First Saturday Devotions
|A series of articles on|
|Dogmas and doctrines|
|Expressions of devotion|
|Key Marian apparitions|
The First Saturdays Devotion (or Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Blessed Virgin Mary) is a Catholic practice which, according to the visionaries, has been requested by the Virgin Mary in several visitations, notably Our Lady of Fátima and the subsequent Pontevedra apparitions. This devotion, and the Marian apparitions, have been officially embraced by the Roman Catholic Church.
The devotion fits on the Catholic tradition to venerate the Virgin Mary particularly on Saturdays, which originated in the scriptural account that, as the Mother of Jesus Christ, her heart was to be pierced with a sword, as prophesied during the presentation of Jesus in the temple; such sword was the bitter sorrow during the Crucifixion of Jesus (which Catholic devotees understand as the union of the Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- see Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Apparitions). Such sorrow is particularly bitterly endured on Holy Saturday after Jesus was placed on the Sepulcher (before the Resurrection on Easter). Devotees of Fátima believe that the First Saturdays help to console the sorrows of God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary for the sins against Her Immaculate Heart.
The Act of Reparation
When Lúcia Santos experienced the Pontevedra apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she heard her promise to grant great graces, especially at the hour of death, in particular the salvation of the soul, for the believer who for Five Consecutive First Saturdays of Month (5 Saturdays in 5 months) receives Holy Communion and practices the following exercises as an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven:
- Sacramental confession
The confession can take place days before or even after the Holy Communion is received, but the Holy Communion shall be received with dignity, in a state of Grace, keeping in mind that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist (Transubstantiation). The Intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary may be kept to oneself; it is not necessary to notify the confessor priest.
- To receive Holy Communion
The Holy Communion has to be received within the 24 hours of the first Saturday of the Month. Attendance to Holy Mass is optional. Receiving Holy Communion as part of this devotion must be consciously intended as an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart. The devotee need not tell anyone else, but keep it in mind. To avoid omitting the Intention every Saturday, the General Intention for the devotion of the Act of Reparation can be mentally or outspokenly stated before starting the First Saturdays (or in between).
If a person has a valid reason not to attend Mass (Masses not available on Saturdays, difficult mobilization, other major event), the devotee may consult a priest about receiving Communion privately or on another day with the intention of making this Communion as part of the devotion.
- A 5 Decades Rosary is recited
The Rosary must also be recited with the intention of making reparation.
A 15 Minute Meditation is made on the Mysteries of the Rosary
This Meditation should also be done in an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Rosary Meditations can be done on all 15 of the mysteries or fewer but must last for 15 minutes. This meditation is in addition to the recitation of the Rosary. It can be done alone or in a group and with or without the aid of sacred scripture.
The activities of the Five First Saturdays devotions are different from similar devotions on other days in that all should be done with the specific intention in the heart of making reparation to the Blessed Mother for blasphemies against her, her name and her holy initiatives.
- Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
The First Saturdays devotion had already been an established custom in the Catholic Church. On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. This practice greatly resembled the reported request of Mary at the Pontevedra apparitions.