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By A.F. Phillips

 

“And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things!’” Romans 10:15

 

From the start, TFP/America Needs Fatima has been missionary.

At the beginning, volunteers boarded a Volkswagen van and covered thousands of miles taking the message of Fatima to homes across the continent. As the years passed, and the Volkswagen van phased out, minivans took over.

At night, after a long day on the mission, young volunteers either checked into a hotel room or accepted the charity of hosts who generously offered their hospitality.

One day, on Fatima visits in Florida, the Snowbird State, where motor homes abound, ANF full-time volunteer and custodian, Matthew Shibler, had an idea—why not a motor home?

“Rather than spending all this money on hotels and meals, why not carry our own hotel/restaurant with us,” mused Matthew.

He soon found a used motor-home with few miles on it, outfitted the vehicle with bunk-beds, decorated the interior in the spirit of ANF, and christened it “Saint Raphael,” patron saint of travelers, the angel who protected Tobias on his journey.

 

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More Cost Effective

Now on Saint Raphael II, and having learned the ropes, Matthew has the numbers. To begin with, a used motor home is almost the same price as a new minivan. Because of road wear and tear, minivans had to be bought new. Since motor homes run on diesel, used is not an issue; diesel engines go far.

Not only has “ANF on Wheels” saved largely on hotels and meals, but also on shipping. Custodians sell publications and devotional items. One of these is a thirty-inch statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Matthew remembers driving a minivan for ninety consecutive days, and the weight of inventory had to be reduced, as it was causing the steering to malfunction. Now, he has all the stocking space he needs. Whereas, previously, items had to be shipped from headquarters several times a year, now he almost never runs out of stock, and if a visit to the headquarters takes place, Matthew stocks up for a full year with many dollars saved.

There is the cost of parking the motor home in camping grounds and RV parks. But often the custodians are able to accept the hospitality of friends who offer their large driveways. One such case was that of a friend who offered his driveway, in typical Texan style, for several months while Matthew and his team did Fatima visits in the area.

At times, Fatima custodians join other efforts of TFP/ANF. One such example was the 2013 campaign for marriage in Indiana when, due to an NRA convention, hotel rooms were a minimum $120 per night. Saint Raphael housed seven of a group of thirteen. The other six were lodged in a log home, while meals came from the motor home kitchen.

“Our expenses reverted,” says Matthew. “Before, the order of expense was: lodging, food and fuel; now it is fuel, food and lodging–which order has certainly balanced the budget.” 

One of the great advantages of a motor home is the large storage space for publications and religious articles sold at Fatima home visits.

 

A Home Retreat in Which to Rest and Receive

Custodians’ lives are demanding, conducting an average of two to three visits a day, often traveling many miles in between.

It is good to have a place to call “home” where the volunteers can rest in their own bunks, relax in their own living room, enjoy a chat and a cup of coffee, read a book from a well-stocked library, or have a time of quiet prayer.

“Rest is also work,” goes the adage. Having such a place to revamp injects a new freshness and a renewed spirit into each day and each visit.

Camping grounds are often beautiful places, at times by lakes, and ANF custodians like to walk under the trees or by the water praying their daily rosaries.

Another great aspect of the motor home is that it allows the custodians to receive friends.

“People love to visit,” says Matthew. “They find it curious that a motor home, typically used for leisure, can also be used for mission.”

Maybe it is the combination of “leisure and mission” that makes the idea of the Saint Raphael ANF motor home so attractive to those who visit. They know these missionaries of Mary are doing God’s work, often for months on end.

It is comforting to think that they’ve found a way to relax their spirits so as to serve Our Lady better the next day, and the next, and the next.

Indeed, the modern-day motor home, under Saint Raphael’s patronage, has found a new purpose, and a new mission. To the surprise of many, Fatima Custodian Matthew Shibler and his team have found a new way to travel more comfortably, more economically and work more efficiently to bring Our Lady of Fatima’s statue and message to thousands of homes across America.


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 20, 2020

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that sufferin...

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September 20

 

Let us understand that God is a physician,

and that suffering is a medicine for salvation,

not a punishment for damnation.

St. Augustine of Hippo


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions

He became involved in smuggling missionaries into the countr...

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Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions

During the 17th century the Christian faith was brought to Korea through the zeal of lay persons. From the very beginning these Christians suffered terrible persecutions and many suffered martyrdom.

Son of Korean converts who were martyred during the persecution of 1839 (and beatified in 1925), Andrew Kim Tae-gon was baptized at fifteen. He traveled thirteen hundred miles to the seminary in Macao, China, and was ordained to the priesthood six years later. He traveled back to his home and became involved in smuggling missionaries into the country to spread Christianity.

During the year 1846, he was arrested with Paul Chong Ha-sang and their companions, and they were all tortured prior to being beheaded for his beliefs. Among them were a few bishops and priests, but for the most part lay people, men and women, married and unmarried, children, young people, and the elderly.

These martyrs suffered greatly and gave their lives for Christ for the religious freedom which came in 1883. Pope John Paul II canonized them on May 6, 1984, during his trip to Korea.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort...

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The Rosary, the Devil and the Queen

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, he was known for his powerful, moving sermons on the Rosary, which led people to adopt this devotion to their great benefit.

Furiously jealous of the holy man’s success with souls, the devil began to so torture Thomas that he fell sick, and was so ill for so long that the doctors gave up on saving his life.

One night, when the poor man thought he was near death, the devil appeared to him in a hideous form, coward that he is, seeking to frighten Thomas into despair.

But, making an effort, the good priest turned to a beautiful picture of Our Lady near his bed crying out with all his heart and strength:

“Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!”

No sooner had he pronounced these words, the picture came alive and extending her hand, the heavenly Lady laid it reassuringly on the priest’s arm, saying:

“Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you. Get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you did before. I promise to shield and protect you from your enemies.”

No sooner had Our Lady pronounced these words, than the devil fled in a hurry. Getting up, Thomas found that he was perfectly healed. 

Thanking the Blessed Mother with tears of joy, Blessed Thomas again went about preaching the Holy Rosary, now with renewed favor and gumption, and his apostolate and his sermons were enormously successful. 

St. Louis the Montfort concludes this story saying, “Our lady not only blesses those who say her Rosary, but also abundantly rewards those who, by their example, inspire others to say it as well.”

 


 

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In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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