Mary Is on the Move

By Chris Sparks

On May 12, the eve of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's first appearance in Fatima, a Marian Helper named Judy Studer and a four-foot-tall statue of Our Lady of Fatima entered the United Nations complex in New York City.

They were expecting her.

This is no small matter.

In the present age of globalization, there are many international figures with power and influence beyond the dreams of ancient emperors, but two offices on this earth have preeminence. One is the papacy, the office of the successor of St. Peter, who serves as the Vicar of Christ, the representative of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, to all the world. The other is the office of the United Nations Secretary-General, charged with diplomatically pursuing the peace and security of the whole world.

Both of those offices are currently held by people with uniquely close connections to Fatima.

Pope Francis, for one, had his pontificate consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima when he was elected in 2013. He has subsequently consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart, a re-consecration following in the footsteps of St. John Paul II's 1984 Act of Consecration (the act that, according to Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the longest-lived of the three Fatima visionaries, was accepted by Heaven as the requested consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart).

And the current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres of Portugal, has a number of connections to Fatima, as well.

On Oct. 5, 2016, the Feast of St. Faustina in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Guterres, a former Premier of Portugal, was nominated to be the next Secretary-General of the UN. He was appointed to the position by acclamation on Oct. 13, 2016, which happened to be the 99th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Guterres took office on Jan. 1, 2017, the Solemnity of the Mother of God and the World Day of Peace. He's a practicing Catholic, who has been staunchly and publicly pro-life and pro-traditional marriage throughout his political career, even in the face of pressure from his own Socialist political party. For a decade (2005–2015), he had served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees when many refugees were Christians fleeing persecution - the sort of persecution that Our Lady had prophesied and the children had seen in the third part of the secret of Fatima.

"How is it possible?" said the Very Rev. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, provincial superior of the Marian Fathers in the United States and Argentina. "I mean, this is what is called God's Providence at work. We see it, and the only thing I can do is be grateful for that."

The statue's appointment at the UN was part of a conference titled "The Centenary of Fatima and the Enduring Relevance of Its Message of Peace," cosponsored by the Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission and the Portuguese Mission to the UN. It drew a packed house of around 600 people.

"These were not just outsiders coming into the UN for this event who would have a devotion to the message of Fatima, but also many from within the UN system," said Fr. Roger Landry, an attaché of the Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission to the UN.

Talks were given by experts including Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See's Permanent Observer at the UN; Johnnette Benkovic, founder of Women of Grace and an EWTN show host; Ambassador Alvaro Mendonca e Moura, the Portuguese representative to the UN; and others. They focused on how the Fatima apparitions modeled the roles of women and children in pursuing peace in every age, drawing from the teaching and insights of sources as varied as St. John Paul II's apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity of Women) and the UN Charter.

Throughout the event, the statue - associated with many reported miracles - stood front and center. A small reliquary, containing first-class relics of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, was nearby.

This was all a dream come true for Judy Studer, a retired nurse and grandmother who lives with her husband in Rhode Island.

"Almost 15 years I've prayed to go to the UN," said Judy, a longtime Marian Helper and custodian of the UN Pilgrim Virgin Statue, "and I truly know that Mary today touched their lives. ... She touched many, many people there today."

"For me, it's a miracle," said Fr. Kaz, who was in attendance. "It's a sign of Our Lady at work. Fatima's not just something that took place 100 years ago. It is affecting today, 2017, when secularism rules, where any form of signs of religiosity is not 'acceptable,' but she is here."

Yes, this is no small matter.

Many within the Church await the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, promised by Our Lady in the second part of the secret of Fatima, given on July 13, 1917. Signs like those mentioned above indicate that the Triumph may be on its way. And there's more.

Pope Francis traveled to Fatima to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and to, in his words, "entrust to Our Lady the temporal and eternal fate of mankind." During Pope Francis' visit, he canonized the two youngest Fatima visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto (see page 12), and identified himself as a "bishop robed in white," a clear reference to the third part of the secret of Fatima.

On May 13, while the Holy Father was in Fatima, the UN Pilgrim Virgin Statue and relics of the newly canonized saints went to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, the seat of the archdiocese containing the so-called "Capital of the World," for a day of Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, and prayer. At the day's peak, the cathedral was full of people drawn from many nations, walks of life, and ethnicities, the full cross-section of humanity come to honor the Lady who promised them peace.

The signs of the times are pointing toward Our Lady being active in the world today, taking steps to signal to the Church and the world that her Triumph may be imminent. The consecration has been made. But because the consecration was made late, World War II happened and the Cold War ensued, including the destruction of many nations by revolution, civil war, and external pressures from both the USSR and the USA. The Church has faced persecution greater than ever before in her history, and endured the loss of faith by so many lapsed and apostate Catholics, especially through the triumph of materialism and secularism across the West and a globalized world.

The secret of Fatima has come true, and is still coming true. We live in hope of the final fulfillment of the promise of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the coming of an era of peace in the world, but we must do our part, following in the footsteps of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta, of Sr. Lucia of Fatima and the Holy Fathers. We must pray the daily Rosary for peace and make the First Saturdays of reparation, make our consecrations to Our Lady, and spread devotion to her Immaculate Heart alongside devotion to Jesus' Sacred Heart. We must answer the calls of Fatima in order to see an era of peace.

Our Lady is on the move. Let us put on the full armor of God and get moving, as well.

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