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Photo book about Fatima anniversary

As a way to keep alive the memory of the Vermont celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, the Burlington Diocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima (Blue Army) has produced a commemorative book with photographs of events throughout the statewide Diocese.
 
It is dedicated to the late Roland and Clairette Berard, longtime active members.
 
“If this book were not done, this tour would fade into the distant past and be gone very quickly,” commented Richard A. Gravelin of St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington, former interim secretary and current president. “Having this little book as a remembrance will help keep this work alive a little longer.”
 
To celebrate the centennial, the Burlington World Apostolate of Fatima spread the message of peace, reconciliation and reparation throughout the state with a series of  events focusing on Our Lady.
 
The state statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to more than a half dozen parishes beginning in May at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilmington and concluding in October at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
 
“We believe that Our Lady is with us in helping her to spread the message for peace, and that God will grant the grace of conversion to sinners,” Gravelin said.
 
He is gathering photos people took on the tour as well as critical documents from the planning and implementation. He hopes to have 60 books published through an on-line publisher.
 
The book includes copy and about 60 or 70 color photos including photos of churches, windows, Marian processions with people, celebrants and priests.
 
For more information about the book, call is 802-862-2240. A PDF version can be downloaded from the attachment below.
 
  • Published in Nation

EWTN coverage of the centennial anniversary of Fatima

(EWTN) – As part of EWTN’s coverage of the centennial anniversary of Fatima, the Network will broadcast two special events on Friday, Oct. 13.
 
At 10 a.m. EWTN will broadcast the 15th annual Worldwide Children’s Eucharistic Holy Hour live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. This annual event spiritually unites the children of the world before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The children will make reparation to console Jesus and pray for their families, their countries and the world.
 
Father Chris Alar, director of the Association of Marian Helpers of the Immaculate Conception, will preside at the Holy Hour. For more information, go to childrenoftheeucharist.org.
 
That evening, Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl will lead a historic candlelight rosary procession and a prayer of entrustment for individuals and families to Our Lady of Fatima’s Immaculate Heart. EWTN will broadcast the event live from the basilica at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13.
 
“Gather your families, wherever you are on the evening of Oct. 13, if possible, tune in to EWTN, light a candle, pray the rosary and the prayer of entrustment, spiritually uniting with Cardinal Wuerl,” said Connie Schneider, director of the two events. “We hope Catholics worldwide will join in from their dioceses, parishes, homes, nursing homes…everywhere!”
 
A Family Entrustment Pamphlet is available at childrenoftheeucharist.org/product/beautiful-8-page-booklet-includes-consecration-family-youth-children  to help families follow along with the prayers during this special event.
 
 
 
  • Published in World

'Miracle of the Sun'

(EWTN) – Friday, Oct. 13, marks the 100th anniversary of the capstone of the Fatima apparitions: the Miracle of the Sun, where the sun appeared to hurtle towards the earth. Even the secular newspapers of the time reported on the phenomenon – although they never would have credited it to Our Lady of Fatima.
 
Hear Our Lady’s words and watch a recreation of this miracle in the seventh episode of the EWTN series “The Message of Fatima.” It airs at 8:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13, and 10 a.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 14.
 
Another way to celebrate the anniversary is to tune in to EWTN’s many Fatima specials. For a complete listing of dozens of Fatima-related movies, documentaries, and news shows, please go to ewtn.com/fatima/programming.asp. Some of these programs will be streamed live on Facebook, facebook.com/ewtnonline, so be sure to “like” our page to watch.
 
Among the devotional highlights will be:
 
Our Lady of Fatima: International Rosary and Candlelight Procession: Live from Fatima, Portugal. Airs 4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 12.
 
Holy Mass in Honor of Our Lady of Fatima: From the Shrine in Portugal. Airs 5 a.m. ET and noon ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
Worldwide Children’s Holy Hour, Candlelight Procession, and Consecration of the United States of America: Live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Airs 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
Among the special movies, documentaries and news shows will be:
 
Vaticano: Examine the event that shaped history; explore the city of Fatima, relive the canonization of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, and much more. Airs 11 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 12.
 
Fatima and the Popes: An historical look at the connection between the Fatima apparitions and the Popes. Airs 10:30 a.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
Fatima - A Message of Hope: A documentary examining the prophetic revelations and the great miracle of Fatima, with insights from leading experts and family members of the three shepherd children. Airs 5 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
Queen of Heaven: The Consecration – My Immaculate Heart will Triumph: A look at how Our Lady of Fatima's prophecies about World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union came to pass. Airs 6:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 13.
 
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 36th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 268 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
 
 
  • Published in World

Rowing to draw attention to Fatima apparitions

Rowing an 18-foot-long open canoe solo along the Intracoastal Waterway from Miami to New York City, Greg Dougherty hopes to draw attention to the centennial of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal.
 
The craft named the Santa Maria de Fatima packed with bags of food, clothes, emergency gear and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima looks both cramped and small for such a long voyage.
 
His 1,400-mile nautical pilgrimage began June 13 and as of Aug. 14, he was 10 miles south of Myrtle Beach, S.C., he told Catholic News Service. He also said he hoped to arrive in New York by late September or early October.
 
The Southern Cross, newspaper of the Diocese of Savannah, caught up with Dougherty in early August on the 47th day of his pilgrimage. He had arrived at Thunderbolt Marina in Thunderbolt.
 
Dougherty's canoe outfitted with tandem sliding seats enables him to use his legs and arms as he repeatedly pulls on the oars throughout the day. His planned crewmate for the journey, Gerald Sargent, a member of the British Royal Marines, was called back to active duty leaving Dougherty on his own.
 
Rowing on his own "is exhausting," said Dougherty, "and that is a good thing." At night, he sleeps in the forward section of the two-man canoe.
 
The monotony of rowing all day has become an opportunity for prayer and meditation. "When I'm alone out there I'm praying," said Dougherty, "I say the rosary. I pray the whole time, especially in severe weather."
 
He described getting through a thunderstorm that came through just south of Savannah.
 
"All I could do is to position the boat and aim the bow into the wind. My oars became an anchor, and I just wouldn't let the storm move me, and so I just held my own until it passed," he said. "It's like treading water. Once the storm passed, there was still another storm moving in. So I found my way into some marsh grass and let that storm pass over."
 
In calmer weather, his small craft attracts attention both on the water and when he pulls into a marina to have a hamburger and restock his supplies. Mark Bouy, a member of Blessed Sacrament Church in Savannah, met Dougherty at a marina in St. Augustine, Fla., and offered Dougherty a room, a shower and good food when he dropped anchor in Savannah. He spent three restful days with his host.
 
Dougherty is former president of Our Lady's Blue Army/World Apostolate of Fatima USA in the Diocese of Covington, Ky. The lay group's purpose is to promote the message of Fatima and to encourage the faithful to pray the rosary every day as Mary requested.
 
Mary appeared to three shepherd children -- Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their cousin Lucia dos Santos -- in Fatima in 1917. The apparitions began May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
 
In his interview with the Southern Cross, Dougherty quickly pointed out the purpose of his pilgrimage is to spread awareness of Fatima. He said, "I don't want anyone to heap more onto this trip than what it is -– just a way to lead people to Christ through His mother's message."
 
"I've met so many who have fallen away from the church," Dougherty said. "What's encouraged me on this trip is the curiosity of our Protestant brothers and sisters. I think the ocean or the rowing intrigues them. Often they'll ask me what Fatima is, and I'll explain that just as the Lord sent His angels and prophets, in 1917, He sent His mother to deliver what is known as God's peace plan for the world.”
 
"And don't you know," he added, "the majority of hearts have been opened to that message. Lives have been touched, so this has been a beautiful journey so far."
 
  • Published in Nation

Fatima’s message still relevant

In 21st-century arrogance, some might say, “Seriously! You are bringing up Fatima when there is strife around the world; when there is incredible division in the country; when poverty and problems in the healthcare system abound! And moral standards are deplorable.”
 
Yes. That is right. Are we any different from the world a century ago toward the end of  “The Great War?” The message of Fatima, given to three children tending sheep in a town in Portugal beginning in May 1917, is really quite simple: Pray and repent; do penance. Without such a conversion, there would be another great and tragic war. That prophecy surely was fulfilled in World War II.
 
The world has not undergone the conversion that was called for at Fatima. In fact, conflict and hostility have grown. Terror attacks happen somewhere in the world almost daily. A number of nations now have at least some nuclear weapons capability. Sporadic use of chemical weapons has continued despite international treaties banning them. Conventional anti-personnel weapons have been directed at civilian populations. Multiple genocides have plagued the world over the last century. Disrespect for the sanctity of human life and human dignity abound in most parts of the world. Rather than an increase in prayer, repentance and conversion there has been a significant apostasy throughout the world, especially in the industrialized West.
 
Accompanying that apostasy have been pervasive exploitation of persons through social and economic systems that enrich a small segment of the world population and impoverish others. The natural environment has undergone significant devastation, increasing the burden on the poor.
 
So what does Fatima have to do with us today? In a word: Everything! And Fatima still beckons us, as a world, to repent. It will only be with prayer, repentance and conversion that the world will realize peace.
 
Questions of justice and peace were prominent themes in the prophets. Isaiah wrote, “Justice will bring about peace; right will produce calm and security” (Is 32:17). These themes appear throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament, along with charity, truth and freedom.
 
Church teaching has repeatedly pointed out the inextricable links among truth, justice, charity, peace and freedom. Pope Paul VI said it very succinctly and directly: “If you want peace, work for justice.” (1)
 
Vatican Council II teaches, “The social order…must be founded on truth, built on justice and animated by love; in freedom it should grow every day.” (2) And the U.S. bishops have affirmed: “We are all called to be a Church at the service of peace, precisely because peace is one manifestation of God’s word and work in our midst.” (3)
 
Some, very properly, might ask what concrete things they can do to have a positive impact on a world in turmoil. I suggest four specific steps:
 
1. We can pray daily for peace, justice, truth and charity and for the conversion of sinners. We can do some penance, some sacrifice in reparation for our own sins and those of others.
 
2. We can model moral behaviors in our own lives through truthfulness, justice, love, peace and purity.
 
3. We can share our faith with others.
 
4. As citizens, we can communicate with our elected representatives, senators and other public officials regarding specific matters of justice, peace and the common good; and we should hold them accountable if they fail to deliver.
 
Finally, we need to bear in mind that it is 100 years since The Blessed Mother’s Fatima messages. God may bless us with a profound transformation in the direction of world peace or with a series of incremental improvements over a period of years, culminating in a more peaceful and secure world. Our participation in all of this simply requires that we remain true to our prayer and our other efforts.
 
Ultimately, the outcome is in the hands of God.
 
      _________
 
 
1 Message of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, for the Celebration of the Day of Peace, Jan. 1, 1972.
 
2 “Gaudium et Spes” #26.
 
3 “God’s Promise and Our Response,” U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1983

-- Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
 

'Blue Army' in Vermont

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions to three shepherd children in the Cova da Iria area of Fatima, Portugal.
 
These apparitions began on May 13, 1917, when 10-year-old Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. She encouraged praying the rosary and told the children there would be wars worse than World War I and several nations would be annihilated if people failed to pray the rosary. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
 
Since then, a veritable army of believers has taken up the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
 
Among them is Clairette Berard of Our Lady of Grace Church in Colchester, an original member of The Burlington Diocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima, formerly known as The Blue Army.
 
The local chapter – one of 75 divisions throughout the United States -- began in 1974, and Berard has served as president, secretary and treasurer. She visited the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal in 1983 and keeps a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the dining table of her Essex Junction apartment.
 
“So many times she has answered my prayers. I can’t remember them all,” Berard said.
 
Since 1947 “The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima” (as it was previously known) has been working to spread the message of Fatima. In 2005 Pope St. John Paul II renamed the organization and declared it a public international association of the faithful, like the Knights of Columbus. He credited Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life following an assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
 
The Burlington Diocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima has some 200 members throughout the state, among them Helen Morrie of Our Lady of Grace Church in Colchester, a members since 1992 and a past secretary of the group.
 
“It’s about devotion to Mary, regardless of her title. There is only one Mary, one mother of God,” she said. “To me, I feel the comfort of our Blessed Mother…. I feel she protects me.”
 
As members of the World Apostolate of Fatima, they fulfill Our Lady’s request to offer up their daily sacrifices as penance, pray the rosary daily while meditating on the mysteries, wear the scapular of Mount Carmel and participate in First Saturday devotions.
 
Anita Cote, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Albans, was active in the World Apostolate of Fatima even before it was organized in Vermont; she and her husband had a “prayer cell” in their home to foster the devotion.
 
The Blessed Mother’s messages at Fatima appealed to her, and the Fatima devotions have been a blessing to her and to her family.
 
In addition to personal devotions, members of the apostolate participate in various activities including an annual Family Day at St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte. Many participate in parish devotions to Our Lady of Fatima, including those associated with the state pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima that goes from parish to parish or special visits of a traveling international statue.
 
The state statue of Our Lady Fatima is to visit seven major churches in the diocese with the theme Fatima Centennial Vermont Tour for Peace 1917-2017. Other parishes may request a visit from now until Oct. 13.
 
In 1986 the four-foot statue was purchased by Alberta Audette on a pilgrimage to Fatima, and the state group uses it still for visits to churches, monasteries, convents, elder care homes and chapels for people to experience the grace and blessings from Our Lady, while learning and live the message of peace, hope and reparation of sins, as she taught the three children in Fatima in 1917.
 
Berard laments that there had been more members and more activities in the past, but as membership decreases, members get older and the pace of a busy world takes its toll, many younger people don’t know about the devotion. So members invite others to participate in devotions and activities, continually trying to share the love of Our Lady of Fatima. She hopes the 100th anniversary of the apparitions will generate renewed interest in the devotion.
 
“When you have an organization … it’s nice to gather in a group and have camaraderie,” Morrie said.
 
There are no dues to belong The World Apostolate of Fatima, but donations are accepted for programming, Masses for deceased members and operating expenses.
 
Asked why the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima has remained for 100 years, Morrie responded, “All the good that is happening through prayer through Mary.”
 
Indeed, members of The World Apostolate of Fatima do not worship Mary but “go through Mary” to Jesus, she explained. “Without Mary there would be no Jesus. If Mary had not said ‘yes’ [to bearing the Son of God], where would we be today?”
 
Yorini Maria Undyantara of St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington is president of The Burlington Diocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima. “As I am going on the journey in faith with the Blue Army group as the president, I see the thirst in people when the [statue] makes a special visit to each parish. Like a food supplement, she gives an extra boost to pray more intimately” and to receive the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation and to participate in Eucharistic adoration, she said. “Sometimes the visual presence of a mother, especially the mother of Jesus, can give comfort to some people who are in need of special intercession from Jesus through Mary, and they hope she will persuade her son. One can easily relate to her immaculate, gentle heart of a mother.”
 
For more information about The Vermont Chapter of The World Apostolate of Fatima, call Clairette Berard at 802-878-3214.
 

Fatima children canonized

Standing before the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Pope Francis canonized two shepherd children who saw Mary at Fatima, but more importantly, he said, they heeded the call to pray for sinners and trust in the Lord.
 
"We declare and define Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto as saints," the pope said May 13 as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims broke out in applause before he finished speaking.
 
The relics of the young shepherd children, encased in two thin golden crosses, were placed in front of the famed statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the "lady dressed in white" as the siblings and their cousin described her.
 
The Marian apparitions began May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their 10-year-old cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
 
After contracting influenza, Francisco died April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, while Jacinta succumbed to her illness Feb. 20, 1920, at the age of 9.
 
The children, beatified by St. John Paul II in 2000, are now the youngest non-martyrs to be declared saints by the Catholic Church.
 
Before his arrival at the shrine, the pope met privately with Portuguese Prime Minster Antonio Costa and then made his way into the sanctuary that houses the tombs of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta and their cousin Lucia, who died in 2005 at the age of 97. The diocesan phase of her sainthood cause concluded in February and now is under study at the Vatican.
 
Pope Francis stood for several minutes in front of the tombs with his eyes closed and head bowed.
 
In his homily at the canonization Mass, the pope reflected on the brief lives of the young sibling saints, who are often remembered more for the apparitions rather than for their holy lives.
 
But it is Mary's message and example, rather than an apparition, is important, he told the crowd, which Portuguese authorities estimated at about 500,000 people.
 
"The Virgin Mother did not come here so that we could see her. We will have all eternity for that, provided, of course, that we go to heaven," the pope said.
Instead, he continued, Mary's messages to the young children were a warning to all people about leading "a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures."
 
"Such a life -- frequently proposed and imposed -- risks leading to hell. Mary came to remind us that God's light dwells within us and protects us," the pope said.
The hopeful message of Fatima, he said, is that men and women have a mother and like children clinging to her, "we live in the hope that rests on Jesus."
 
Pope Francis called on the pilgrims to follow the example of heroic virtue lived by St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, particularly their insistent prayer for sinners and their adoration of "the hidden Jesus" in the tabernacle.
 
This continual presence of God taught to them by Mary, he said, "was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering."
 
By following their example, the pope said, Christians can become "a source of hope for others" and counter "the indifference that chills the heart" and "worsens our myopia."
 
"We do not want to be a stillborn hope! Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives," he said.
 
It is with the light of hope, the pope added, that the Church can radiate "the true face of Jesus" and reach out to those in need.
 
 
  • Published in World

Pope's video message about Fatima

In a video message to the people of Portugal, Pope Francis said he is visiting Fatima as a pilgrim of peace and to entrust the world to Mary's immaculate heart.
 
"I come to you in the joy of sharing with you the Gospel of hope and peace," the pope said in the message released by the Vatican May 10.
 
Pope Francis was to embark on a two-day visit to Fatima May 12-13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary.
 
During the visit, the pope is to preside over the canonization ceremony of two of the young seers, Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta Marto.
 
In his message, the pope thanked the Portuguese people and authorities for understanding his "decision to limit the visit to the moments and acts proper to a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima" at "the feet of the Virgin Mother."
 
"I know that you wanted me to come to your houses and communities, your villages and cities," he said. "Needless to say, I would have liked to accept, but it isn't possible for me."
 
At the site of the apparitions, the pope said he intends to present Mary with a "bouquet of the most beautiful 'flowers' that Jesus entrusted to my care: that is, my brothers and sisters from all over the world who were redeemed by His blood."
 
"I will give you all to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: 'My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God,'" the pope said.
 
Pope Francis said he was grateful to know that the people of Portugal are preparing to accompany him on the pilgrimage through prayer, which "makes our hearts grow and prepares us to receive God's gifts."
 
"Prayer illuminates one's eyes to know how to see others as God sees them, to love them as he loves them," the pope said.
 
  • Published in World
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