By William A. Thomas
FATIMA, NOV. 28, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Congress was told of the many challenges that face the Apostolate of Fatima in disseminating the authentic message of Our Lady, given that there are many who try to distort the truth of the message and who have set up organisations with other motives and objectives. The motto of the authentic Apostolate is ‘Orbis Unus Orans’ which means the world at prayer, and this is the ultimate goal and requirement not only of the members, but of every living person.
One of the delegates from Poland, Mr. Wincenty Laszewski proposed, in his conference that both Blessed’s Francisco and Jacinta Marto; two of the seers of Fatima, be held up as model saints to help save the families of today. Quoting the homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II, the great Marian Pope, Laszewski said that “according to the Divine plan’ a ‘Woman’ clothed with the Sun (Rev 12; 1) came down from heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father – She asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that she was ready to lead them safely to God-and behold, they see a light shining from her maternal hands.” The Pope showed us in his homily, he went on to say, a radical way to live as did all three seers of Fatima, once they received the light of God. Quoting the Holy Father again, Laszewski said that “The Pope taught that when the condition of the world gets more difficult, then the way to save the world is similarly more difficult-hence the multitudes of evil that we experience needs to be overcome by even greater good. Thus the spirituality of the little shepherds was to “atone for the offenses of sinners by striving to be good and by offering sacrifices and prayers.” Through the beatification of the little shepherds of Fatima, the Church holds up Francisco and Jacinta as models of holiness for today’s families-“with this solemn rite of beatification the Church wishes to put on the candelabrum, these two candles which God lit to illumine humanity in its dark and anxious hours-may they shine on the path of this immense multitude of pilgrims, may Francisco and Jacinta be a friendly light and may the message of their lives live on forever to light humanity’s way” (Pope John Paul II).
The International President of the World Apostolate of Fatima, Professor Americo Pablo Lopez-Ortiz summed up the conference with 10 challenges that the WAF faces and must overcome in order to deliver and authentic message that will yield a rich harvest, they are as follows;
1. The first is to live up to the great responsibility of executing the New Evangelisation of the world through the authentic message of Fatima. This witness must be borne out in family life, in the work place, schools and in the life of the parish.
2. The second challenge is for the WAF is to make known the authentic message in its uncontaminated pristine splendour.
3. The third is to teach people how to pray, given that Fatima and its message is not just a school of prayer but of holiness. In praying and contemplating the holy Rosary, Our Lady promised “Peace” thus peace must be the fruit of prayer, and all are bound to pray.
4. The fourth challenge for the Apostolate is to prepare the faithful and lead them into the sacramental life of the Church, while emphasising the need for frequent confession and the proper reception of Holy Communion. Included in this is promoting what Our Lady asked for-the devotion to the first five Saturday’s of the month while offering up one’s communion in reparation for the outrages, blasphemies, sacrileges, and indifferences by which the Immaculate Heart of Mary is deeply offended. Devotion to Mary is thus becoming that great antidote to dissention from the Church’s teachings and loyalty to the Holy Father.
5. The fifth challenge is to awaken a spirit of permanent conversion, prayer, penance and reparation, through the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, devotion to the Eucharistic life of adoration and frequent reception and to the holy Rosary as part of the New Evangelisation that the entire is now committed to. While transmitting the lives of Blessed’s Francisco and Jacinta and the Venerable Sister Lucia as models of holiness and true models of spirituality portraying both vocations of the contemplative and apostolic life.
6. The sixth challenge for the WAF deals with the culture of death, abortion, divorce, euthanasia and same sex unions or pseudo-marriages which offend God greatly. The WAF proposes to provide the spirituality of Fatima to pro-life movements in order to educate and to give moral formation to those who seek it.
7. The seventh challenge for the WAF its President said is to be fearless witnesses of the faith; “be not afraid” as Blessed Pope John Paul II told the entire Church on so many occasions. Be not afraid of criticisms or even persecutions for the cause of what is right! Jesus too has a right to walk our streets in our cities and towns-he is the New Evangelisation!
8. The eighth challenge is to provide funding for WAF for it propagation and the success of its mission
9. The ninth challenge is to work closely with bishops as an International Association of Pontifical Right. The Fatima message is not historic but active and progressive and on-going. The role of Fatima is interlinked with the New Evangelisation and given the high profile of 5 papal visitations along with the Petrine instructions and pedagogies there is an imperative to examine and teach the message of Fatima which corresponds in full to the Gospel message, and expressed in such a profound and personal way.
10. The final challenge for the WAF is to clear up the confusion and in many cases the conflict and despair caused by the deformity of the authentic message, making it banal, erroneous, and insignificant. There are many, even some clergy who are leading people astray and casting a shadow of doubt on the real message of conversion, prayer, and penance.
Father Anibal Castelhano, the vice postulator and rector of the seminary in Coimbra, gave a conference to the World Apostolate of Fatima in Coimbra during which he outlined the progress in the beatification process of the Venerable Servant of God, Sister Lucia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who died on the 13thof February in 2005. Normally the process should not begin until five years after the death of the person, but in recent years we have seen that canonical requirement lifted by the Holy Father in the cases of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, Pope John Paul II and now with Sister Lucia. “She lived here in silence and humility” Father Castelhano told the conference. He went on to tell how a Commission was set up which had three main functions, that of a historical inquiry into Lucia’s life and to collect all the writings and letters that have not been published. Secondly the Research Tribunal whose function is to collect all the evidence including oral evidence of witnesses who knew her personally. Finally the theological censors, who have just completed their work and have found Lucia’s published work to be 100% orthodox and conforming in every way to the Church’s teaching. There have been two miracles submitted to the vice postulator, one of these is said to have happened in Salta in Argentina when a little girl who had embraced a book with Sister Lucia’s image on it was immediately cured. “Sister Lucia the last seer of Fatima died at the age of 97” said Father Castelhano, “what kept her going was the promise of Our Lady who told her- ‘I will be with you-my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge.’ ” Sister Lucia had a great passion for the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order that this great project of God might be fulfilled, namely that the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart would be spread around the world according to the designs of God.
The World Apostolate of Fatima concluded its world Congress in Fatima on a high note and more determined than ever to be part of the Church and its mission of the New Evangelisation.
William A. Thomas is a Roman Catholic Theologian, Catholic Journalist, and Writer and can be contacted on [email protected]
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