Fatima on His Heart Since Childhood

The vicar general of the Marian Fathers, Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC, is the author of the Marian Press book, Fatima: A Pilgrimage with Mary. In the following interview, find out how Fr. Joe's lifelong Marian devotion led to one of the most visually stunning Marian Press titles to date.

What was the vision with the book, Fatima: A Pilgrimage with Mary?

We wanted to do something to remember the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima. It's so special to go to the Shrine and not everybody has a chance to do so. The beautiful, stunning pictures this book presents bring you there in a way that words alone cannot.

When were you first introduced to Fatima?

When I was growing up, my mother had a big statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the kitchen. We used to pray the Rosary before that statue. Then, when I was looking into becoming a priest, my mother gave me a little book about the visionaries of Fatima. The sacrifices that they had made had a big impression on me.

The first time I ever went to Fatima, I was still discerning. In fact, the first Marian I ever met face to face was a Portuguese Marian in Fatima. Through the years as a Marian myself, I have had the chance to lead pilgrimages there and visit our Marians working there.

What do most Catholics miss about the message of Fatima?

Some people might understand Fatima on only a shallow level, fascinated by secrets and miracles but never getting to the point where their hearts are converted. We end up being like the Pharisees who were on the periphery with Jesus, listening to Him but not getting the point of what He was trying to say. I think we have to try to get the point of what Fatima is trying to say, and it's saying the same thing Jesus did. We have to live a holy life, we have to be converted, we have to pray, and we have to make reparation to the Lord for so many people who ignore God. The point of Fatima is that God exists, that He is real, and that our lives are to be immersed in His love. But we have to open ourselves to receive these gifts that God wants to pour out on all His children.

At Fatima, Our Lady comes to us in a very gentle way. She asked the three shepherd children if they were willing to make sacrifices for others, and they immediately said, "Yes." They were touched by her beauty, by this message, and they were willing to do whatever it took to make sacrifices so that no one would go to hell. These children's lives were completely changed, and that's the true message of Fatima.

God expects a lot of us, but He wants to give us a great deal, too. He wants to pour out His love on us, and He wants to bring us to the point of conversion so that we can all be saints, so we can all live forever in Heaven.

What is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart?

Our Lady wants everybody to give their hearts to Jesus. There's that ancient battle from the Book of Revelation between the woman clothed in the sun and the dragon. Evil is trying to drag us all down to hell, and Our Lady is trying to bring us home to Heaven. She said that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. It's the conversion of people, it's people giving their lives over to God. It's people following the right path.

When we look at our world, we might say, "Well, it doesn't look like we're getting there." But there are some beautiful things that are happening that I think are pointing us in the right direction. For instance, in the book we talk about how nuclear war never took place. And also, in one of those secrets, it looked like the pope was going to get killed. But it seems like Our Lady preserved him.

Obviously, everybody's not converted yet. But there's been a new springtime - we have many vocations, lots of young people are interested in the faith and giving their lives over to God. Look at how many people now are interested in praying the Rosary through the work of Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, and consecrating their lives to Our Lady through the work of Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. I think the Triumph has already begun. Already people are being turned around, and devotion to Our Lady is really on the upswing. ?

To order Fatima: A Pilgrimage with Mary, visit ShopMercy.org (link below) or call 1-800-462-7426.


You might also like...

On Feb. 17 and 18, 1943, two Marian priests chose to die rather than abandon those in their care. They are Blessed Anthony Leszczewicz and Blessed George Kaszyra.

Learn about the Founder of the Marian Fathers, to whom the Holy See has assigned the title "Patron Saint of Those in Mortal Danger."

Want to be closer than ever to Heavenly Mother? Follow Fr. Dan's advice.