* The Power of Hail Mary
* Our Lady's Crown at Fatima Speaks of Human Life and the Family
* Satan Attacking Youth Today
* Discovering True Christian Fatherhood
* Tolerating Dissent No Longer Tolerable
* Knights of the Eucharist
* Wounds From Absence of Family Father
* Stigmatist Francis of Escanaba
* Fatima Spiritual Heart of Portugal and Altar of the World
* The Rosary and the Imagination
* The Vestibule of Heaven Near Hanceville
* Father Hero Died As He Lived
* Science & Religion
* Questions & Answers
* Fatima Family Forum
* News Briefs & Comments
* Editorial - Why Does the Fatima Family Apostolate Exist?
Why Does the Fatima Family Apostolate Exist?
The Immaculate Heart Messenger (IHM) is the vehicle of communications for the Fatima Family Apostolate International (FFAI) which was founded approaching 25 years ago. This Apostolate was founded at the suggestion of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Its magazine is published both in the United States and in the Philippines. It is popular in Australia.
The IHM exists to share the "Good News" for the education and formation of family members. "Good News" here refers to the teachings of the Gospel and traditional teachings of the Church. Some publications considering themselves "Catholic" seem to glory in the negative. We see our mission as being positive to educate and form in the authentic Catholic faith.
The Holy Family appeared at Fatima during the Miracle of the Sun. Thus when the Pontifical Council for the Laity encouraged me to develop an Apostolate on Fatima, independent of other apostolates already existing, the inspiration came to focus on the family and its sanctification. Cardinal Edouard Gagnon wrote the preface for the first edition of the Charter for the Fatima Family Apostolate. Our Lady was a Catechist at Fatima, teaching by words and through its events the basic truths of the Catholic Church. The Fatima message, since 1930, has won the declarations of Pope after Pope, in stating: "Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospel."
When Bishop Alberto Amaral of Fatima, Portugal, came to our national FFA Congress the first time, he said: "Fatima is a call for the holiness of the family." He added that he approved of this Apostolate for it teaches and forms in harmony with the Vatican, the Magisterial teachings of the Church. When Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Family, came from the Vatican he said, "My presence says more than my words that I approve of the Fatima Family Apostolate." He also said, "Fatima and Family go together." He also wrote approval of "Mary's White League" which is most popular with younger children.
"EVANGELIZATION" sums up in one word why this Apostolate exists and what its work is. It means a zealous proclamation of the Gospel in order to bring others to Christ and his church. Pope Paul VI said: "Evangelizing means to bring the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new, 'Now I am making the whole of creation new'" (Rev. 21:5). Father John A. Hardon, S.J., for many years theological advisor to FFAI, wrote: "Evangelization includes three distinctive elements: 1. Interior conversion to Christ and his Church; 2. Affecting not only the individual person but the whole culture; and 3., as a result, Changing this culture and its institutions to make them Christian and Catholic."
The Second Vatican Council pointed out that parents are to evangelize their own children. The Council said "the family is the foundation of society."
In this issue we post more than usual the letters we receive. They review how the FFAI has been evangelizing families for decades now. We hope the forum letters inspire people to dig more deeply into this Apostolate. Will you help make the Immaculate Heart Messenger known to others as a majority of "Catholics" have but a superficial knowledge of their faith? They don't know what they are missing. You can't love what you don't know. You can't practice what you don't understand.
Our recent book: Eucharist: "Heaven and Earth Unite", for which Mother Angelica wrote the preface, has been our best seller the past six months. Then, with the death of the stigmatist, "Francis", the book I wrote on his life, "A Man Called Francis", has been in great demand. Short reviews on Francis are in this issue as he was a close friend to me and the Fatima Family Apostolate.
As a rule Francis never talked about himself. The editor of his diocese had met Francis, yet knew almost nothing about him at the time of his death. He interviewed me to get details for the Marquette diocesan paper. It appears that Our Lord instructed Francis in some way to cooperate with me when I was writing the book. I asked him at the time, "What do you hope this book will accomplish?" His answer: "That it touches the many people I will not be able to touch physically and personally." It apparently is. Jesus had told him: "Touch my people". That touching was occasion for healing and countless conversions. Once the book was concluded, while Francis remained close to me, he seldom spoke of his mystical experiences to me. He was with me up to twice a year when I gave retreats. We often visited by phone.
In this issue you will find pictures of Francis I never published before. His wife Gail talked to me during the time he was slowly dying. She phoned me for a long visit, shortly after his death. When God gave Francis these special charisms, He knew who his wife was. His sufferings in many ways were hers too.
As indicated in recent issues the Fatima Family Apostolate headquarters is now located in Hanceville, Alabama. John C. Preiss, President, manages it.
We will have Fatima prayers and songs, meditated ROSARY and a CANDLELIGHT PROCESSION on the eve of the two great Fatima anniversaries, MAY 12 (7 PM) and Oct 12. If you are coming to visit EWTN or the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in May or October, you will be welcome at the Hanceville FATIMA FAMILY CENTER as we have spiritual activities these evenings, the same as held at Fatima on MAY - OCT anniversaries. RJF
Cover image: Temple of the Child Jesus. At the center of the piazza the Child Jesus greets pilgrims arriving at the Shrine.