Newsletter N.º 82 – December 2005

JESUS Prince of True Peace

Help us to understand that the only way to build peace is to flee in horror from evil and to pursue goodness with courage and perseverance. (Prayer of Pope John II, Christmas 2004)

Mindful of the many natural disasters as well as the continuing conflicts that beset the world in these times we implore God’s mercy for all through the powerful intercession of Mary Immaculate. We pray for the protection of our families and the grace of reconciliation with God and one another where this is needed. We THANK YOU, our devoted Friends of Fatima, for your loving support of our Dominican Rosary Community. As always our Christmas Novena and Triduum of Masses will be offered for your intentions. May the Holy Family bless you at this Christmas and everyday of the New Year!
Mother Prioress and Sisters










The beauty of Family and Mary’s Plan

At Christmas, the beauty of family shines forth, a reflection of the light and beauty of the Holy Family on that first Christmas night in Bethlehem. In a poor stable the shepherds found an extraordinary Family a Virgin Mother, Her Chaste Spouse and the Divine Child. From here hope springs anew because with the birth of the Divine Child in Bethlehem the Holy Family becomes the model, the support and the hope of every family both natural and spiritual.This hope is real, it is true and we must hold fast to it because today, as we know, many families are suffering greatly. There are forces at work to disrupt, to mar the beauty of family. These forces are not new. But as a result of the militant atheistic materialism of which Our Lady warned in Fatima in July 1917, they have been more intensely and relentlessly active. The Most Holy Virgin told the children: “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world…”

In Pope John Paul II – A Life of Grace, Renzo Allegri writes:
“The Communists saw men and women who steadfastly loved their families as a danger to their efforts to dismantle society and religion. The government controlled the flow of work and school schedules with the aim of separating parents from their children as much as possible. The workday began at 6:00 or 7:00 AM, so preschool children had to be brought to daycare centers run by the state…A permissive abortion law was promulgated to make abortion a means of birth control.”As Our Lady had warned, these errors – these efforts to dismantle society and religion – have now spread almost unchecked throughout the world. Today, nearly 90 years later, traditionally Catholic countries in the western world see many of their young people casually accepting divorce and remarriage, abortion, contraception, co-habitation, trial marriages and many other gravely immoral practices. Despite growing up in Catholic families, the moral consciences of many seem to be switched off or paralyzed in error. But Allegri continues: “Wojtyla realized he needed to counter these policies with activities that would reinforce family ties and constitute strong reference points based on the moral and spiritual values of family. The time for pious exhortations was over. The people needed to be informed about their enemy and, above all, to understand the underlying foundation of their convictions.” Young Fr. Wojtyla’s method was to “analyze a situation objectively and then develop a plan leading straight to the goal”. And so, with the sanction of his Bishop he began to form young students in their faith, meeting in small groups on a regular basis. These groups were initially called “little family”. He became their teacher, catechist, preacher, mentor and, in a word, their spiritual father. The years proved that Fr. Karol Wojtyla’s plan worked! Until his death, Pope John Paul II continued his plan, now called World Youth Day.
Like young Fr. Wojtyla, parents, teachers, priests and bishops, enlightened by prayer, realize that solutions to today’s societal breakdown – and the family is the basic cell of society – will not come with haphazard efforts or emergency interventions alone. Renewal will come through prayer and proper formation beginning with the youngest members of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Isn’t this precisely what happened in Fatima? The Mother of Jesus instructed three small children, teaching them the Christian way of life: prayer, loving sacrifice, with the promise of Heaven. This took place just as the errors, sunk in the atheistic ideology to which Our Lady referred, were beginning. What the children learned they immediately put into practice. These little ones were called to transmit to the world a Message, a heavenly plan for peace and salvation at a most crucial time in history. At the centre of this plan, which we can call Mary’s plan, is daily prayer, specifically the prayer of the Rosary. Mary’s plan at Fatima could be summarized thus:

Believe in God, Adore Him, Hope in Him, Love Him!
Pray the Rosary everyday… it is the Prayer of Peace because in this prayer through and with Mary we “contemplate the face of Christ” Prince of true Peace.
Cease offending God by sin… “He is already so much offended”…Obedience to His Commandments assures our true freedom…JESUS obeyed His Father unto death so that we might be free!
Offer prayers and sacrifices…
offer all the difficulties of daily life for love of Jesus in reparation and for the conversion of sinners…“Many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and sacrifice for them.”

Look to Mary, rely on Her help…“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” Practice the devotion of the Five First Saturdays in Her honour.

Mary is our Mother! As the Immaculate, Maternal Heart of the Holy Family, She knows the beauty of family and She wants all of our families to share in that same beauty. Her plan is God’s plan and even small children can follow it, as we can see in the lives of the Little Shepherds.This plan can restore the beauty of family where it is lost and reawaken consciences that may be asleep. At the heart of a family there must be love – self- sacrificing love. At the heart of Mary’s plan is Love- God’s infinite, merciful Love for each one of us. That merciful Love, which will lead us straight to the goal, eternal union with Him – our Heaven!

The Eucharist in the Lives of the Little Shepherds…

Four years before the Apparitions, at the age of six Lucia was «permitted to receive her First Holy Communion. She relates: … “I had the good fortune to be the first one to receive. As the priest was coming down the altar steps, I felt as though my heart would leap from my breast. But he had no sooner placed the Divine Host on my tongue than I felt an unalterable serenity and peace. I felt myself bathed in such a supernatural atmosphere that the presence of our dear Lord became as clearly perceptible to me as if I had seen and heard Him with my bodily senses. I then addressed my prayer to Him: ‘O Lord, make me a saint. Keep my heart always pure, for You alone.’Then it seemed that in the depths of my heart, our dear Lord distinctly spoke these words to me: «The grace granted to you this day will remain living in your soul, producing fruits of eternal life.» I felt as though transformed in God.



Francisco’s story is slightly different. He longed to receive First Holy Communion but it was only on the eve of his death that the Parish Priest came to hear his confession and on the following day brought Holy Communion. He told Lucia, “I am going to Confession so that I can receive Holy Communion and then die. I want you to tell me if you have seen me commit any sin, and then go and ask Jacinta if she has seen me commit any.” The following morning after receiving Holy Communion, he said to Jacinta: “I am happier than you are, because I have the Hidden Jesus within my heart…”
For sometime he had showed his great love for the Blessed Sacrament – the ‘Hidden Jesus’-as he used to say. When he was ill, he often told Lucia: “Look! Go to the church and give my love to the Hidden Jesus. What hurts me most is that I cannot go there myself and stay awhile with the Hidden Jesus.”
“One day,” Lucia tells us, “I brought Jacinta a picture of a chalice with a host. She took it, kissed it, and radiant with joy she exclaimed: “It is the Hidden Jesus! I love him so much! If only I could receive Him in Church! Don’t they receive Holy Communion in Heaven? If they do, then I will go to Holy Communion every day. If only the Angel would go to the hospital to bring me Holy Communion again, how happy I would be!” Sometimes on returning from church, I went to see her and she asked me: “Did you receive Holy Communion?” And if I answered in the affirmative, she said: “Come over here close to me, for you have the Hidden Jesus in your heart.”Jacinta was taken to Lisbon to be treated in the hospital there. After enduring great sufferings she arrived close to her death. The Chaplain promised to bring Holy Communion on the following day. It was not to be. That very night Our Lady came to take her to heaven where she began her eternal Communion with Jesus.

…and The Eucharist in our Personal Lives

In Faith we cannot receive Holy Communion without first preparing ourselves. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that: “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion” (CCC 1385) St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience before receiving Holy Communion 1Cor 11:27-29.
Priests, and others sadly lament that the lines of persons receiving Holy Communion are consistently far longer than those who come to the sacrament of Reconciliation. Why is this? St. John says: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn1:8-9).Many today, while living in situations or relationships that deeply offend the Heart of Jesus, continue to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. The Angel said to the Little Shepherds as he offered the Chalice to Francisco and Jacinta: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” (3rd Apparition of the Angel)As we pray and console Our Lord, we entrust all to His gentle and merciful love. St. Therese said: “Yes, I feel it; even though I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go, my heart broken with sorrow, and throw myself into Jesus’ arms, for I know how much He loves the prodigal child who returns to Him:”Just as we prepare the inner garment before receiving the Lord Jesus, the Church asks us to prepare the outer garment as well.
“To prepare for worthy reception of this Sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.”(CCC 1387)
The clothing we wear should reflect our awareness of the sacredness of our body. “Didn’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” St. Paul asks (1Cor:16-17). Jesus does not expect us to purchase expensive clothing but He is honoured when we take care to approach Him with respectful and dignified attire. We can look to Our Lady and St. Joseph for guidance in this, since as Christians we do not seek to attract by our clothing but by our way of life.Thus prepared, we go forward with joy to receive Christ, our Saviour in this Sacrament of Divine Love. Jesus gives Himself to us totally in this Sacrament: He comes with all of His Divine love, wisdom, gentleness, truth, patience….and fills us with Himself. As St. Therese also said: “It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes to us each day from Heaven; it’s to find another heaven…the heaven of our soul, made to His image, the living temple of the adorable Trinity!”

 

The precious Relics of St. Therese are visiting each Diocese of Portugal 28 October – 14 December 2005

Oh, St. Therese, Doctor of the Church,
pray for all the Friends of Fatima!

Christmas 2005 Dear Rosarians,

With joyful hearts we unite with all of you in giving thanks and praise to God for the gift of this holy Year of the Eucharist just closed. We wrote in our last bulletin that the Rosary of Mary leads us to Jesus in the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI said recently: “…the Rosary is not opposed to meditation of the Word of God and to liturgical prayer; moreover, it is a natural and ideal complement, in particular as preparation and thanksgiving for the Eucharistic celebration. We contemplate Christ encountered in the Gospel and in the Sacraments in the different moments of His life, thanks to the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. In the school of Mary, we thus learn to conform ourselves to Her Divine Son and to proclaim Him with our life itself. If the Eucharist is for the Christian the center of the day, the Rosary contributes in a privileged way to prolong communion with Christ, and it educates us to live keeping our hearts’ gaze fixed on Him to radiate on everyone and everything His Love.” (16 October 2005)
In this beautiful prayer of the Rosary we are united in faith, hope and love. The strength and the spiritual power of this prayer are so great. All the members of the Perpetual Rosary Association , from country to country, form a network of love and humble prayer that, in a silent and hidden way, becomes a powerful source of change for the good of the whole human family. Our Rosary Community thanks each one of you for your fidelity to the Rosary. Let us remain united with one another as close as the beads on our Rosary!

Your Devoted
Rosary Sisters

For those who may not already know these Fatima prayers we print them here for your benefit.

Prayers Taught by Our Lady

Whenever you make a sacrifice:
Oh My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Prayer between each decade of the Rosary:
Oh My Jesus, forgive us save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

Prayers Taught by the Angel of Peace
My God I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the out-rages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS OF FATIMA

In 1917, three little children in Fatima, Portugal described to their family and to the Parish Priest that they had seen a most beautiful Lady, who was brighter than the sun.The beautiful Lady spoke to them of prayer, penance and peace. She told them that she had come from Heaven and that they too would go to Heaven one day. But she also told them: “Many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and sacrifice for them.” The Lady asked them if they were willing to accept all the sufferings that God would send them for the conversion of sinners. The children said: “Yes”. The Lady promised them that the grace of God would be their comfort. Thus, their new life began, transformed by the grace of God, which came to them through the beautiful Lady from Heaven.In 1930, the Bishop of Fatima, in the name of the Church, approved these apparitions as coming from Heaven and that indeed the children had seen and spoken with the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of God.
Recently, Fr. Nelson Medina, OP, (www.fraynelson.com) preached to our Community. He reminded us that after Our Lady appeared to Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia they became “abnormal” children. Yes, abnormal – from the point of view of the world! But from the point of view of heaven – they became more and more normal, more prepared to ‘go to heaven’ as Our Lady promised. They began to pray together and make sacrifices that “normal” children would not make. They no longer looked only to their own good but for the good of all. Their parents had taught them about Heaven but seeing the radiant beauty of the Lady, who came from Heaven, their desire to go there increased all the more. And not only that, their desire for Heaven went beyond themselves; they prayed and sacrificed so that everyone would be able to go to Heaven too. In this way they became missionaries to the world from their tiny village of Fatima. In a short time, in the school of Our Lady, the hearts of the Little Shepherds of Fatima became deep wells of love and contemplation. Jacinta only seven years old, would say: “I love Our Lord and Our Lady so much that I never get tired of telling them that I love them.”

In her great love Jacinta made many, many sacrifices for the conversion of poor sinners as Our Lady had asked. Francisco spent his short life consoling the Hidden Jesus. One day Lucia asked him what he had been doing. He replied:

“Try to discover the beauty of the Rosary, so that it may become your faithful companion throughout life.”

Pope John Paul II
Message to Youth

“I am thinking about God, Who is so sad because of so many sins! If only I could give Him joy!” Our Lady had said that Francisco would go to Heaven but first he must pray many Rosaries. Whenever he thought of this promise of Heaven he would exclaim: “Oh, my dear Our Lady! I’ll say as many Rosaries as you want!” His vocation, his salvation was thus bound to the contemplative prayer of the Rosary. As for Lucia it was God’s wish that she remain much longer in order to make known and loved the Immaculate Heart of Mary.It’s true that some persons ridiculed them. The Little Shepherds offered this sacrifice too for the love of Jesus and prayed for them in return. At the same time, in the presence of Jacinta visitors remarked: “I don’t know what it is about her but it is good to be with her.” And one day a priest, who had questioned both Jacinta and Francisco remarked: “It’s as though one feels something supernatural in their presence. It did my soul good to talk with them!” Pope Benedict XVI tells us: “The purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” (21 April 2005)

Before Our Lady came to visit them, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia were normal, innocent, loving children, who liked to play, dance, sing and shepherd their flocks. Mary’s Immaculate presence, Her love, Her purity, Her teaching transformed their hearts and souls. They began to see their lives here on earth as a preparation for Heaven – the goal of our Christian life. Dear young Friends, “Do you really wish to go to heaven one day?” Then, with Mary, Mother of Jesus, you can begin now a new, beautiful life with Jesus Christ. Call on Mary – and Her Little Shepherds – they will support you along the way, enlighten your decisions, and teach you to love what is true, good and beautiful.
The prayers of our Rosary Community are with you every day!

A Bishop Speaks of Mary in His Life

We humbly thank His Excellency for his witness to the fruitfulness of Christian and Marian formation begun in early childhood.
“During my pilgrimage to Our Lady’s Shrine at Fatima, I had the great pleasure and privilege to visit the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary. It was delightful to spend some time chatting with the Sisters, a very international group of ladies consecrated to the Lord, exuding the joy and happiness of such a dedicated religious life.
Our conversation turned to the place of Our Lady in the life of a priest and Bishop. I could answer or comment only from my own experience.
Our Lady had been a very influential part of my childhood: through the Sodality at school, through membership of the Legion of Mary and through the practice of saying the “Hail Mary” on the stroke of each hour in the classroom. All of this formed a spiritual dependence on the Virgin Mother of Jesus. I was fortunate in being appointed to my first curacy in a parish where Our Lady was held in high esteem through devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at the weekly novena, through the Legion of Mary, the Children of Mary and the daily public recitation of the Rosary each evening of the week before Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Louis de Montfort spirituality: ‘To Jesus through Mary’ was promoted in the parish and the parishioners responded, manifesting a special love for Our Lady.
Such formation and practice made the exercise of priestly ministry closely dependent on Our Lady’s tremendous help. One was convinced, and it was true, that Our Lady’s help was essential to energizing the priestly service, which was promoting the love of Her Son in the hearts of the people. Devotion to Our Lady has enabled me to understand more clearly Her maternal care of the Mystical Body of Her Son and Her special love for bishops and priests, who share sacramentally in the Sacred Priesthood. I thank Her sincerely for her protection throughout my priestly life as a priest and bishop over 57 years.”

+ Charles J Henderson
Area Bishop Emeritus in
the Archdiocese of Southwark
26 September 2005

“LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME…

…and do not stop them…” The disciples had tried to turn the children and, those who brought them, away from Jesus. This became the occasion of one of Jesus’ most important instructions: “I tell you solemnly anyone who does not welcome the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
(Mk10:13-15). The humility of a child, it is the key that opens Heaven’s door. On 15 October Pope Benedict XVI welcomed First Communicants and their families. 100.000 persons attended the event. The program included: prayer, catechesis, a music festival, and questions put to the Holy Father by the children. The day concluded with adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.Here are two of the questions the children raised.
- Do I need to go to Confession each time I receive Holy Communion even when I commit the same sins?. The Pope said: “…
Confession is only necessary in the case of a serious sin, but it is very helpful to confess regularly in order to foster the cleanliness and beauty of the soul and to mature day by day in life.

- A child asked what she should do if her parents do not go to Mass on Sunday. The Pope replied: “… with a daughter’s respect and love, you could say to them: “Dear Mommy, dear Daddy, it is so important for us all, even for you, to meet Jesus. This encounter enriches us. It is an important element in our lives. Let’s find a little time together, we can find an opportunity…

Please understand that this is not only important for me, it is important for us all. And it will be the light of Sunday for all our family.”
In this meeting with the children the Pope reasserted the importance of formation from childhood, to help people realize that the Eucharist is the heart of the Christian life and that catechesis is not an option but essential. With so many voices trying to lead our children away from Jesus, may our voices, supported by the example of our lives, lead them all to Jesus!




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