Monday, May 22, 2017

Fatima visionary to Cardinal: “Final battle between God and Satan will be over marriage and family”


  Diane Montagna | Jan 17, 2017

Years ago, from her convent, Sr. Lucia wrote a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, saying: “Do not be afraid … Our Lady has already crushed his head.”



ROME — “The decisive battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be over marriage and the family,” Sr. Lucia dos Santos, one of the three Fatima visionaries, confided to Cardinal Carlo Carrara several years ago, as he was working to found the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome.
On February 16, 2008, Cardinal Caffarra, then Archbishop of Bologna, travelled to San Giovanni Rotondo to celebrate Holy Mass at the tomb of St. Padre Pio. After the Mass, the cardinal granted an interview to the Italian outlet, Tele Radio Padre Pio, which first appeared in the March 2008 edition of the magazine, “Voice of Padre Pio.”
In the interview, Cardinal Caffarra also speaks about his devotion to Padre Pio, and the deep significance he and other mystics have for the world today.
Cardinal Caffarra is the founding president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. He has also served as a Member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Member of the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
He was created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2006. Cardinal Caffarra was one of Pope Francis’ 45 handpicked delegates chosen to attend the Ordinary Synod on the Family in 2015.
Here we print an English translation of the original interview with Cardinal Caffarra.

Q. Your Eminence, recently in ‘Corriere della Sera’ you said that you have always had a great devotion to Padre Pio. Please tell us why.

I have had a great devotion to him since the beginning of my priesthood, because I had a rather unique experience. I had been a priest for some months and a brother-priest came to see me. He was much older, and was going through a serious crisis of faith. It is difficult to describe what a crisis of faith is like for a priest: a terrible thing! I told him: “Brother, I am too little; I don’t feel that I can carry such a burden. Go to Padre Pio.” He went, and while he was talking to Padre Pio he had a great mystical experience, in which he experienced, very strongly, the mercy of God. Now he is one of the best priests I know. There you have it. It all began like that.
Q. Did you ever meet Padre Pio personally?
No, because I never had the courage to go to him, thinking that I would be wasting his time! […] I believe that Padre Pio belongs to the series of great mystics who have this characteristic: the most profound participation in the Cross of Christ, as they bear upon themselves the great tragedy of mankind today – atheism. Padre Pio, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Mother Theresa, the Curé d’Ars all had the profound experience of sitting at the table with sinners, of living their experiences, of carrying, in different ways, the weight of the Agony in Gethsemane, testifying to the love of Christ who takes upon himself the suffering of the man who has left his Father’s house and doesn’t want to go back, even if he knows in his heart that he is better off in his Father’s house rather than tending pigs… Man today continues to imagine that he can live as if God did not exist; and we see the devastation this has caused.
Q. There is a prophecy by Sister Lucia dos Santos, the Fatima visionary whose process of beatification began last February 13 [2008], which concerns “the decisive battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan.” And the battlefield is the family. Life and the family. Not everyone knows that you were given the charge by John Paul II to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family.
Yes. At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God [now Saint] John Paul II, I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her bishop as one couldn’t do so directly. Unexplainably however, as I wasn’t expecting a reply, seeing that I was only asking for prayers, within a few days I received a very long letter with her signature – now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the decisive battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed his head.
In speaking to John Paul II, you felt too that this was the crux, as it touches the very pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman, and among generations. If you touch founding pillar the entire building collapses, and we see this now, because we have arrived at this point, and we know it. And I’m moved when I read the best biographies of Padre Pio, on how this man was so attentive to the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of the spouses, even with justifiable rigor on occasion.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Archbishop's Prayer of Consecration for Fatima Anniversary

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
12 May 2017

Archbishop Fisher's Prayer of Consecration for the Fatima Anniversary
The Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP has written a prayer of consecration to Our Lady on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.
Archbishop Fisher has invited all to join in prayer for this important milestone as the Church worldwide marks 100 years since Our Lady's miraculous appearances at Fatima to three Portuguese children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.

Pope Francis is travelling to Fatima this weekend, he told a general audience on Wednesday, "to place humanity's destiny at the feet of the Virgin Mary, as well as the destiny of each individual".  He will pray at the location where the apparitions took place, participate in a rosary candlelight prayer vigil and also canonise two of the young visionaries.
Archbishop Fisher noted the alignment of Mothers' Day on the same weekend which fittingly allows us to be grateful to God for the gift of motherhood.
"It's a very happy coincidence that this weekend, we have the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and Mothers' Day together," said Archbishop Fisher.

Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, the children of Fatima to whom Our Lady appeared
"If our Fatima Day draws attention to our heavenly Mother, who comes to us with her lessons of childlike humility, our Mothers' Day holiday draws our attention to the loving mothers who brought each of us into the world and nurtured us in faith and life.

"New Age spiritualities might tell us to hug trees and worship Mother earth, but between our heavenly mother and our earthly ones we have more than enough genuine motherhood to inspire and support us".
On 13 May, Archbishop Anthony Fisher will celebrate a special mass in St Mary's Cathedral to commemorate this occasion. There will be a procession at 11.30am and Mass will be celebrated at 12.10pm.
Across the Archdiocese many parishes will be celebrating the Fatima anniversary with Masses, prayer vigils and processions.

Consecration Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima
by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of heaven and earth, and tender Mother of humanity,
in accordance with your ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to you myself,
my brothers and sisters of the Archdiocese of Sydney, and the whole human race.
We commit to you all the members of this local Church, beginning with the weakest ones,
from the unborn to the sick, the disabled and the elderly.
We commit to you our families, our children, our young people, the single, the widowed and the lonely.
We entrust to your Immaculate Heart especially hurt and broken families,
for those who seek the meaning of life but who are getting lost in a world of confusion, immoral influences, and distorted ideas.
Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph
in us and around us, as it has reigned and triumphed in you!
Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be your children in prosperity and in adversity,
in joy and in sorrow, in health and sickness, in life and in death!
O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts,
and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which you lamented  so sorrowfully at Fatima.
We want to be pure like you. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and you.
We want to call down upon our city, our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity!
Help us as we resolve to live according to the Gospel, to fulfil the Commandments of God and those of the Church,
to receive the sacraments worthily, especially the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist,
and to contribute to the building up of the Kingdom of your divine Son,  in union with his most Sacred Heart.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pope Francis reflects on Mary Magdalene at General Audience

      Francesco Hayez - Crucifixion with Mary Magdalene kneeling and weeping (1827)

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on “Christian Hope” at his General Audience on Wednesday, focusing this week on the figure of St Mary Magdalene.
The Holy Father’s reflections were based on a passage from the Gospel of St John, which relates how St Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after His Resurrection. Her visit to Jesus’s tomb, the Pope said, mirrored “the fidelity of so many women” who visit cemeteries to keep alive the memory of those who have passed away. “The most authentic bonds,” he said, “are not broken even by death.”
Pope Francis noted that Mary Magdalene’s first visit to the tomb was a disappointment: Seeing the empty tomb, she went to the place the disciples were hiding and told them that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.
But although she was sorrowful, she returned to the sepulchre. The Pope continued, “It was while she was standing near the tomb, with eyes filled with tears, that God surprised her in a most unexpected way.” She hardly noticed the two angels who spoke to her, and at first she did not even recognise Jesus, whom she took to be a gardener. Instead, Pope Francis said, “she discovers the most shocking event in human history” only when Jesus “calls her by name.”
“How beautiful it is to think that the first apparition of the Risen One – according to the Gospels – should occur in such a personal way!” the Pope said. How beautiful it is “that there is someone who recognizes us, who sees our suffering and disappointment, and is moved for our sake, and calls us by name.” Although many people seek God, he said, the “wonderful reality” is that God has sought us first, and sought each of us personally. “Each one of us,” Pope Francis said, “is a story of the love of God. God calls each of us by name.”
When Jesus said Mary’s name, her life was changed. “The Gospels describe Mary’s happiness for us,” the Holy Father said. “The Resurrection of Jesus is not a joy given with an eyedropper, but a cascade, a waterfall that fills our whole life.” Pope Francis called for everyone to reflect on that fact that, even with all the “disappointments and defeats” in our life, “there is a God who is close to us and who calls us by name, who says to us, ‘Arise, don’t cry, because I have come to set you free.’”
God, he continued, “is a dreamer: He dreams of the transformation of the world, and has realised it in the mystery of the Resurrection.”
Saint Mary Magdalene, who, before she met Jesus, was at the mercy of the evil one, became “the apostle of the new and greatest hope.” Her life was changed because she had “seen the Lord.” Mary’s experience is an example for us, too, whose lives are changed because we have seen the Lord. This, Pope Francis said, “is our strength, and our hope.”

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pope Francis: Fatima reminds us to care for the faith of children

.- On Sunday Pope Francis reflected on the May 13 canonization of the child visionaries St. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, saying that their faithfulness, despite their young age, reminds us to pay special attention to children in the ministry of the Church.
“In Fatima the Virgin chose the innocent heart and the simplicity of little Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, as guardians of her message. These children received it worthily, so to be recognized as reliable witnesses to the apparitions, and to become models of Christian life.”
“With the canonization of Francisco and Jacinta, I wanted to propose to the whole Church their example of adherence to Christ and of evangelical witness, and I also wanted to propose to the whole Church to take care of children,” he said May 14.
The holiness of these children is not a consequence of the apparitions they received, he said, but of the “fidelity and ardor with which they returned the privilege they received of being able to see the Virgin Mary.”
“After the encounter with the ‘beautiful lady,’ as they called her, they frequently recited the Rosary, they did penance and offered sacrifices for the end of the war and for the most needy souls of divine mercy.”
This is what made them saints, he said.
Pope Francis addressed around 25,000 people in St. Peter’s Square Sunday afternoon before praying the Regina Coeli.
In his greeting, he expressed his gratefulness to God for the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Fatima May 12-13 for the centenary of the apparitions, going “to the feet of the Virgin Mother as a pilgrim of hope and peace.”
He also thanked the bishops of Portugal, and in particular the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, António Augusto dos Santos Marto, as well as the local authorities and everyone who helped to organize the visit.
“Last night I returned from the pilgrimage to Fatima,” he said, pausing to add a greeting to “the Madonna of Fatima!” followed by cheers from those present.
“In Fatima, I was immersed in the prayer of the holy faithful people, a prayer that flows there for a hundred years as a river, to beg Mary's maternal protection on the whole world,” he went on.
“From the very beginning, when in the Chapel of the Apparitions I stayed for a long time in silence, accompanied by the prayerful silence of all the pilgrims, a together and contemplative climate was created where the various moments of prayer took place.”
And at the center of all of this, he said, was the Risen Lord present in the Eucharist.
Even 100 years after the first appearance of Our Lady of Fatima there is still a great need for prayer and penance for the grace of conversion, Francis said. We also need prayers “to implore the end of so many wars that are everywhere in the world… and which disfigure the face of humanity.”
“Let us be guided by the light coming from Fatima. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is always our shelter, our consolation, and the way that leads us to Christ,” he said.
Following the prayer, the Pope spoke with sympathy for the people affected by wars and conflicts in the Middle East, both Christians and Muslims, who suffer from violence and discrimination.
“My solidarity accompanies the memory of prayer,” he said, thanking all those who provide humanitarian aid and encouraging “the various communities to follow the path of dialogue and reconciliation to build a future of respect, security and peace.”
He also mentioned the beatification in Dublin May 13 of Jesuit priest John Sullivan, who lived during the 19th and 20th centuries in Ireland. He was devoted to the teaching and training of young people, the Pope said, “and was loved and respected as a father to the poor and the suffering.”
Pope Francis concluded his address by mentioning the celebration of Mother’s Day in several countries. “Let us remember with gratitude and affection all moms, even our moms in heaven, trusting them to Mary, the mother of Jesus,” he said, concluding with a moment of silent prayer for mothers.
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Pope Francis casts doubt on Virgin Mary apparitions at Bosnian pilgrimage site

The site at Medjugorje attracts a million pilgrims annually, but pope says ‘these supposed apparitions don’t have much value’

Pope Francis on Saturday expressed serious doubts regarding reported daily apparitions of the Virgin at Medjugorje in Bosnia, a site which attracts a million pilgrims annually.
In June 1981, six Bosnian children and teenagers said they had witnessed the appearance of the Virgin in the southern town, and allege she continues to visit to this day.
The woman they saw “is not the mother of Jesus,” the Pope said Saturday aboard the papal plane on his return from a trip to Portugal, where he canonised two young shepherds who had visions of the Virgin 100 years ago.
The Pope said an investigation under way by the Church had thrown up doubts regarding the Medjugorje apparitions.
He said he preferred “’the Mother Madonna’ or ‘our Mother’, and not the ‘Madonna chief of service’, for sending daily messages.”
The remarks are likely to make waves in Bosnia, where Catholics make up about 10% of the population and the religious tourism at Medjugorje brings money into the poor Balkan country.
“These supposed apparitions don’t have much value – I’m giving my personal opinion,” the pontiff continued.
“But it is obvious, who thinks the Virgin would say: ‘come to this place tomorrow at this time and I’ll give a message to a seer’?”
However the pope was more circumspect about the original 1981 apparitions, which he did not immediately reject.
“On the original apparitions, the ones the children had, the enquiry says, more or less, that investigations need to continue,” he said.
Several investigations have already been carried out, the last in January 2014, but the pope had made no announcement since.
However, in November 2013, he did express some doubts. “The Virgin,” he said, “is not a chief of the post office who would send messages every day.”
The Vatican earlier this year sent a new envoy to “acquire a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation” in Medjugorje, and “above all the needs of the faithful who go there on pilgrimage”.
The envoy, however, will not be tasked with verifying the authenticity of the apparitions, because that task falls to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Pope Francis arrives in Portugal to canonise children at Fátima shrine

Image result for pope in fatima
Pontiff hopes message of young shepherds who saw Virgin Mary apparition 100 years ago still resonates with Catholics

Pope Francis has arrived in the Portuguese town of Fátima to honour two children whose visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago marked one of the most important events of the 20th-century Catholic church.
Tens of thousands of devotees lined the pontiff’s route and tossed petals as his motorcade drove past.
There was no official crowd estimate, but authorities were expecting 1 million people.
Francis is in the town to celebrate the centenary of the apparitions and to canonise illiterate shepherd children who saw them. He hopes the message of peace they reported 100 years ago, when Europe was in the throes of the first world war, will continue to resonate with Catholics.

Church groups, families and individuals have made their way to Fátima, about 90 miles north of Lisbon. Carrying candles, rosaries and roses, many have visited the statue dedicated to Our Lady of Fátima or tossed wax body parts – ears, hearts and limbs – into a fire to pray for healing.
“It is the second time I am here with a pope; first with John Paul II and now with Papa Francisco,” said pilgrim Elisabete Fradique Conceicao.
On 13 May 1917, while they were grazing their sheep, the children saw the first of a half-dozen visions of the Virgin Mary. They said she revealed to them three secrets – apocalyptic messages foreshadowing the second world war, hell, the rise and fall of communism and the death of a pope – and urged them to pray for peace and turn away from sin.
At first doubted by their parents and the local Catholic church, the children’s story slowly gained believers and was eventually accepted as authentic by the Vatican in 1930.
The children being canonised, brother and sister Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who were nine and seven at the time of the apparitions, died of influenza two years later. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who became the main raconteur of their tale, is on track for beatification, the first step toward becoming a saint. Her case could not begin until after her death in 2005.
The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the importance of Fátima lay in the fact that poor, illiterate children – not the wealthy or learned – were able to convey a powerful message of love and forgiveness at a time of war, when “the talk was of hatred, vendetta, hostilities”.

Fátima has long been associated with St John Paul II. The Polish-born pope credited the Virgin Mary with having saved his life in 1981 when a would-be assassin shot him on Fátima’s feast day – 13 May – in St Peter’s Square.
He made the first of three pilgrimages to Fátima the following May, and one of the bullets fired at him now adorns the crown of the Madonna at the shrine.
Like John Paul, Argentinian-born Francis is devoted to the Madonna, thanks in large part to the strong role Marian devotions play in the popular piety of Latin American Catholics.
In a video message on the eve of his trip to Portugal, Francis urged all faithful to join him, physically or spiritually, in Fátima. He said: “With all of us forming one heart and soul, I will then entrust you to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God.’”

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Join me at the feet of Mary, Francis asks ahead of Fatima trip

In this May 12, 2010 file photo, faithful gather at Fatima’s Sanctuary for a candlelight vigil presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis is visiting the Fatima shrine on May 12 and 13 to canonize two Portuguese shepherd children who say they saw visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago. (Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP.)
Join me at the feet of Mary, Francis asks ahead of Fatima trip
ROME – Wednesday evening, just two days ahead of his trip to Fatima, Pope Francis sent a video message to the people of Portugal asking them to be with him during his pilgrimage, whether physically or spiritually, as he presents flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“I need to feel your closeness, whether physical or spiritual; the important thing is that it come from the heart. In this way, I can arrange my bouquet of flowers, my ‘golden rose,’” he said in the May 10 video message.
“I want to meet everyone at the feet of the Virgin Mother.”
In the message, Francis said he had received many messages asking him to come to people’s homes, communities and towns during his visit, but that he was not able to accept, as much as he would like to.
He also thanked the various Portuguese authorities for being understanding about his decision to restrict his trip to only the usual events associated with a pilgrimage to Fatima, such as praying the rosary at the prayer vigil and visiting the Chapel of the Apparitions.
“Only a few days remain before our pilgrimage, mine and yours, to the feet of Our Lady of Fatima,” he said. “These are days of joy in expectation of our encounter in the home of Mary our Mother.
“It is as the universal pastor of the Church that I would like to come before the Madonna and to offer her a bouquet of the most beautiful ‘blossoms’ that Jesus has entrusted to my care (cf. Jn 21:15-17),” he continued.
And this means everyone around the world, “none excluded,” he explained. “That is why I need to have all of you join me there.
“With all of us forming ‘one heart and soul’ (cf. Acts 4:32), I will then entrust you to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God’ (Apparition of June, 1917).”
In the video, Francis called the meeting “our pilgrimage,” the motto for which is ‘With Mary, a pilgrim in hope and in peace.’ The program for the visit contains many opportunities for prayer and conversion of heart, he said.
“I am happy to know that in anticipation of that blessed moment, the culmination of a century of blessed moments, you have been preparing yourselves by intense prayer,” he noted. “Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts. I thank you for all the prayers and sacrifices that you offer daily for me. I need them, because I am a sinner among sinners.”
Through prayer, he said, he receives light to his eyes, which “enables me to see others as God sees them, and to love others as he loves them.”
The pope makes the two-day pilgrimage to Fatima May 12-13 to celebrate the centenary of Mary’s appearance to three shepherd children in 1917.
During the trip, the pope will also celebrate Mass, presiding over the canonization of two of the child visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marta.
“In his name, I will come among you and have the joy of sharing with everyone the Gospel of hope and peace,” he concluded his message. “May the Lord bless you, and the Virgin Mother protect you!”
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