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The physical heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a sign and symbol of her compassion and sinlessness, and the object of devotion by the faithful. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary gained international prominence through the Fátima apparitions in 1917, and their subsequent approval by the Holy See. A widely used prayer capsulizing this devotion reads:
"Virgin of Fátima, Mother of Mercy, Queen of heaven and earth, refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart. To you we consecrate our hearts, our souls, our families, and all we have."
"And in order that this consecration may be truly effective and lasting, we renew today the promises of our Baptism and Confirmation; and we undertake to live as good Christians -- faithful to God, the Church and the Holy Father. We desire to pray the Rosary, partake in the Holy Eucharist, attach special importance to the first Saturday of the month and work for the conversion of sinners.
"Furthermore we promise, O most holy Virgin, that we will zealously spread devotion to you, so that through our consecration to your Immaculate Heart and through your own intercession the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in the world may be hastened. Amen."
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.