Provocation and Context: Hope in hard times
On the 13th of October 1917, during the First World War, thousands of people gathered in a field near the small Portuguese village of Fatima, to witness a miracle. The miracle had been foretold by three small children who had been returning to the same field on the 13th day of each month since the month of May, when they first shared their stories of an encounter with a heavenly lady who revealed herself to them as Mary the mother of Jesus.
In the months and years since that event, the reports of the miracle and of the appearances of Our Lady in Fatima spread throughout the world. The story of Fatima has played an important role for many Catholics throughout the twentieth century including Pope Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis who will travel to Portugal in May to celebrate the centenary of Fatima.
This Fatima Resource Kit has been made available to support teachers and students to encounter the great events and themes of the twentieth century and to encounter important aspects of our catholic heritage and tradition.
Further reading: article from the Auxilary Bishop of Melbourne, Bishop Peter J Elliott, ‘Celebrating the centenary of Fatima’
The draft Religious Education Curriculum Framework describes learning and teaching in Religious Education for Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The following draft material is offered as an approach that you may find useful.
Pedagogy of Encounter
The Pedagogy of Encounter diagram (see below) illustrates one way in which you, as teachers, may design learning that invites dialogue, deep thinking and engagement with the Catholic story. The diagram offers key questions in five areas that engage the voice of the learner in deep dialogue with the Catholic Tradition:
- What do I think and sense?
- What do others think and why?
- What does the Church teach and why?
- How am I called into deeper relationship with others and God?
- What do I think now and why?
In this way, it assists you, as teachers, in:
Providing a systematic and sustained engagement with Catholic beliefs and teachings… engaging students with Catholic beliefs and values without imposing these beliefs on the students… creating spaces where the students feel free to share their own understandings and viewpoints, even as they engage with the Catholic story (Sharkey 2015, p. 29).Pedagogy of Encounter Diagram
What is important to pay attention to in the student and in myself as learners? What do I intend for my students? How do life, creativity and spirituality find a place in the curriculum?
How might I recognise encounter? How might I facilitate encounter?
The following document is called a “Prayer of Consecration”. It captures many of the themes and concerns of the world during the twentieth century and in the years during and after the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. This prayer may be used as an additional or alternative provocation for senior students exploring the story of Our Lady of Fatima. Questions that might be worth asking are,
- What was going on in the world when this prayer was written?
- If you had to write this prayer of consecration today, what would you pray about?
What do I think and sense?
What do you see?
What do you think?
What do you wonder?
Begin to break open your wonderings and learn more about the various aspects of the Our Lady of Fatima tradition by watching and exploring the resources below created by Catholic Online, Fatima for Beginners and the Shrine of Fatima.
Learn about the events from Fatima Centennial
Learn more about the three shepherd children from EWTN
Learn about the narrative of the apparitions at the Shrine of Fatima
What do others think and why?
What does the Catholic Church teach and why?
Explore the Vatican document ‘Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: The Message of Fatima
Explore articles from Vatican Radio that include details of Pope Francis’ intentions for this 100th year anniversary.
‘Vatican releases schedule for Pope’s Fatima visit’ – http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/03/20/vatican_releases_schedule_for_popes_fatima_visit/1299926
‘Pope Francis remembers centenary of Fatima’ – https://www.vaticannews.va/en.html
Read the transcript from the Theology in the Pub by Bishop Peter J Elliott as he discusses Fatima: the great sign in our times.
How am I called into a deeper relationship with others and God?
The following prayer resources can be used as a way of entering into a deeper relationship with God and others.
Use this Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation resource ‘Hail Mary’ to pray in a contemporary way the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous mysteries of the rosary
Pray ‘The Stations of Mary‘. It is a visual journey focusing on the various moments in the life of Mary where she said ‘yes’ in faith and love.
- How does this experience, engaging with the story of Fatima, of prayer, celebration, reflection, theologising about the concept, call me to be more?
- How does the story of Fatima impact on my spirituality?
- How do I explore my inner voice?
- Who am I in this?
- How am I becoming conscious of a higher, deeper, more valued reality, beyond the senses?
What do I think now and why?
Having explored the story of Our Lady of Fatima, now you have an opportunity to see where you have ended up. The questions below will help you to reflect on what you have learnt and to reflect on how your thinking that has changed or shifted.
- What do I think now?
- How have I grown?
- What influences my thinking and why?
- What will I do differently now?
- What further questions does this raise for me?