Fatima at 100: The message of Our Lady for today | Jim Graves | Catholic World Report
An interview with Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., author of "Fatima for Today: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope"
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Fatima apparitions. In spring 1916, the Angel of Peace appeared to three small children—Lucia Dos Santos, nine, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, ages eight and six—for first of three times that year in preparation for six apparitions of the Blessed Mother in 1917, beginning on May 13 of that year. Francisco and Jacinta died shortly after and have since been declared Blessed; Sr. Lucia died at age 97 in 2005.
Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., is one of the world’s leading experts on Fatima. He has spoken and written extensively, and in 2010 his book Fatima for Today: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope was published by Ignatius Press.
Father was ordained a priest by Bishop Fulton Sheen in 1967. In 1987, he joined with Fr. Benedict Groeschel and six other Capuchin friars to found the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The two great focuses of his life, he said, are to see Bishop Sheen canonized (he serves as vice postulator for the cause) and to promote the message of Fatima. He recently spoke with CWR.
CWR: Why are the Fatima apparitions of such great interest to you personally?
Fr. Apostoli: When I was young, I heard a lot of talk about the requests Our Lady made at Fatima. I remember the release of the 1952 movie The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, which made a great impression on me. I grew up praying the family rosary, as Fr. Patrick Peyton advised. He was the one who said “The family that prays together stays together.” And, I think it was while saying those rosaries that there was a stirring in my heart to become a priest.
So, as I looked into the message of Our Lady of Fatima, I began to think it must be important if Our Lady wanted it. Over the years my interest has grown immensely, especially considering the sad state of our world today. It was Pope St. John Paul who said that the Church was facing her greatest spiritual struggle in her history, and most Catholics are not even aware that there is a struggle going on. There is an evil out there that desires the total destruction of Christian civilization; that’s why the message of Fatima is so important.
Also, I’m very devoted to Bishop Fulton Sheen. He was a great opponent of communism, and took great note of what Our Lady of Fatima said about the spread of communism. [“Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.”]
CWR: What are your thoughts as we approach the 100th anniversary of Fatima?
Fr. Apostoli: I do quite a bit of preaching on Fatima. I want people to know about it, and to understand the urgency of it. The Judeo-Christian beliefs on which our country was founded are being undermined. Doing what Mary has asked of us is the only thing that can reverse the decline in our civilization. She’s saying, “I’m the only one who can help you.”
While we may not be threatened by Soviet communism as we once were, we’re threatened by a new kind of communism, atheistic secularism.
CWR: Do you believe that the message of Fatima is widely known today?