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.
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 Is her message outdated?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.”
DAILY QUOTE for September 30, 2020
SAINT OF THE DAY
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.