The Portland Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima, also known as the Blue Army, on May 14 commemorated the organization’s founding 75 years ago by New Jersey priest Father Harold Colgan and layman John Haffert. Both men were concerned with spreading the message given to three Portuguese children in 1917 by the Blessed Mother.

With St. Stephen Parish in Southeast Portland as host, the apostolate welcomed about 80 persons. Guests listened to a talk by Father Eric Andersen, who spoke about Sister Lucia, one of the three seers who received a series of apparitions and messages calling for prayer, penance and repentance from May 13 to Oct. 13, 1917.

The morning included a Holy Hour and Mass in the extraordinary form, rosary and confessions, as well as a continental breakfast. Father Andersen mentioned in his talk that, as important as the rosary is in the message of Fatima, Sister Lucia taught that fulfilling one’s daily duty, according to one’s state in life — sanctifying these efforts by offering them up to God in reparation for sins — is the central focus of the Fatima message. Father Andersen explained that a principal aid given to facilitate the sanctification of one’s daily duty is, however, the rosary, according to Sister Lucia.

The apostolate wants to promote another devotion associated with the message of Fatima, the signing of the Fatima Pledge. The pledge calls for four commitments: praying the rosary daily, wearing the brown (Carmelite) scapular as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, offering up the sacrifices demanded by one’s daily duty, and practicing first Saturday devotion. The last of the four commitments calls for receiving Communion on five first Saturdays of the month in a row, going to confession (within the week), reciting the rosary, and meditating on the mysteries of the rosary for 15 minutes.

To make the pledge, go to Bluearmy.com/pledge or call 908-689-1700, ext. 233.

In an article in Soul Magazine, a publication of the Apostolate, Barb Ernster wrote that the apostolate invites a new generation to step up and answer the call of Our Blessed Mother and sign the pledge formulated by John Haffert and Sister Lucia so that peace in the world and in everyone’s lives may be achieved through conversion from sin and turning to the Gospels. The article explains that the World Apostolate of Fatima, canonically established as a public international association of the faithful, calls all Catholics to be “an army on its knees in prayer, with hearts open to the heart of our heavenly Mother.”