The USA Solar Eclipse of 2017 – signs in the heavens

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars…. Luke 21:25.

At NASA I see that, one year from today, 21 August 2017, the shadow of your planet’s moon, in a great total eclipse of your planets yellow sun, will sweep across the North American continent.  200 million people will be within one day’s drive from the umbra of totality.

When I wrote about this in the past, I opined that it would be fun to have a reader gathering, perhaps at some parish along the path, for Solemn (or Pontifical?) Mass.  21 August 2017 will be a Monday.  The next day, 22 August, is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Another interesting thing about this eclipse was pointed out by my friend Fr. Richard Heilman.  I spoke to him in the sacristy this morning.  He pointed out that the eclipse occurs 54 days, including the end date, before the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, 13 October 2017.  The “54 days” will immediately strike Catholics as significant for it is the number of days of a special kind of “novena”.

A precise novena is nine days. However, the term has been applied to other ongoing devotions to obtain certain petitions.  Praying a 54 day novena generally involves saying a chaplet of the Holy Rosary (five mysteries) every day for twenty-seven days in petition followed by a chaplet each day for an another twenty-seven days in thanksgiving.  Traditionally, you would use the classic mysteries for your chaplets, the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious.  There are ways to do this with the Luminous Mysteries, but I don’t generally use them.

Some people add a prayer to their chaplets:

Petition Prayer (27 Days): Blessed Mother, hear my plea and bring it before the throne of your Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Please look with favor on this devotion, and grant me [say your intention here.] I ask these things of you, my Mother, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thanksgiving Prayer (27 Days): Blessed Mother, thank you for hearing my prayer and and interceding on my behalf. Mary, Mother of my Soul, be with me all my days, and accept my humble thanks for your many gifts, which I accept in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our Lady of Fatima asked for the Rosary daily.  It is a mighty tool and weapon of the spiritual life and battle in which we are engaged.

I’ve been hearing some dire things from priests.  I’ve been experiencing some rough times as well.  I have the sense that something big is on the move, as it were.

I am not at this point saying that I think the 2017 eclipse portends a SHTF catalyst and TEOTWAWKI event.   I am saying that it is really interesting that this takes place, over this nation, 54 days before the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.  Just as I think that the argument about the Star of Bethlehem and the eclipse at the time of the Crucifixion were compelling enough to pay attention to our celestial clock, I think this merits keeping an eye on.

Pope Leo XIII on 13 October 1884 had a mystical experience after reading his daily Mass. He froze, turned pale, and immediately penned the Prayer to St. Michael. He told people that he heard two voices, one Satan’s, the other God’s. Satan said that he could destroy the Church in 100 years. However, some have calculated that the 100 years didn’t begin at that very moment. Instead it started 33 years later on 13 October 1917 with the Miracle of the Sun. The opening salvo of Satan’s pogrom could have been on what was 7 November 1917 in the Gregorian calendar (25 October in the Julian) the October Revolution in St. Petersburg. Russia would switch to the Gregorian calendar in February 2018. (Interestingly enough, in these USA on 19 March 1918 time zones and daylight savings time were approved, which went into effect on 31 March. Lots of tinkering with time back then.) In any event, atheistic Communism – an ideology direct from Hell – begins to rear its head like the dragon of Revelation 12 right after Fatima. Our Lady warned the children that Russia would spread errors throughout the world.

If the 100 years of Pope Leo’s vision began on 13 October 1917….

Another sky event linked to Fatima, was probably the incredible aurora that occurred on 25 January 1938. Our Lady of Fatima had said on 13 July 1917: “”When you shall see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.” This seems to have heralded WWII. That same night St. Faustina Kowalska wrote in her diary about a message from the Lord: “I saw the anger of God hanging heavy over Poland. And now I see that if God were to visit our country with the greatest chastisements, that would still be great mercy because, for such grave transgressions, He could punish us with eternal annihilation. I was paralyzed with fear when the Lord lifted the veil a little for me. Now I see clearly that chosen souls keep the world in existence to fulfill the measure [of justice].

Events in the sky seemed important to Our Lady.

I’m just sayin’.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Look! Up in the sky!, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Boniface says:

    Who else would be up for this mass? Perhaps a good site would be St. Martin of Tours in Louisville? It’s a large, beautiful, historic church, with perpetual adoration, and the full-skeletal relics of two ancient Roman Christian martyrs (given by Leo XIII) one under each side altar! A good connection with our present day? It’s fairly near the heart of the eclipse arc….

  2. Mariana2 says:

    Am actually planning to come to the US for this, to North Carolina, and then drive the scenic route north to New York.

  3. Reliquary says:

    Kansas City!

  4. Reliquary says:

    Or Lincoln.

  5. Xopher says:

    Don’t forget what else happens this year to next. From Fr. Heilman:

  6. Hesiodos says:

    Looks like it will be close to Moscow, Idaho!
    If we do the mass here, I’ll fire up the IC-9100 with G-5500 satellite tracker and we can do some serious Satellite QSO’s while you’re here. Just a suggestion

  7. Matt R says:

    I served as Father Z’s MC for Solemn High Mass at St. Martin’s. It’s my home parish. That’s a fantastic choice… We also have a small relic of St. Faustina, whose promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion & thus the Holy Eucharisf goes hand in hand with the Marian devotion mentioned here.

  8. Bosco says:

    Couldn’t help but notice the area of greatest duration of darkness for this 2017 total eclipse seems to have be Illinois, and more particularly Chicago.

    Who rose up from the depths there that such darkness will cling to it?

  9. albizzi says:

    …”The eclipse at the time of the Crucifixion”
    The darkness that fell upon the Earth at the moment when our Lord died on the Cross cannot be the result of a solar eclipse caused by the moon since the jewish Passover is always celebrated during a full moon. Indeed the solar eclipses always happen during new moons without any exception for obvious reasons.
    I could read (I don’t remember exactly where) a theory according to which the darkness at the Crucifixion was caused by a big celestial object that passed between Earth and the Sun, thus hiding it for a long period while strong gravitational forces triggered the earthquake wich is mentioned in the Gospel.

    [That doesn’t mean that they didn’t happen at the same time. As far as large body passing… that’s weird.]

  10. GypsyMom says:

    I have wondered about the timing of the 100 years and Fatima for a few years now, ever since reading in a book that Pope Leo’s vision took place 33 years to the day from the miracle of the sun. The pivotal year 1917 seems like a better starting point for the 100 years than the year 1900, as was previously posited. We’re already 16 years beyond 2000–would God give satan even more than 100 years?
    It is reassuring that you are discussing this, Father Z. It seems that most orthodox Catholics, clergy and laity alike, just refuse to believe that more direct intervention by God can actually occur in our day and age. One usually hears, “We don’t know the day and hour” (as if anyone is saying that the end of the world is about to fall!), and “God will save the Church the way He always has–by raising up great saints.” Yes, He will do that, but in addition something extraordinary seems to be very close. We all need to stay close to our Mother Mary and the Eucharist.

  11. bookworm says:

    Bosco: The following is from, describing the path of the eclipse in Illinois:

    “Chicago is not in the path – not even close! If you are in Chicago, the eclipse will never be total for you! You will need to use eye protection for the entire partial eclipse! The far southern portion of the state is the only part that sees totality, but it gets a lot! Murphysboro (2m40s at 1:19:30pm), Makanda (2m40s at 1:20:11pm), Carbondale (2m38s at 1:20pm) and Marion (2m28s at 1:20:40pm) are prime viewing locations, but this area is really the best place to consider.”

    All the locations listed are at least 300+ miles away from Chicago. They are also in the path of ANOTHER total solar eclipse that will occur on April 8, 2024, on a SW-NE path from Mexico up through Texas and eventually to upstate NY and Canada. The two eclipse paths intersect just outside of Carbondale.

    If you’re looking for a combined religious/astronomical pilgrimage destination, I would suggest the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, Missouri, which is slightly south of the centerline with 2 minutes 34 seconds of totality. The Shrine has a Mass and novena every Monday evening, presumably including Eclipse Day.

  12. pannw says:

    Albizzi, I have been doing a bit of research about the sign of Revelation that was mentioned above by Xopher, and in my searches, I came across comments on “Planet X” or “Nibiru” which was quite fascinating. There are really crazy beliefs regarding this mysterious celestial body, like it is what brought humans to Earth from some advanced place, etc…but there are also those who link it to ‘Wormwood’, and the “Red Dragon” of the Apocalypse. I came upon one site that had copies of old Newspaper clippings from maybe the 70’s or early 80’s of stories from NASA about a large celestial body that had been spotted by some long range telescope or something. Then, apparently

  13. bookworm says:

    Reliquary: The path of totality cuts across Nebraska and Missouri (as well as the NE corner of Kansas) diagonally from NW to SE. Lincoln is on the northern edge of the path and moving just a few miles south can give you as much as 20 to 30 more seconds of totality. (Omaha is NOT in the path at all.) The shadow splits KC and STL in half. If you’re in KC, head north to see totality (St Joe is right on the centerline); if you’re in STL, head south.

  14. pannw says:

    oops…I didn’t mean to submit that just yet. Sorry, Father.

    Anyway, apparently sometime ago, all talk of it came to a screeching halt. Of course, you can imagine all sorts of conspiracy theories came about from that, but I do find it interesting. There are claims that the ancient Sumerians knew of this “Nibiru”, and some think it is the red dragon that will cause the stars to fall into the Earth, etc.


    Another thing that immediately came to mind when I saw the track is that the spots of greatest duration and of greatest eclipse occur right over what looks like the mid point between the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones. Which of course was brought to mind because of the prophecy of the ‘great nation in the ocean occupied by many tribes will be divided by a great earthquake’… Saint Hildegard, whom beloved Benedict made a Doctor of the Church near the end of his reign as Holy Father.


    The eclipse path passes pretty near to Nashville, TN. Saint Mary of the Seven Sorrows is quite appropriate for an EF Mass, complete with intact altar rail and high altar.

  15. WYMiriam says:


    HA! *I* live right smack dab in the middle of the shadow’s path!!

  16. Kerry says:

    Hmm, a swath of 75% darkness north to south traveling west to east ought to be a real attention grabber.
    More prayer methinks.

  17. Joseph-Mary says:

    And, boy howdy, do ‘we’ ever need an attention grabber!

  18. Stepheno says:

    “Rough times……dire things”. Fr.Z you always leave us more than the headline suggests. These references are very intriguing and worrisome.

    Pray for priests. Right now folks.

  19. bookworm says:

    Re my earlier suggestion, the town of Perryville is planning a four-day eclipse festival and promoting several good local viewing sites. See “Perry County Mo Solarfest” on Facebook for more info. (While prayer and sober watchfulness are always good, let’s not forget that solar eclipses are supremely beautiful and fun to watch as well.)

  20. Muzhik says:

    About 7 years ago, based on a dream a friend of mine had (details upon request) I started paying close attention to the New Madrid Seismic Zone. I’m one of those wacky Christians who believe the promise G_D made in Scripture that what you do to Israel will happen to you. Trying to summarize: If the “State of Palestine” is created by UN fiat, it will involve taking — cutting off and making inaccessible — about 24% of Israel.

    IF NMSZ should erupt between 7 and 9 on the Modified Richter Scale (the estimated size of the 1811-1812 events), expect every bridge and dam over both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to be damaged or destroyed, from the Louisiana border up to the lock and dam in Dubuque, IA; and from the mouth of the Ohio all the way up to the Pennsylvania border. This means that all auto, truck, and train traffic over those rivers will be impossible; and until the rivers are remapped and dredged, there will be no shipping on those rivers. This includes the closing of the Ten-Tom Waterway as well as many of the bridges, etc. across many rivers and streams in the American Southeast. Nothing will get in or out of that region except with great difficulty.

    When you calculate the approximate area of land that will be cut off and made inaccessible from the rest of the continental USA, it comes out to 24%. The cutting off of Israel cannot be done without the involvement and approval of the USA.

    Just sayin’…

  21. Sandy says:

    Father, I think you are quite correct about “rough times…. dire things”. It is my heartfelt belief also that there is a connection with everything happening and what will happen, with the anniversary of Fatima in 2017. Your admonitions to go to confession, Mass, say the Rosary, etc., etc., are crucial. God bless you and keep all of us safe!

Comments are closed.