National Catholic Register

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Have Pilgrim Virgin Statue, Will Travel

Fatima Message Touches Hearts Across the Country

BY Joseph Pronechen

Register Staff Writer

January 2-15, 2011 Issue | Posted 12/29/10 at 12:33 PM

 

The U.S. Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima, sanctioned by the Vatican, has been touring the country continuously ever since it was blessed in Fatima in 1967 by Paul VI, bringing the Fatima message to people everywhere.

Now the message has a new focus.

Since last summer, from New Hampshire to upstate New York, from Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado to Southern California, people have been called to offer up sacrifices for the reparation of sins.

“We’re trying to get everyone to make a commitment to pray and offer up sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sin,” says the statue’s custodian, William Sockey, of the World Apostolate of Fatima (formerly the Blue Army), a Vatican-recognized public association of the faithful.

With the statue’s arrival at parishes, people hear Sockey, a Fatima expert, explain the message and practical steps for carrying it out.


The Message

Before Our Lady appeared to the children in Portugal in 1917, an angel appeared three times in 1916 to prepare the children.

The angel emphasized the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, adoration of the holy Trinity, and the need to make everything we do a sacrifice, offering it as reparation for sin and the conversion of sinners. The angel told the children (and by extension, us) that doing so would bring peace to their nation.

When Our Lady appeared on July 13, 1917, she stressed the importance of reparation and gave reasons for it: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often whenever you make a sacrifice, ‘O Jesus, it is for love of you, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’”

This is the basis for the short, simple daily morning offering that’s included on a prayer card distributed by the apostolate. The front of the prayer card pictures the statue; the back lists the “Angel of Peace” prayer along with the offering.

Praying and making an offering, Sockey says, “is the simplest way every man, woman and child can participate in the salvation of the world — by offering in the simplest manner the crosses we’re going to carry anyway.”

Said Our Lady on Aug. 19, 1917: “Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.”

“The only thing that matters at the end of the world is how many souls made it to eternity,” Sockey says. “You may be saving a soul right at the verge of death by offering up that pain, disappointment, whatever.”


Parishes Changed

Fred Carlone, president of the World Apostolate of Fatima division in the Diocese of San Bernardino, Calif., will host a month’s tour of parishes in March; this will be the fourth time the statue has visited the diocese.

Carlone notes how the message resonated with people during the Pilgrim Virgin’s last visit in 2009.

“People do feel they can offer up their daily sacrifices in reparation using the simple prayer (they get), and know that whatever happened that day they can offer to God through Our Lady,” says Carlone. “Anytime you offer up your daily life, God grants us the graces through Our Lady to do more and more.”

He remembers how a mother and her two children came to several parishes on the tour.

At one of the last stops, the mother told him they had been looking for a miracle because the children’s father was in a coma from an accident.

“The woman told me Our Lady had done a miracle for them,” he recounts. “She already helped them to understand and accept whatever God wills. This mother was offering up her sacrifice and her reparation by going to accept God’s will.”

In Granby, Colo., Father Michael Freihofer is pastor of a parish composed of three churches: St. Ann, St. Bernard and Our Lady of the Snow. He’s the only priest in Grand County, an area larger in size than the state of Rhode Island.

Before every Sunday Mass and many weekday Masses, his whole parish joins him in prayer for the conversion of sinners. They started praying as a parish following visits of the statue in 2010.

Because the parish is in the Rocky Mountains ski area, they get up to 800 tourists a weekend. The prayer cards have changed those lives too.

“For the first eight weekends in a row, people asked, ‘Father, can I take this back to my parish in Missouri, to my parish in California?’” Father Freihofer recalls.

“To have Mary come out to all three churches is very significant,” says the pastor.

And the results speak for themselves. Not only are parishioners joining in prayer for reparation, but at least one-third of the active Catholic families have been enrolled in the brown scapular, a Fatima group has formed and meets monthly for dinner and to pray the Rosary, and a second prayer group has started.

Father Freihofer believes that “more people than ever in this mountainous Rockies area are praying the Rosary, and the people praying it already want to pray it better.”

A pilgrimage group also traveled to Fatima, where they obtained their own statue of Our Lady of Fatima that was blessed by Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley and now serves as the local traveling statue.

“We’re imitating what we received,” Father Freihofer notes, adding that he’s “relying on the Blessed Mother to bring more people back to church.”

Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.

Daily Offering

The World Apostolate of Fatima daily morning offering prayer card reads: “O my Jesus, I accept and bear with submission whatever suffering God will send me today, for love of you, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”


Schedule a Visit

WAFUSA.org has information on scheduled tours, how to contact your local apostolate division and how to set up a visit in your area.