Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Fatima at 100

05-14-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we enter into the Centenary Celebration of the Apparitions at Fatima, I want to point you towards Fr. Andrew Apostoli’s book Fatima for Today. Fr. Apostoli gives a thorough account of the history, theology, and the implications of the messages for us today. I highly recommend his work and at the same time caution you that there are different groups that promote the Fatima message, and not all of them are worth your time. There are some groups that dispute that St. John Paul II revealed the full contents of the “third secret” or that the Consecration of Russia actually took place according to our Lady’s direction.

Our Lady did warn that Russia (communist) would continue to spread her errors throughout the world. She specifically asked that the Pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart so it would be converted. Since no Pope has been able to actually go to Russia, though both John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried, this is how the consecration took place:

Pope John Paul II, after consulting with Sr. Lucia (one of the three children to whom our Lady appeared), working with political movements in Poland, and joining with President Reagan to loosen the grip of the Soviets, made the consecration after experiencing what he considered to be Mary’s rescue from an assassin’s bullet.

The Consecration took place as Soviets were planning an attack on Europe after Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Holland, and Belgium agreed to accept American medium-range missiles in 1983. But on May 13th, after the Consecration, an accident at the Severomorsk Naval Base caused most of the anti-aircraft missiles to explode, leaving the Soviet Northern Fleet without its strike capacity.

And at the same time that Pope John Paul II was carrying out the 1984 consecration in Rome, Bishop Pavel Hnilica (who had traveled surreptitiously to the Kremlin in civilian clothes) joined in the Pope’s consecration along with Fr. Leo Maasburg at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Moscow where they repeated the consecration at the Church of the Dormition (Assumption) of Our Lady. Using hosts and water and wine in aspirin bottles, Bishop Hnilica and Fr. Maasburg were able to say Mass inconspicuously behind an open copy of the Soviet newspaper Pravda.

While Soviet Communism did collapse, the conversion of Russia is still an on-going challenge. I find it amazing how Russia is dominating the news these days. It seems the historical happenings of today are all somehow interwoven with the message of Fatima. So I highly encourage you to read Fatima for Today as Fr. Apostoli unravels some of the mysterious, as well as confusing, parts of the Fatima apparitions and messages.

In the meantime, in our little part of the world, we will honor Our Lady of Fatima by asking one of our families each weekend after Sunday Mass to take home the traveling image of Our Lady of Fatima for one week and keep her in their home and invite five families to pray together the Rosary and then return the statue the following weekend. More information and sign up is available on our website:

My prayer is that Our Lady will grant special blessings and graces to our Parish and our Parish families during this Jubilee. Remember the Holy Father has granted a plenary indulgence for this Jubilee Year of Fatima (until Nov. 26). In order to obtain plenary indulgences, the faithful who are truly repentant and filled with charity must fulfill the following ritual conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father. They must also pray the Our Father, the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima. The indulgence is gained by: Making a Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, or Pray before any statue of Our Lady. “The pious faithful who visit with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly exposed for public veneration in any church, oratory, or proper place during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions, the 13th of each month from May to October (2017), and there devoutly participate in some celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary.”

The elderly or the sick can pray in front of any image of Our Lady of Fatima and must spiritually unite themselves to the jubilee celebrations on the days of the apparitions, the 13th of each month, between May and October 2017. They also must offer to merciful God with confidence, through Mary, their prayers and sufferings, or the sacrifices they make in their own lives.


Fr. John B.