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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry
Today’s guest(s): Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, author of the book “Fatima for Today”
Today’s topics: The apparitions and message at Fatima
Summary of today’s show: Fr. Andrew Apostoli joins Scot to discuss his new book and the message of Our Lady at Fatima, her message of hope, and how we can live the message today in order to fulfill her requests and promises.
1st segment: Scot welcomed Fr. Andrew Apostoli. He is a member of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1967. He has been active in teaching, preaching retreats and parish missions, and in giving spiritual direction. He is an adjunct faculty member of Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, Yonkers, New York. In his community, he has served as Community Servant and Novice Director. He was instrumental in 1988 in helping to found the Community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal. Currently, he is serving as a Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Canonization for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
Father Andrew has been active over the years producing different TV series for EWTN. He has also been giving talks on various spiritual topics, many of which are available as videos, DVD’s, CD’s, and tapes.
Scot asked him when he became interested in teaching people more about Fatima. He knew from when he was a young boy, having seen the popular film in the early 50s. The message was brought to 3 children, which fascinated him at the time. It also stuck with him that our Lady was asking us for specific things. He’s tried to keep up with the requests of our Lady in his personal life, including daily Rosary and the 5 First Saturdays devotion. He started making that devotion since his time in high school seminary.
Scot asked him what his hope was in writing this book? He had submitted another manuscript to Ignatius Press that was on the works of mercy. They said they would publish the book, but they also wanted a book for them on Fatima. He had helped them with a movie they were distributing called “The Thirteenth Day.”
His goal was to show the role of Mary from Scripture and the great saints, how they depicted the role of Mary in the spiritual warfare of today. He also wanted to show the meaning of the angel’s apparition to the children at Fatima. His message was to instill in them a desire to pray for souls. He also wanted to present the 6 Marian apparitions at Fatima and the apparitions asking for the Five Saturdays devotion and the consecration of Russia.
The three children were visited by the Angel of Peace three times. Scot wondered if this was the only major apparition site where the visionaries were prepared by an angel. Fr. Apostoli isn’t sure if there were others like this. One of the beautiful part of the angel’s message was to challenge them to be generous in making sacrifices. He told Lucia to make a sacrifice of anything for the conversion of sinners and peace in the world. The last apparition of the angel focused on the Eucharist and instilled them a love for the Eucharist. The angels instill in them also a desire to make sacrifices. Mary’s first apparition asked them if they would accept suffering for the sake of the world and they answered without hesitation.
The angel also taught them the pardon prayer:
I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee!
I beg pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not hope,
and do not love Thee.
The world was about to be inundated by movements that denied God and hated religion. So we need faith and Our Lady had us pray for faith and to adore God. So many do not adore God, but instead adore anything else. There many today who are also broken by despair and have no hope. So many young people commit suicide as if there is nothing to live for.Even in the midst of our sufferings, we need to bear the cross of Jesus for the redemption of the world. Finally, the prayer prays for love. When life has no love, a person’s life is truly empty. Our Lady came to warn us about these things and the prayer taught these virtues we need to focus on in our daily lives.
Scot said it seems to be a program of different types of prayer: intercessory prayer, praying through sufferings, prayer for reparations, and more. Scot thinks reparation is de-emphasized today and wondered if Portugal was like that then as well. Fr. Apostoli said that while Portugal was Catholic, the government was controlled by the anti-Catholic Masons who tried to stamp out faith. The message of Fatima is clearly still relevant. Pope John Paul II said Fatima is more important now than it was in 1917 because secularism is spreading throughout the world. That is the concern Pope Benedict has expressed in his call for the new evangelization.
The message of Fatima is crucial to our times, if we’re going to hold on the family, to life and its sacredness, we need to put Mary’s message into practice. We can say for sure that it will work. People just need to put it into practice.
2nd segment: Scot asked Fr. Apostoli to give an overview of the events of Fatima. There were three apparitions of the angel starting in 1916. Pope Benedict XV was reigning at the time and World War I was just beginning. The Pope tried to prevent war, and asked for a novena for peace to the Blessed Mother. The 8th day of novena was May 13, 1917, and on that day the Portuguese children, Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia saw an apparition of a beautiful lady who said she came from heaven. She asked the children if they were willing to suffer for the sake of souls. She asked them to pray the Rosary to stop wars, bring peace, and stop sin.
The children asked about two girls they knew who had died recently. Our Lady said one of the girls was in heaven, but the other would be in Purgatory until the end of the world. The message is clear: avoid purgatory.
All the messages were on the 13th of the month, except in August. In July, Our Lady told Francisco and Jacinta they would die young and go to heaven and that Lucia would live a long life.
Our Lady gave the children 3 secrets. The first one dealt with a vision of hell. She showed them hell in order for us to know that hell is real. Hell is real and we need to live as if it is real in order to avoid it. The children prayed zealously that no one would go to hell. This was when Our Lady taught the children the decade prayer.
She predicted that if people prayed, the first World War would end and there would be peace, but if not, there would come a greater war. She told the children that if there was an unknown light in the sky that the greater world would not be avoided. That sign came in 1939. She also predicted the rise of the Soviet Union, famines, persecutions of the Church, and the suffering of the Holy Father. She said two things would prevent the spread of Communism in the world: Five First Saturdays devotion and consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She said she would come again to reveal what needed to be done.
In 1925, Our Lady returned in a vision to Sr. Lucia. (Jacinta and Francisco were already dead.) She appeared with the Christ Child and her heart was encircled by fire. She said to go to confession, receive Communion, say the rosary and spend 15 minutes in prayer with the intention of her immaculate heart on five first Saturdays, then the person would receive the graces at the end of their life.
The third secret in that July was that she saved us from fires that would have engulfed the whole world. This could have been the Cuban Missile Crisis or when the Soviets were building a massive new nuclear missile that exploded in an accident. Then the children saw in the vision a line of people led by a bishop in white climbing a mountain. He kneels in front of the crucifix. As he prayers, he is shot and he dies. After that, the people in the vision, representing all the millions of people who had died in the 20th century, martyred for their faith, had their blood joined to the Blood of Christ on the Cross. Pope John Paul II had an attempt on his life on May 13, 1981, on the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother to the children. The assassin was Mehmet Ali Agca and he later told the Pope that whoever’s feast if was must have saved him.
Scot said it said an invisible hand must have guided the bullet. The bullet ricocheted throughout his chest and missed every vital organ. He also lost 4-1/2 pints of blood and almost died. Later, John Paul said Mary gave him back his life. In gratitude, he carried out the consecration of Russia in 1984. He had wanted to do it in 1982, but someone at the Vatican failed to send the letters to the world’s bishops in order to do the consecration in union with him. In 1984, they received the letters in time and more than 90% of bishops did the consecration.
The bullet was placed in the statue of Our Lady in the Fatima shrine. And within a year of the consecration, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union, the man who would bring an end to the Soviet Union.
3rd segment: In August 1917, the crowds were getting large. In June there were 50. In July, there were about 5,000. In August, there were more than 19,000. The anti-Catholic government of Portugal wanted to stop it. The local administrator tricked the children. He told the children he would take the children to the apparition site, but instead he took them to a prison in the district capital for two or three days. While they were in the prison, the administrator tried to get them to declare they had made up the apparitions and they had to tell him the secrets of the Blessed Mother. He even threatened to boil them in oil, but each of them refused. They were willing to give their lives for Jesus. The children ended up praying the rosary with the prisoners.
When they finally got home, on the 19th of August, Lucia and Francisco were about a half-mile from the home and Lucia sensed the Blessed Mother was there. They sent for Jacinta.
In September, about 35,000 people came to see the children. The kids asked the Blessed Mother about money people were giving and she said to use it to build a chapel after the messages end. She said they would see her three times in October and that St. joseph and the Christ Child would come and bless the world.
In October, there was an estimated 55,000 people and another 20,000 people in the surrounding five people. All of these people saw the miracle of the sun that the Blessed Mother had promised. The sun danced across the sky and gave off different rays of color. It had rained for two days such that the ground was soaking wet. Many of them people there were extreme skeptics, including secularists and journalists. At the end, the sun seemed to detach from the sky and hurl itself toward the earth. After the miracle, everything was completely dry and the earth was itself dry.
It was that miracle that gave Fatima it’s stamp of authenticity because so many had seen the sign. The Church was able to give a quick approval to the supernatural happenings there.
Scot said Our Lady identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary. In all six apparitions she talked about the importance of praying the Rosary as a powerful weapon against evil and for the conversion of souls.
Fr. Apostoli said the Rosary brings peace to the soul and brings us close to Jesus because not only are they about Mary, but about Jesus. The Rosary was a compendium of Catholic belief and spirituality reflecting on the life of Jesus so we can imitate him. Mary gave ti the seal of approval by promoting it. This is why the Rosary has become such a treasured prayer for Catholics. People who pray it feel the sense of Mary’s presence.
Five steps to promote Fatima:
* live good Christian lives
* pray daily, especially the Rosary
* observe the Five First Saturday devotions
* make sacrifices for the conversion
* spread the message to others
Our Lady told us what was going to happen in the 20th Century and we can see the effects of the vl in the world today. Mary told us these would happen, but she gave us the answer. Her last words to the children were to ask the people to stop offending God.