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Crusade Magazine interviews Joseph Ferrara as he celebrates nearly two decades as a Fatima Custodian. 

 
1. Looking back at the fifteen years of Fatima visits, what do you most value in this apostolate? 

The fact that I am able to spread devotion to Mary, who is our life, our sweetness and our hope. I never cease to be impressed with how much the Blessed Virgin Mary touches each and every one of those with whom She comes in contact. She exerts a powerful influence on all those present and like a mother she seems to incline herself to attend to the needs of her children, giving them the spiritual weapons needed to confront the evils of our days.


2. How would you describe the impact of the Fatima message?

Our Lady appeared during World War I and predicted that if mankind did not amend, an even worse war would come. There was much persecution of the Faith in Portugal. The situation was desperate and the only hope would be a divine intervention of spectacular proportions. Our Lady gave a message of grave importance and a mission to warn the world of impending disasters if mankind would not heed her requests. What impact did this make on the world? For many of those present it most certainly led to conversions and even cures. For those who have taken to heart what the Blessed Mother requested in her message, it has been an enormous source of consolation and hope in a hopeless world. Sadly though, the world at large has all but ignored the merciful warnings of Our Lady and we now have a situation by far much worse than those days.

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3. Our Lady appeared almost 100 years ago. Is her message outdated? 

I believe Our Lady’s message is more pertinent and more urgent than ever. Where do we see the penance, the amendment of life she requested? With total disregard for God’s law and abandon to licentious customs, the world now finds itself in a decadence that is unprecedented. Take abortion in America alone. Since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, more than 50 million innocent lives have been brutally snuffed out. In Russia, the country Our Lady warned would spread its errors in the whole world, surveys show that among teenage girls the most preferred occupation is prostitution. It is one of the countries with the highest rate of abortion in the world. The attack on the family, through the contraception mentality, divorce and homosexual rights is also unequalled in history. With television and now the advent of the technological/computer era, the familial fabric is being eroded more than ever. Seeing how mankind is so far from what God intended could anyone even imagine that Our Lady’s plea for prayer, penance and amendment is outdated? No, I think Our Lady’s message is more urgent than ever.


4. What is the daily life of a Fatima custodian like and could you tell us in what parts of the United States you have been doing visits? Do you have a personal preference where you do the visits?

First and foremost, no apostolate will be effective and bear good fruits without an intense interior life. During the almost forty years I have been a volunteer with TFP, and more recently with the America Needs Fatima campaign, the directors and especially our founder Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira have always stressed the necessity of a solid prayer life. I am committed, along with my colleagues, to live the sacramental life and pray the fifteen decades of the rosary daily. We have all consecrated ourselves to Jesus Christ through His most holy Mother by the method taught by Saint Louis de Montfort. We often invoke the Holy Angels to come to our assistance, for example I start my day praying the “Appeal to the Angels” composed by our founder. Generous friends will often provide lodging, but many times I find myself using a hotel. In this case it is always good to have holy water on hand which I use to expel the demons and to ask God’s blessing upon my new dwelling. I do two visits daily and will do the visits for one person, for ten or for a hundred. I travel all year round and put close to 20,000 miles on my van every year. I have done visits mostly in California and the New England states and have also done some visits in the South, in Louisiana, for example. Do I have any personal preference? Yes, it’s where Our Lady wants to go!


5. Can you tell us of a couple incidents where people have been specially touched by grace or even conversions connected with Our Lady of Fatima?

While the effects of Our Lady’s presence are clearly evident, the custodians may not always see the extent to which the Blessed Virgin Mary touches souls in the visits until the repercussions make their way back to us later. For example, I was closing up a visit and was seated at the table with the man of the house when he confided to me what happened to him after a visit of mine he attended two years prior. He said, “After your visit two years ago I thought to myself, ‘If I’m going to be good, I need to pray the rosary.’ I want you to know that I am praying the rosary morning and night.” Another visit I did was also in this line. The mother of that household was so grateful for the visit, she contacted us to thank us and said, “My son was so impressed with the visit of Our Lady to our home and now he is teaching his friends how to pray the rosary.” These two cases illustrate how much Our Lady desires our conversion. At Fatima, Sister Lucy asked Our Lady for the cure of some person and Our Lady replied, “Tell him to amend his life and I will cure him within the year.”

 


 


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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 19, 2021

He asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise....

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April 19

 

A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life. 
A man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom. 
A thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. 
 
One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul 
purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption. 
 

But in the Divine plan it was a thief 
who was the escort of the King of kings 
into Paradise.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Alphege of Canterbury

Alphege hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing...

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St. Alphege of Canterbury

As a youth, Alphege became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst in Gloucestershire, England, afterwards an anchorite and later an abbot in a monastery in Bath. At thirty, at the insistence of St. Dunstan and to his great consternation, he was elected Bishop of Winchester. As bishop, he maintained the same austerity of life as when a monk. During his episcopate he was so generous toward the poor that there were no beggars left in the diocese of Winchester.

Alphege served twenty-two years as bishop of this see and was then translated to the see of Canterbury at the death of Archbishop Aelfric.

During this period, England suffered from the ravages of the Danes who joined forces with the rebel Earl Edric, marched on Kent and laid siege to Canterbury. When the city was betrayed, there was a terrible massacre, men and women, old and young, dying by the sword.

The Archbishop hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing through the crowd begged the Danes to cease the carnage. He was immediately seized, roughly handled, and imprisoned.

A mysterious and deadly plague broke out among the Danes, and, despite the fact that the holy prelate had healed many of their own with his prayers and by giving them blessed bread, the Danes demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release. As the Archbishop protested that the country was too poor to pay such a price, he was brutally assassinated.

St. Alphege was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death. In 1023, the martyr's body was translated with great ceremony to Canterbury accompanied by the Danish King Canute. Although he did not die directly in defense of the Faith, St. Alphege is considered a martyr of justice.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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