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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 Is her message outdated?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 January 17, 2021

People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they lo...

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January 17

 

People hate the truth
for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth.
They love truth when it shines warmly upon them
and hate it
when it rebukes them.

St. Augustine of Hippo


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony’s parents died before he was twenty leaving him in...

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St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony was born in 251 in the village of Koman, south of Memphis in Egypt. Anthony’s well-to-do parents died before he was twenty leaving him in charge of a younger sister, and the owner of a considerable estate.

In 272, wishing to leave all to follow Christ, after securing his sister’s support and upbringing, he distributed his holdings among the poor, and retired to a life of solitude. He lived a life of penance, sleeping on a rush mat on the bare floor, eating and drinking bread and water. The devil was allowed to attack him grievously, on one occasion subjecting him to a beating that left him for dead, only to be saved by friends.  Anthony emerged victorious from all these trials.

At the age of thirty-five, the holy hermit moved from his solitude in the vicinity of his native village, to a location across the eastern branch of the river Nile where he made his abode in some ruins on the summit of a mountain. There he lived for twenty years, rarely seeing any man except one who brought him bread every so often.

St. Athanasius, his friend and first biographer, speaks of Anthony as not only spending his time in prayer and meditation but also in making mats. He also gardened.

At fifty-four, being sought out by men who wanted to follow his way of life, Anthony founded his first monastery in Fayum in a series of scattered caves, which he visited occasionally.

In 311 as religious persecution again broke out under Emperor Maximinus, Anthony left his solitude to give courage to the martyrs in Alexandria. When the persecution abated, he returned to his previous solitude. He later founded another community of monks near the Nile called Pispir, though he continued to live on his mountain.

Years later, at the request of the bishops, Anthony again journeyed to Alexandria to confute the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ. All ran to hear the holy hermit, and even pagans, struck by the dignity of his character, flocked around him. Heathen teachers and philosophers often sought him out, and were astounded at his meekness and wisdom.

Anthony died at age 101 surrounded by his spiritual sons in his hermitage on Mount Kolsim. His last words were, “Farewell, my children, Anthony is departing and will no longer be with you.” Thus saying, he stretched out his feet and calmly ceased to breathe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

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

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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