VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The World Apostolate of Fatima has been established as a public association of the faithful for the universal Church.
This is according to the decree presented by Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to professor Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz, international president of the World Apostolate of Fatima.
A public ceremony, which included a moment of prayer, was held at the Vatican dicastery on Feb. 3.
“It is with great joy that we celebrate this moment of the consignment of the decree of establishment and approval of the Statutes of the World Apostolate of Fatima,” said Archbishop Rylko during the ceremony.
“It indicates the occasion when the Holy See formally and joyfully accepts a new subject which has as its goal the sanctification of its own members and the building up of the whole Church,” he explained. “At the same time, the lay faithful are confirmed by the Holy See in their right to associate in order to promote a more perfect Christian life and to develop evangelizing activities throughout the whole world.”
Dated on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, last Oct. 7, the decree of establishment states: “The members of the World Apostolate of Fatima, spread throughout numerous countries of the world, commit themselves to become faithful witnesses of the Catholic faith in their own families, at work, in the parishes and communities, participating in this way in the New Evangelization. …
“[C]onsidering that the WAF is a suitable instrument for the formation of the lay people through the message of Fatima in view of the new evangelization proposed by the Holy Father John Paul II and Benedict XVI […], the Pontifical Council for the Laity decrees the approval of the WAF and its statutes.”
In his address to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Lopez Ortiz described the decree as “a great blessing and at the same time a great responsibility to carry out with hope and excellence.”
“Under the umbrella of the WAF, all associations and apostolic movements propagating the authentic message of Fatima may encounter an example of faithfulness and loyalty to the Holy Father and the diocesan bishops in communion with the Successor of Peter,” he said.
The president of the World Apostolate of Fatima highlighted the Blessed Virgin’s promise of an era of peace, a century of hope, a new Marian Pentecost, and a new spring for the world — if there is faithfulness to her message.
“The message of Fatima is more urgent now than ever before, more actual and more essential to the present state of moral and spiritual crisis of our civilization,” contended Lopez Ortiz.
The Virgin of Fatima pleaded for prayer and penance in reparation for sins and the conversion of sinners. She also requested more authentic devotion to the Eucharist, to the rosary and consecration to her Immaculate Heart.
The essential themes of the Virgin’s message, in her apparitions in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, to the three little shepherds Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, may be summarized in the need and importance of persevering and continuous prayer; the call to conversion, and urgent commitment to prayer and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners; confidence, commitment and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the preferential way of Christian life.
Representatives from 14 countries attended the ceremony in the dicastery.
Attendees included Bishop Seraphim of Leiria-Fatima; Monsignor Luciano Guerra, rector of the Shrine of Fatima; and the former president of Italy, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. Archbishops and national leaders from five continents were also on hand.
The World Apostolate of Fatima has millions of members in some 50 countries. It was founded in the United States in 1947. Initially called the “Blue Army,” its rapid expansion transformed it into a World Apostolate.