Holy Eucharist Issue
* Pilgrimmage to Fatima, Portugal and Poland, August 28 - September 18, 2003
* Introduction to: The Church of the Eucharist (by Pope John Paul II)
* The Church of the Eucharist
* Priests and the Holy Eucharist
* The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration
* An Examination on Catholic Teaching on the Holy Eucharist
* Conclusion of an Era at Mid-America's Fatima Family Shrine
* A Young Spiritual Giant - Saint Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)
* The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
* At the School of Mary, "Woman of the Eucharist"
* Editorial - End of an Era - A New Beginning
* The Holy Miracle of Santarem
* Four Levels - Workbook for Mary's White League
* Fatima is for Family Holiness
* The Rose - A Marian Symbol
* Pope John Paul is Bridgin a 1000-year Gap
* Suffering Members for the Conversion of One's Country
* Fatima Family Forum
* Questions & Answers
* News Briefs & Comments
* FFA Chatterings
Editorial - End of an Era - A New Beginning
For years, people have said to me: "Some year I am going to go on one of the Fatima pilgrimages you conduct. People say it is the real way to get Fatima." They better go then this September. I've turned 75 and I have no plans to lead such groups again. This time we will go on to Poland as well. Such a unique pilgrimage, two in one, has never been offered before. It will not be offered again. The time is already late.
My bishop decided that on reaching the age of 75 I must resign as pstor. When you read this I'll be living in Hanceville, Alabama, near Mother Angelica's Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Poor Clares' Our Lady of the Angel's Monastery. This move ended my term going into 19 years at St. Mary of Mercy Parish in Alexandria, South Dakota. There I did something I dreamed of from boyhood. I built Mid-America's Fatima Family Shrine from the 50 some books and hundreds, perhaps thousands, or articles, etc., of the past 40-plus years. At this Shrine, which I designed and financed in this way, national Fatima Family congresses were conducted for 17 years with people participating from throughout the USA. This has ended. Now I turn to a new beginning.
Alexandria, South Dakota, is where I introduced South Dakota's first contemplative discalced Carmelite monastery, donating land and a building of the Fatima Family Apostolate to make room for the Carmelites. It was a joy.
People have asked if I was saddened in leaving a diocese where I'd served for over 48 years as a priest and a parish where I'd served for over 18 years as pastor, built a major Fatima Family Shrine, conducted national Marian Congresses, helped inaugurate a contemplative Carmelite Monastery where I was chaplain as well as pastor to the local parish. It's like asking, "Are you human?"
A pastor must obey one's bishop. In doing so God opens other doors. I see the hand of God in accepting this. My experience as a priest for just over 48 years is that when things look dark God has something in mind. He opens new doors and I must pass through them. When I began working with EWTN 20 years ago and giving retreats twice annually at Casa Maria in Birmingham, Alabama, I did not know it was preparing me to accept a new home in the south where people have made me feel welcome.
I do not look upon retirement as a time to give up active work, simply rest and recreate until the end of my life. For me it is a new beginning to prepare for eternity of doing good for souls and loving God.
At the age of 75 to move from rural South Dakota of the upper midwest is an unexpected challenge. God has His reasons. His signs given me to this seem clear. I shall continue to direct the Fatima Family Apostolate International and edit this magazine from Alabama.
Quite frankly, I don't think I've ever lost the zeal I had as young priest. I still have in my heart the yearning to save souls, to glorify God, to bring ever more souls to God in the Sacred heart of Jesus through the knowledge and love of His most Holy Mother Mary. Not to know and love Mary is to fail to know and love Jesus as we ought. Christianity without a Mother would be an abstraction.
The reason some cannot understand devotion to Mary and her Rosary is that they do not know in depth who Jesus is or the power of Mary's intercession as the Mother of God. Mary is the instrument through whom God willed to become man, take on human nature in order to save us by His death on the Cross. God required the cooperation of Mary. Thus she is sometimes called, even by the Pope, Coredemptrix. To fail to grasp Mary's role is to fail to understand much about the Incarnation and Redemption.
I cannot think of Mary without thinking of Jesus Christ. She has taught me much about her Son, about His Church, about love for souls. When anyone who considers himself to be a Christian but resists this approach, resisting balanced devotion and Marian instructions, the cause is diabolic.
I am well aware that the more one strives to imitate Jesus Christ and work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls in loyalty to the fullness of true faith and our Holy Father, the more one must suffer. The suffering comes from unexpected sources and persons. The diabolic is very real. The devil works mightily today to capture souls, destroy the effectiveness of priests and good religious and confuse the faithful. But the devil always outwits himself. This is why I've often written and preached on the good holy angels and wrote the book, The World and Work of the Holy Angels.
Study well in this issue the various articles on the different subject of Pope John Paul's marvelous encyclical, The Church of the Eucharist. Each subject of his encyclical is rich in meaning and presentation. RJF
About our cover: "Heaven's Call to the Family" is the title of Mark Sanislo's "year of the rosary" latest painting which was unveiled at our 17th National Fatima Family Congress in June. It would be good for each home to have this painting based on the last apparition at Fatima during the spinning of the sun miracle, when the entire Holy Family appeared calling the family to holiness. You can get prints: Phone Fiat Studios 763-323-9293 or write: 300 East Main St., Anoka, MN 55303.