9x3 and 9x3 = 54

08-13-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we continue our prayerful walk through the Jubilee Year of the Centenary of the Apparitions at Fatima, we have a few more opportunities to ask Our Lady’s assistance. First, our Bishop has asked all of us to join him in a 54 Day Rosary Novena. But “Father,” you say, “a novena is nine days.” Correct. But this is actually 6 Novenas: three in petition and three in thanksgiving. Anyone who has ever done this will tell you it is very powerful prayer tool. The 54 Day Rosary Novena begins on August 21 (the Vigil of the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and concludes on October 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. The three intentions the Bishop requests are: The Sanctity of all Human Life, especially an end to violence against all innocent and vulnerable human lives; the strengthening of the vocation of Marriage; and Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life. Those three novenas are then followed by three novenas of thanksgiving, believing what we ask prayerfully that we shall receive as God sees fit.

So join with our entire Diocese and pray a Rosary for the 54 Days! Who knows what can happen when God’s people take seriously the call to prayer? And don't be discouraged if you find it challenging or you encounter interference. This is a prayer tool that evil despises, and all the more so, if an entire Diocese is praying it all together. Recall that the August Apparition of Our Lady to the children did not occur as planned on August 13, as the Mayor of the town had the children detained. He tried to bully them into admitting they lied, threatened to boil them in oil if they withheld the Lady’s "Secret," and jailed them to keep them from their appointment with the Lady on the day of the fourth apparition (August 13). The children held firm and so our Lady appeared to them on August 19.

The next opportunity for us to honor Our Lady will be the arrival of The Centennial Pilgrim Fatima Statue for North America sent by Pope Francis, at our Parish on October 26-27. This is a great opportunity for each family to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. More details to follow. And finally, on October 13, at 6PM at the Cathedral, the Bishop will solemnly consecrate our Diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

All these opportunities are chances for us to implement the teachings of Fatima - namely, that we should do penance for the conversion of sinners, pray for peace in the world, and to strengthen the family against all attacks that threaten it from within and from without.

“Mother of all individuals and peoples, you know all their sufferings and hopes. In your motherly heart you feel all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, that convulse the world: accept the plea which we make in the Holy Spirit directly to your heart, and embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord those who most await this embrace, and also those whose act of entrustment you too await in a particular way. Take under your motherly protection the whole human family, which with affectionate love we entrust to you, O Mother. May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and of hope.” Pope John Paul II: Act of Entrustment

Love, Fr. John B.

P.S. Please also plan to join us Tuesday, August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a Holy Day of Obligation this year). It is also the 19th anniversary of the founding of the Servants of God, so this is a very special day for our five Sisters. Bishop Olmsted will celebrate Mass here at 7PM. Let us all thank God for sending us these five consecrated women who model their lives on the Sorrowful Immaculate Heart of Mary “by faith, with charity.”

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