go to Confession with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

2. Pray the Rosary (5 decades) with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

3. Receive Holy Communion with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

4. Keep our Lady company for an additional 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Communal First Saturdays

What is the Communal First Saturdays?

The Communal First Saturdays is a monthly scheduled parish service in which the faithful can join together in the four practices requested by Our Lady in reparation to her Immaculate Heart (December 10, 1925). Confessions are available before Mass. The opening prayers and the recitation of the Rosary precede Mass which includes the Communion of reparation. The Mass is followed by keeping Our Lord and Our Lady company while meditating communally for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary. This is done in the form of lectio divina and using Scripture related to the mysteries of the Rosary. A book is used by the faithful to follow the service. Again, all of the four practices are done with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the end of the service, the Brown Scapular is made available and is received as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For more information, please see the Communal First Saturdays tab,  The Communal First Saturdays book, and The Communal First Saturdays pamphlet.

Why do we need the Communal First Saturdays?

The communal form of the First Saturdays make it possible for a much larger number of people to fulfill Our Lord and Our Lady’s request. This communal celebration of the First Saturdays offers an easier way for people to fulfill the conditions of the First Saturdays. Also, the communal celebration offers a more visible witness to the importance of making the First Saturdays, not only for five First Saturdays, but also on a continual basis. In this way, we can obtain the graces of conversion for others and ourselves in greater measure, and so help to bring about a period of peace and the salvation of souls.

Also, Jesus implied that our prayer has greater power when we gather together with others (Mt. 18:19-20). One great benefit of the Communal First Saturdays is that we place the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus in the midst of Mary. We find Mary before, during, and after the Holy Mass. By our consciousness of Mary, before, during, and after the Holy Mass, more of the infinite love and power of the Holy Eucharist can be released to us because Mary is Jesus’ channel of grace.

For a more detailed explanation, please see The Communal First Saturdays book.

How do I start a Communal First Saturdays in my parish?

To start the Communal First Saturdays, please see the Starting the Communal First Saturdays in the Parish pamphlet and/or the CFSA Starter’s Kit, both available on the online store.

Pro-Life Activity & the First Saturdays

Does pro-life activity need the First Saturdays devotion?

It is only by the grace of the Holy Spirit that this fallen nature is healed of sin. This healing by grace can only be received by those who are disposed to worship God and most especially through the truth of the Catholic religion. Grace builds on nature and enables our intellects to reason more clearly and profoundly about such things as the natural law with the help of revealed truth. In addition, grace provides us with the many virtues necessary to carry out the difficult struggle for life. “If the Lord does not build the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Ps. 127:1).

Thus to engage in the struggle, we need to ponder the truths of our Faith, and we need the grace of the Holy Spirit to sustain and carry us through to the end. As we saw above, the First Saturdays joins together powerful forms of liturgy and devotion in which we ponder the truth and by which we obtain the grace of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the First Saturdays was one of the two special requests of Our Lady at Fatima, mentioned above. The first request was already fulfilled by Pope John Paul II, when in union with the bishops of the world, he consecrated the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984. Our Lady said that the fulfillment of both requests will lead to the salvation of souls and a period of peace in the world. Peace cannot be separated from the achievement of justice in the world, and justice cannot be separated from the securing of the right to life in the world. The words of Our Lady on July 13, 1917 imply that successful pro-life activity is a key outcome of the First Saturdays, when the reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary outweighs the offenses against her. It is important to note that it is presupposed that reparation is always offered first to God and His Most Sacred Heart and that He is the end of all reparation. We should remember that sins which offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary offend God more than her and require reparation. As a result of this reparation, the necessary justice will be achieved as a condition for bringing forth those graces of the Holy Spirit that will enable pro-life activity to more perfectly protect human life.

In the Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II said,

 “… a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer” (n. 100).

It would seem that the time has come to recognize that the First Saturdays devotion can effectively provide the pro-life movement with the torch to set the “great prayer for life” ablaze as called for by Pope John Paul II.

Are there specific ways that pro-life activity needs the First Saturdays devotion?

We have seen above what the First Saturdays is and what it includes. Our Lady asked for four religious actions to be done in reparation to her Immaculate Heart.  These are Confession, reception of the Communion of reparation, praying the Rosary, and a separate 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary in Our Lady’s company. Each of these four practices needs to be done for the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Each of these practices is a help to pro-life activity.

Yet, bringing these practices together for the First Saturdays is especially efficacious. We are prepared to receive the Holy Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of Penance. Through the word of truth that is pondered in the Rosary, we are disposed to receive grace at its very source in the Holy Eucharist and to benefit from the continued presence of the Holy Eucharist by the additional meditation after Mass.

Our Lady knows what is the most efficacious way for us to be disposed to the reception of her Son in the Holy Eucharist. All four practices joined together in the First Saturdays for the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary prepare us for a daily spirituality, for the work of evangelization, and, in particular, for the defense of human life.

Does pro-life activity include reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

The triumph of the pro-life movement over the culture of death cannot be achieved by merely human effort. Neither is the culture of death sustained by merely human effort. Satan and his demons seek to attack God Himself. Yet they cannot do this directly. They cannot harm God Himself directly. Yet they do seek to do so through an attack on God’s creation. This is done primarily by attacking the image and likeness of God found in man and woman. One way this is done is by attacking the community of life and love based on marriage, the family- father, mother, and child-, an image of the Holy Trinity. The use of abortion and contraception are some of the particular ways in which this attack is done. Still, people might be against abortion but not against contraception, which in many cases involves the use of an abortifacient. As an abortifacient, the use of the “contraceptive” is an even more serious sin than contraception. While human beings may have their own motives for doing these evil acts, the devil has the ultimate evil motive of attacking God. We must recognize that we are in spiritual warfare against the forces of evil, and victory cannot be achieved without the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, while we are striving for a law against abortion, more is necessary. God is offended by injustice against human life. Reparation to God and even to the victims is necessary to restore justice. We can all help make reparation to God and the innocent for these serious offenses against life. Thus our prayers and works can be offered to God for this purpose. Only when, by the grace and mercy of God, a  sufficient reparation has been made for these offenses can we obtain the graces necessary for the conversion of a sufficient number of sinners to bring a new era of peace and a culture of life.

Yet, why is it necessary to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, especially through the First Saturdays? From a pro-life perspective, the sin of abortion is not only an injustice against God and the innocent child but also an injustice against motherhood and fatherhood. Support for abortion implies that motherhood and fatherhood are of little importance, and that the responsibilities that come with the conception of a child can be ignored. How do these views and what results call for reparation to Our Lady?

Our Lady is the model and mother of all mothers. Mary is our Mother. Jesus gave her to us as a gift from the Cross. Are we insensitive to the abuse our Mother has suffered? How we treat the Blessed Mother has a tremendous effect on how we regard motherhood and even fatherhood. Our Lord told Sr. Lucia that there were five reasons for the five First Saturdays, among these were to make reparation for sins against Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, her Virginity, and her Motherhood of God and humankind. Making reparation for the sins against Mary’s Immaculate Conception would obtain the graces necessary for people to hold human conception as sacred. Making reparation for the sins against Our Lady’s Virginity would obtain the graces necessary for people to value virginity and purity in all forms, and so eliminate those sins that lead to abortion. Making reparation for sins against Mary’s Motherhood would gain the graces necessary to restore motherhood to its proper place in society.

Reparation to Our Lady is not merely an arbitrary devotion but one that is required by justice. Without such reparation, we cannot expect to achieve a culture of life. While reparation is necessary, we are not saying everyone is required to practice the First Saturdays to be saved but this devotion will be of great help in making the reparation required by justice.

Does the sacrament of Reconciliation foster pro-life activity and act as a healing remedy for sins against life?

The first of the four means mentioned by Our Lady for making reparation to Her Immaculate Heart on the First Saturdays is the sacrament of Penance (Confession or Reconciliation). Jesus instituted this sacrament after His Resurrection primarily as the ordinary means for the forgiveness of serious sins as well as a regular help for our spiritual development including the confession of venial sins. The reception of the Eucharist requires that we approach Jesus without being conscious of mortal sin.

All sins, mortal or venial, contribute in some way to sins against life. All sins present an obstacle to God’s flow of grace to us. Authentic service of life requires the grace of the Holy Spirit. Thus all of us are able to benefit the lives of the innocent by receiving the sacrament of Penance.

Is the Eucharist required for the victory of the pro-life movement?

“Unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood, you cannot have Life in you” (Jn. 6:53). As a sacrament, the Holy Eucharist communicates sanctifying grace to us without which we cannot be saved. The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our life (LG 11). Everything we do in the First Saturdays is ordered to the Holy Eucharist. Even the intention of the First Saturdays, namely, reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is able to be a condition, which enables us to be joined more closely to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Participation in the Holy Eucharist, as the “source and summit” of our life, is necessary to acquire the grace that will help us to conquer the culture of death. Yet, Our Lady wishes that we prepare and dispose ourselves to receive her Son in a more efficacious way with the help of the First Saturdays practiced by a sufficient number of the faithfulIn this way, the victory will be obtained.

Is the Rosary a pro-life prayer?

The Rosary is said to have a body and a soul. The vocal prayers serve as the body of the prayer. Among those prayers is the Hail Mary. This prayer deeply impresses upon us that the fruit of Mary’s womb is blessed. This prayer shows that Jesus in the womb requires our praise, and because Jesus is God, this praise is worship. This prayer also helps us to regard all those in the womb with great respect.

The soul of the prayer is the meditation on the mysteries. We begin the Rosary with the meditation on the Annunciation of the angel to Mary. Mary believed in Jesus as He was proclaimed by the Angel Gabriel and so the Catholic Faith began. Mary conceived Jesus in her Heart. Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb. God became man.

In addition, Our Lady’s first work of mercy, following the conception of Jesus described in the Gospel, was to visit her kinswoman who also conceived a child. Our Lady shows us how special it is to minister to women who are with child.

Finally, meditation on all the mysteries of the Rosary strengthens our respect for life. For example, we see the need for respect for life not only in the Joyful Mysteries but also by Our Lord preaching a Gospel of Life in the Luminous Mysteries, suffering the attack on Life in the Sorrowful Mysteries, and finally raising up His Life in the Glorious Mysteries.

Does the separate 15 minute meditation benefit praying the Rosary?

Spending 15 minutes in Our Lady’s company to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary without the vocal prayers helps us to strengthen our ability to meditate. We find then that even when we say the Rosary in the ordinary way, we can meditate better on the mysteries. The better we meditate on the Rosary, the more we will reverence the sacredness of human life from conception to death. The use of Scripture and the lectio divina as a method for meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary is highly recommended. For a more detailed explanation, please see The Communal First Saturdays book.