Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
“At a time when the world has never needed more the clear and courageous witness of the Church, she appears not to know herself, her identity in Christ Who comes to us through the unbroken Apostolic Tradition,” Cardinal Raymond Burke said. “The urgent need of a new evangelization of the world, made possible by a prior new evangelization of the Church herself, has never been more urgent. The Message of Our Lady of Fatima has never been more timely.”
The Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta made this statement during his major address at the Fatima Centennial Summit in Dallas, Texas recently. The Summit’s theme: “Heavenly Solution to Our Modern Day Crisis.”
“The Summit was the largest Fatima centennial gathering in the United States this year,” Thomas McKenna said in an official announcement. “I’m just thankful to the Blessed Mother. She made this happen.” McKenna is the founder and president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family which organized the Oct. 6-7 event. Catholic Action lay apostolate also directs the Operation Storm Heaven Rosary Crusade.
This major Fatima Centennial event drew nearly 700 people to honor Our Lady of Fatima and hear a lineup of nationally known speakers share edifying information and inspiring insights on a ton of topics related to Fatima and its message.
Headed by Cardinal Burke, the speakers included Father John Anthony Broughton, General Vicar of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal; Father John Trigilio, host of EWTN’s Web of Faith; David Carollo, executive director of the World Apostolate of Fatima, the Blue Army; Karl Keating, founder of Catholic Answers; John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews; and Dick Lyles, CEO of Origin Entertainment.
As keynote speaker, Cardinal Burke, who is also one of the episcopal advisors of the lay apostolate Catholic Action for Faith and Family, gave the main address at the banquet on Saturday evening.
Highlights of Cardinal Burke Address
“The reality of the apostasy of faith in our time rightly profoundly frightens us. Our love of Christ and of His Mystical Body, the Church, makes clear to us the gravity of the evil which seeks to rob us of our eternal salvation in Christ,” Cardinal Burke told participants in his address, “Fatima: Heaven’s Answer to a World in Crisis.”
He reminded that Our Lady appeared to the shepherd children at Fatima “when the world was in a terrible crisis, a crisis which threatened its very future, a crisis which, in many and frightening ways, continues to threaten the future of man and of the world. It is a crisis which has also infected the life of the Church…” he said.
Cardinal Burke detailed the problem of apostasy, both explicit apostasy of abandoning the faith or implicit by claiming to be Catholic yet not living according to the faith or living it empty of real meaning, and also brought in the meaning of heresy.
“It is clear that apostasy, either explicit or implicit, leads hearts away from the Immaculate Heart of Mary and, thus, from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the only font of our salvation,” he said. “In that regard, as the Message of Fatima makes clear, the pastors of the Church who in some way cooperate with apostasy, also by their silence, bear a very heavy burden of responsibility.”
Briefly mentioning the Third Secret, Cardinal Burke pointed out, “As horrible as are the physical chastisements associated with man’s disobedient rebellion before God, infinitely more horrible are the spiritual chastisements for they have to do with the fruit of grievous sin: eternal death. As is clear, only the Faith, which places man in the relationship of unity of heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, can save man from the spiritual chastisements which rebellion against God necessarily brings upon its perpetrators and upon the whole of both society and the Church.”
“For that reason, the Third Secret is directed, with particular force, to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church,” he said. “Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant doctrine and practice, whether through explicit declarations and actions or through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach, and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church’s pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.”
The cardinal noted how Pope St. John Paul II “addressed the grave evil of apostasy in our time on various occasions.” And he shared numerous quotes from several of John Paul II’s works, such as Christifideles Laici.
Thus the new evangelization is necessary and obliges the Church herself and individual members of Christ’s Mystical Body “to purify themselves of the ways of thinking and acting which draw them away from Christ, which constitute a kind of implicit apostasy,” the cardinal added. He quoted John Paul II concerning the laity’s responsibility and said, “Our Lady of Fatima urged the exact same daily conversion of life for the salvation of souls and the salvation of the world.”
Cardinal Burke did not hesitate to be clear about this current problem. “We think, in our time, of the practical apostasy of Catholics who support and promote programs and laws which are contrary to the moral law, or who are silent and inactive about them. We think about the ever more diffuse confusion and error in the Church about the foundations of the faith — about the Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony, about the truth of the Holy Scriptures — and of the moral life, about acts which are always and everywhere evil and about the just punishment of sin, including eternal damnation for the soul which remains unrepentant of grievous sin. And all of this, in many places, not only goes uncorrected by the clear announcement of the Church’s constant teaching and practice, but is condoned and even promoted by those charged by Our Lord with the care of souls.”
He reminded about Our Lady of Fatima regarding the reality of hell.
But the cardinal said Our Lady of Fatima told about the peace God wants to give to individual souls and to the world, and Our Lady teaches this peace will come through two ways: consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays of the month.
“Our Lady indicates the spiritual remedy of the deplorable situation in which the world and the Church find themselves,” he said, and she “foretold the terrible physical chastisements which would result from the failure” to fulfill these two ways.
“The Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays represents the heart of a coherent life lived in Christ, a union of hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We have the assurance of Our Lady that her Immaculate Heart will triumph, that the truth and love of her Divine Son will triumph. We are called to be agents of her triumph by our obedience to her maternal counsel.”
Despite these critical times, we’re not to be discouraged but to remember the Immaculate Heart of Mary “never ceases to beat with love for us, the children whom her Divine Son gave to her, as He was dying upon the Cross. With maternal care, she draws our hearts to her glorious Immaculate Heart, in order to take our hearts to His Sacred Heart, and she instructs us, as she instructed the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast of Cana in their distress: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’”
Let us take up the way of the way of prayer, penance and reparation which Our Lady of Fatima teaches us,” he said.
While we’re to be “realistic about the great evils which beset the world and the Church,” we’re to remain “full of hope in the victory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for which we battle each day with the incomparable spiritual armaments of prayer and penance, and of reparation for sins committed.”
Cardinal Burke ended by urging all to “hear the Message of the Mother of God anew in our hearts, and let us respond to it with all our heart.”
Other Major Saturday Events
During the day before the powerful words of Cardinal Burke, not only did all the participants, among them many seminarians, listen to the talks on Fatima and Our Lady’s requests, The cardinal celebrated a Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus followed by a solemn Rosary procession around the church lead by the International Pilgrim Virgin statue which has traveled the world continuously for decades. Right then everyone either started or continued to fulfill Our Lady’s request because October 7, the second day of the conference, was also a First Saturday.
Cardinal Burke also celebrated Mass at the Irving Convention Center and led the Rosary, priests heard confessions throughout the day, and the conference concluded with 15 minutes of meditation on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary before the international Pilgrim Virgin Statue so that everyone could take part in the First Saturday requests of Our Lady of Fatima.
The cardinal sat among participants in the front row to listen to all the speakers too.
Father Trigilio addressed the crisis in the priesthood related to the Fatima message.
Carollo showed Our Lady of Fatima’s requests as the way to triumph. Westen spoke on “modern culture on a highway to hell.” And Lyles stirred interest with his preview of a feature film on Fatima his company plans to release in 2018.
This two-day conference also launched McKenna’s new book, The Fatima Century: How the Pilgrim Virgin is Changing Our Generation. Because he spent more than 35 years traveling across the United States and around the world accompanying the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue, McKenna shares many stories of the spiritual conversions or solace to struggling souls he witnessed happen through Our Lady’s visits. He also has much more on the message of Fatima connected to the mission of the Fatima Statue Fatima in his book on how Our Lady’s message relates to any reader, even of different faiths. (Watch for a review of it in the near future).
Overall, the Fatima Centennial Summit stressed the need to bear the fruit of Our Lady’s Fatima message and bring to fruition her requests for prayer, principally the Rosary, penance and conversion. It’s the only path to true peace.