Thursday, October 13, 2016

October 13: Fatima and the Martyrdom of St. Peter

“And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” —2 Peter 1:19.
October 13, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the startling Miracle of the Sun (the “day star” of Holy Scripture) in Fatima, Portugal. October 13 also appears to be the true date of St. Peter’s martyrdom in Rome, occurring on the 10th anniversary of the tyrant Nero’s ascent to the imperial throne—Nero, one of the most infamous, historical figure-types of anti-Christ, “the son of perdition.”[1] Since there are no coincidences in God’s designs, did this discovery reveal anything more about the Miracle or the still-hidden Third Secret Message of Fatima?
In May 1952, Margherita Guarducci (+1999), a remarkable epigraphologist and archeologist, first participated in the study of excavations below St. Peter’s Basilica, ordered by Pope Pius XII on June 28, 1939. With Pope Pius XII’s permission, she went to see the graffito (inscription on a wall) found beneath the Vatican that stated “Peter is here, within.” But it was gone, and she found that a Jesuit priest had taken it out of its original setting and carried it away, which Guarducci said was “the first of a series of mysterious episodes which sought to obscure my successive discoveries about Saint Peter.”[3]
Not until October 1962 were particular relics examined. Eventually, Guarducci was the first to determine that certain bones, found behind a recessed wall, [4] were those of St. Peter, the first Pope. She also established the date of the martyred saint’s crucifixion to be October 13, 64 A.D. [5]

In addition to many other published works detailing her investigation, she wrote “The Date of Peter’s Martyrdom” (1968), [6] of which this essay contains generous excerpts, featured in a 1996 summary extensively quoting Guarducci’s latter work. [7]
“The most authoritative text informing us of Peter’s martyrdom in Rome is the first letter of Saint Clement the Roman to the Corinthians, generally dated at about 96 AD. In its turn, Clement’s letter cannot be read apart from one famed passage of Tacitus’ ‘Annales’ (XV, 38-45), in which the historian speaks of the famous fire that flared in Rome on the night of July 18-19, 64 and of its consequences. A comparison of these two testimonies seems to show that Peter was martyred during the anti-Christian persecution campaign unleashed by Nero after the fire and that the place of his martyrdom was the Vatican's ‘horti.’[8] The information Tacitus provides is undoubtedly very authoritative because the author of the ‘Annales’ was writing not long after the events and he was able to quote eyewitnesses as well as from first-hand documents, such as the ‘Acta senatus’ and the ‘Acta diurna’—respectively the minutes of Senate sessions and the official diaries of the Roman State.
“According to Tacitus, then, the Christians whom he—as others do—describes as a ‘considerable multitude’ (‘multitudo ingens’), were condemned to death not so much for causing the fire but because they were guilty of ‘hatred towards the human race’ (‘odium human,’ generic). This was a serious charge because the identification of the human race with the empire itself meant that anyone so charged was considered an enemy of the empire.”
[N.B. When Guarducci wrote those words in 1968, and even when the 1996 summary was published, it could not be foreseen that, by the early part of the 21st century, there would arise in our contemporary lexicon the malevolent phrase “hate crime,” a resurrection of Nero’s arrogant judgment against Christians of “hatred towards the human race,” which resulted in the subsequent penalty of a cruel death.]
“The execution of the condemned, according to Tacitus’ information, took place during grandiose circus spectacles (‘circense ludicrum’), for which Nero made available his own circus in the Vatican that was the principal adornment of his ‘horti.’” Due to fire damage, the Circus Maximus—the usual site for Nero’s celebratory atrocities—was impossible. The venue had to be the Vatican circus, the only area in Rome unharmed by the infamous inferno.
Tacitus established 64 A.D. as the year of these particular events. By reviewing his chronology of events between the fire of Rome (July 18-19) and the end of the year, Guarducci determined that “the Vatican spectacles took place in the first half of October. Nor is it difficult to prove that between the end of 64 and Nero’s death on June 9, 68, there are no other periods in which there was anti-Christian persecution of the type that Tacitus and Clement describe. It is also useful to note that the period between the end of September 66 and the beginning of 68 can be excluded without doubt since that was the period of Nero’s travels in Greece.”
The First Pope’s Martyrdom:
What It Signified for Nero, an Antichrist Figure
As Guarducci explained, “But, confirming the dating proposed for the circus spectacles and, therefore, for Peter’s martyrdom, are two other important, anonymous, texts in Greek contained in a papyrus conserved in Vienna today. They are the Apocalypse of Peter and the Ascension of Isaiah. I believe that these texts (belonging to the so-called ‘apocryphal literature,’ a very common category between the end of the first century and the first half of the second which used prophetic and symbolic language to interpret historical events of the time) are so well informed on the history of the Neronian period that they must have been written not long after events in 64…After addressing Nero’s infamies, the authors of the two texts announce his punishment as imminent. According to the author of the Apocalypse [of Peter], it would be none other than Peter’s martyrdom that would mark the beginning of the emperor's end. This statement is echoed in the Ascension [of Isaiah] text which affirms that Nero’s kingdom would last for ‘three years, seven months and 27 days’ after the apostle’s death. If we calculate three years, seven months and 27 days from Nero’s death (June 9, 68), we arrive at the year 64 and October 13 to be precise: this date falls perfectly within the period in which, according to the Tacitus passage, we have set the unleashing of Nero’s persecutions.”
 “…October 13 was not just any ordinary day. It was the anniversary of Nero’s ascent to the throne, his dies imperii. Moreover, October 13, 64 was the tenth anniversary of his reign (decennalia, October 13, 54/October 13, 64).
“The dies imperii was an important date in the Romans’ official calendar at the time of the empire. Numerous sources certify that between the first and fourth centuries, it was celebrated more or less solemnly with sacrifices, feasts, contests and donations to the public by the emperor…in Rome the most important feasts concerning the person of the emperor—birthdays (dies natalis) for example, and anniversaries of his ascent to the throne—often coincided with exhibitions of bloodletting, gladiator fights, displays of the condemned (venationes)…[it was] on the occasion of these anniversaries that Jews and Christians would often be sacrificed. Thus, for example, Jews of Alexandria were sacrificed on Caligula’s dies natalis. Saint Polycarp’s martyrdom coincides with the dies imperii of Antoninus Pius and that of the Christians of Lyons with the dies imperii of Marcus Aurelius. It is highly likely, then, that the Emperor Nero…would have promoted cruel spectacles for his decennalia…he would have organized the execution of Christians who were already condemned on charges of being enemies of the empire.
“From a study of this whole series of testimonies, we can draw two significant conclusions. Firstly the hypothesis, founded on Tacitus’ testimony that Nero’s persecution in which Peter also suffered martyrdom happened in October 64, is confirmed. Secondly, it appears extremely likely that we must set the date of the martyrdom of the Prince of the Apostles at October 13 that year.”
A Second Proof
Margherita Guarducci made another stunning connection, wherein she noted “a singular coincidence” in the two apocryphal works, the Apocalypse of Peter and the Ascension of Isaiah:

“This latter work deals with the Emperor Nero. In language which is symbolic but sufficiently clear, he is portrayed as possessed by the devil and resolved to persecute the Twelve Apostles of Christ, one of whom (Peter) will eventually fall into his hands. There are other allusions to the misdeeds suggested by Lucifer to the Emperor, and finally two little sentences appear…
And he will set up his image in the sight of all the cities. And he will rule for three years, seven months and twenty-seven days.’
Guarducci wondered, “What could be the meaning of this particular indication of three years, seven months and twenty-seven days?” She simultaneously recalled: “The images set up in every city are certainly the statues of the Emperor customarily erected in the various cities of the Empire.” [9]

“And so the Ascension of Isaiah led me back to the first half of October 64, the very same when, according to my other research, the Vatican spectacle and Peter’s martyrdom would have taken place. But what is the significance of this date of October 13, which is presented as the day of the Apostle’s martyrdom? In the other prophetic book, the Apocalypse of Peter, this martyrdom is regarded as the beginning of the ruin of Nero. ‘There we have it,’ I said to myself, ‘the beginning and the end of the three year, seven month and twenty-seven day period of calamities! It opens with the martyrdom of Peter, the culminating point of the persecution, and closes with the death of the tyrant.’” [10]
In considering these remarkable “coincidences” about the first Pope and October 13, what might they mean in light of the Great Miracle and the Third Secret still hidden?
Decades before the rediscovery of St. Peter’s relic, Our Lady of the Rosary promised (on July 13, 1917) a sign for the date of October 13 of that year. [11] She also gave the Fatima children the “Great Secret” (in three distinct parts). The First Secret was a terrifying glimpse of hell. The Second Secret explained it and provided the spiritual remedy of our times to save poor sinners from hell. It also contained Our Lady’s commands and prophesied the results, dependent upon the Church’s response to them. [12]
The Third Secret’s Vision revealed an angel with a flaming sword “as if to set the world on fire,” a big city “half in ruins” (which might represent Rome or the visible Church on earth), “a Bishop dressed in white [we had the impression it was the Holy Father]. Other Bishops, priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross…Before reaching there, the Holy Father…prayed for the souls of the corpses he met” as he made his way “half trembling with halting step.” Upon kneeling at the foot of the Cross, “he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions, and a countless number of people who are killed in the same manner…” [13]
• First to be recognized is, at the least, one startling similarity between the Third Secret Vision and the Christians’ fates in pagan Rome, then the founding city of an empire of many gods before it became the center of God’s kingdom on earth (the Church).  Like the Third Secret with the death of “a bishop dressed in white,” St. Peter’s martyrdom, preceded by many others, was followed by an even a greater number after him.
—Quo Vadis, Petri? Is the bishop dressed in white (who may be the Pope) trying to escape persecution? If so, this is similar to the tradition regarding St. Peter who, in fleeing Rome, suddenly encountered at the city’s gates Our Lord. Falling to his knees, Peter asked Jesus; “Domine, quo vadis?” (“Lord, whither goest Thou?”). Jesus answered; “I am coming to Rome to be again crucified.” Peter exclaimed, “Lord, wilt Thou again be crucified?” And the Lord said to him, “Even so, I will again be crucified.” At this, Peter said, “Lord, I will return and will follow Thee.” With those words, the Lord ascended into Heaven and Peter understood that it was of his own passion that was spoken, because in it the Lord would suffer.[14]

In today’s political climate, we may reasonably deduct of what pagan nation(s) are the soldiers of the Third Secret. Today, however, the Roman situation is inversed, with recent Popes scandalously promoting the “common ground” of false religions and, by pastoral practices, turning the visible Church into the ancient Pantheon of the gods.
Though surrounded with relics of martyred saints, Rome seems to have forgotten that the first Catholics died because they, who would neither deny Christ and the true faith nor pay homage to false gods, had fallen into the hands of an insane ruler abiding in that same city, a man recognized as possessed of the devil, and who has ever since been viewed as an anti-Christ figure. For Nero and for all of ancient Rome, the first Pope’s death was—or so they thought—the decisive victory, the seeming death knell for that odious sect called “Christians,” who were everywhere hunted for their alleged “hate crimes”— a term, we must remember, is two thousand years later resurrected.
• Second, although the Madonna’s words explaining this Secret remain suppressed, we know from Sr. Lucia that the Third Secret is “in the Gospel and the Apocalypse. Read them!” [15]
Fr. Sylvester Berry’s examination of the entire Apocalypse interprets a chilling scenario which appears to describe our own times. In explaining Chapter 12, he wrote, in part:
“…St. John outlines the history of the Church from the coming of Antichrist until the end of the world…In this chapter, he shows us the true nature of the conflict. It shall be a war unto death between the Church and the powers of darkness in a final effort to destroy the Church and thus prevent the universal reign of Christ on earth.
“Satan will first attempt to destroy the power of the Papacy and bring about the downfall of the Church through heresies, schisms and persecutions that must surely follow…he will raise up Antichrist and his prophet to lead the faithful into error and destroy those who remain steadfast…The Church, the faithful spouse of Jesus Christ, is represented as a woman clothed with the sun.
“…In this passage there is an evident allusion to some particular son of the Church whose power and influence shall be such that Satan will seek his destruction at any cost. This person can be none other than the Pope to be elected in those days. The Papacy will be attacked by all the powers of hell. In consequence the Church will suffer great trials and afflictions in securing a successor upon the throne of Peter.
“The words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians may be a reference to the Papacy as the obstacle to the coming of Antichrist: ‘You know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed.’” [16]
• Third, the October 13, 1917 Miracle of Fatima was, as witnesses testified, the “dance of the sun” and repeated three times, with many likening its movements to a “a wheel of fire, “a bicycle wheel,” a “captive ball of fire,” etc. For ten to twelve minutes, the people stood transfixed in wonder, before their amazement turned to terror as the sun suddenly crashed toward the earth. The thousands gathered there, expecting the end of the world, cried out to God and the Virgin Mother.  Then, as the people wept and prayed aloud, the sun returned to its place in the heavens.
Like the Great Secret and the Miracle of Fatima, the Great Revolt of modern times is “one” in three parts: 1517 (Protestant Revolt), 1717 (birth of Masonry, which led to the French Revolt), and 1917 (Bolshevik Revolt). The Third Secret of Fatima, “in its known contents” as Cardinal Ratzinger phrased it in 1984, allows us to reasonably deduce that the Virgin came to warn the Church that mankind had entered a critical juncture in history−specifically, the “revolt” [literally, “apostasy”] that must come first, as foretold by St. Paul. [17]
Thus we see that October 13, the day of the great Miracle of the Sun (occurring on St. Peter’s martyrdom), was a sign of God’s justice and mercy. The Miracle is described as a sign “that reveals the saving victory of the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse…the great eschatological sign given by God to our times, so that we will not deserve the rebuke that Our Lord made to the Jews: ‘You know how to read the face of the sky, but you cannot read the signs of the times’ (Matt. 16:4).” [18

Copyright Marianna Bartold 2016. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. This article was published in the October 2016 issue of Catholic Family News.
About the Author: Marianna Bartold is the author of Fatima: The Signs and Secrets and Guadalupe: Secrets of the Image. The founding publisher of The Catholic Family’s Magnificat and editor of Sursum Corda (now Latin Mass) magazines, she also digitally publishes traditional Catholic classics for Kindle. Readers are invited to visit her main Facebook page, Keeping It Catholic.

[1] 2 Thess. 2:3. (Douay-Rheims translation of the Holy Bible, wherein St. Paul infallibly states: “Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,” and which includes this explanatory note: “A revolt: This revolt, or falling off, is generally understood, by the ancient fathers, of a revolt from the Roman empire, which was first to be destroyed, before the coming of Antichrist. It may, perhaps, be understood also of a revolt of many nations from the Catholic Church; which has, in part, happened already, by means of Mahomet, Luther, etc., and it may be supposed, will be more general in the days of the Antichrist.”)
[2] An epigraphologist is an expert in deciphering ancient inscriptions.
[3] 30 Days magazine, February 1990, p. 51. Cited by Fr. Georges de Nantes, “The Truth about St. Peter’s Tomb,” The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century website []
[4] I could find only one source that claims St. Peter’s bones were unearthed—incredibly—on October 13, 1941, but other sources only say that the year was 1942, giving no specific month and date. Piotrowski, Fr. M. “Did the Apostle Peter Die in Rome?” Excerpts published on Catholic Bridge []. Originally published in Love One Another magazine (Spring, 2003 Edition). N.B. For the first time, the relics were publicly displayed, in Rome, on November 24, 2013.
[5] Guarducci, Margherita as quoted by Ricciardi, Giovanni. “Peter’s Martyrdom—A.D. 67 or 64?,” 30 Days magazine, Issue No. 3 (1996). Guarducci was careful to point out, “The traditional date of Peter’s martyrdom is the year 67. This is in contrast with information that Peter was martyred during the great wave of persecution under Nero which can only have happened in the year 64.” In the article, she is again directly quoted when she proceeded to explain why.
[6] Guarducci, Margherita. “La data del martirio di san Pietro,” in La Parola del passato: Rivista di studi antichi, No. 267, Naples, Italy,1968. (The Date of Peter’s Martyrdom, in Words from the Past. Antiquity Studies Review).
[7] Ricciardi, Giovanni. “Peter’s Martyrdom—A.D. 67 or 64?,” 30 Days magazine, Issue No. 3 (1996). []
[8] “Horti” (from whence comes the English word “horticulture”) were, in the main, expansive and attractive areas, originally intended for rest and recreation, in ancient Rome. However, Guarducci noted: “It would be an error to think that this vast area was completely covered by true and proper gardens with rows of flowers, fountains, statues, and cages full of vari-colored birds. The region near the Tiber may have looked something like that, but the rest of the plain and the montes vaticani must have included large stretches of fields, forests and even sterile, uncultivated patches.” Guraduccci, The Tomb of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica website [].
[9] Guarducci, Margherita. The Tomb of St. Peter [Hawthorn, 1960]. The work first appeared in Rome in 1958 in three massive volumes under the title of I graffiti sotto la Confessione di san Pietro in Vaticano. Cited by Fr. Georges de Nantes, “The Truth about St. Peter’s Tomb,” The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century website []
[10] Guarducci, cited by Ricciardi, op. cit.
[11] Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words: Sister Lucia’s Memoirs [Fatima, Portugal: Postulation Centre, 1976 edition]: p. 165.
N.B. At the child Lucia’s request for a sign, Our Lady promised: “In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
[12] Ibid., p.167. “You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them [poor sinners], God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
“The war [WWI] is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.” 
“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.
“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace [era of peace, in another translation] will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc.” (The last line is the opening paragraph to the Third Secret Message, wherein Our Lady explains the Vision, which was released by the Vatican in June, 2000.)
[13] The Message of Fatima, as issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Vatican website.
[14] Edmundson, George. The Church in Rome in the First Century (London, 1913).
[15] Fellows, Mark. Fatima in Twilight. [Niagara Falls, U.S. and Canada: Marmion Publications, 2003]: p. 295.
[16] Berry, Rev. E. Sylvester. The Apocalypse of St. John.  [Lapeer, MI: KIC, 2015. Kindle edition republished from the original 1921 edition.]
[17] 2 Thess. 2. 
[18] Kondor, S.V.D, Fr. Louis, Seers of Fatima bulletin, July-August 1975. [Emphasis added.]

Friday, October 7, 2016

Third Lightning Strike of St. Peter’s Basilica: What Does It Mean?

Yes, it happened again. This morning in Rome, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, a lightning bolt hit the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.
“The bolt hit the dome of St. Peter’s at approximately 9:20 am., as a strong rainstorm passed through Rome. Vatican police confirmed the strike. No damage was reported. 
Those close to the Vatican, from Swiss guards to local shop owners, felt the shock. 
“I was in the shower and heard what sounded like a loud thunder clap which lasted a few seconds and seemed to shake everything. I knew it was storming but it sounded more like an earthquake than a thunderstorm,” said one resident.

Most of us will remember that lightning twice struck St. Peter’s dome when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation of the papal throne. The date of his announcement? February 11—the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

What Does It Mean?
To answer that question, we need to review a bit of history with a “Catholic conscience,” as Hilaire Bellloc coined the term.

First: Did you know that October 7 was originally the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mother of Victory?

To commemorate the date of October 7, 1571 of the Catholic Armada’s victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto, Pope Pius V introduced in 1572 the “festem BMV de victoria” (Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mother of Victory). This same Pope had earlier called all Christians to ardently pray the Rosary, for the Muslim threat had reached epic proportions. With constant supplications for the Virgin’s intercession, coupled with the great battle at Lepanto, the threat was turned back.

Two years later, the new pope, Gregory XIII, changed both the title and the date: The “Feast of the Holy Rosary” was to be celebrated on the first Sunday of October. At the time, the privilege of celebrating this feast was only granted to all churches with a Rosary altar.  Later, Pope Clemens XI extended the feast to the universal Church.

Pope St. Pius X returned the feast day to its original date, October 7. In the early papacy of Pope John XXIII, the name was changed to “Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary.” In 1969, the name was again changed to “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Today, the feast is celebrated as a mandatory memorial.

Second: As previously mentioned, Pope Benedict XVI announced his upcoming resignation on February 11, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  On that very day, lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s basilica—not once, but twice.

Let's consider: What was the main message of Lourdes? It was three-fold: The daily Rosary, “Penance, penance, penance!” (as Bernadette quietly repeated during one apparition), and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where Our Lord is truly present.  This is known by Our Lady’s “request” for a “chapel” and “Let processions come hither.”

There is yet another message of Lourdes, often overlooked as intended only for St. Bernadette: “I do not promise you happiness in this world but only in the other.” We , too, must offer, as our penance to God, our faithful adherence to daily duty (which has a two-fold direction: our duty as a Catholic and in of one’s state), as was proven by the life of the humble Bernadette.  The same message about adherence to “daily duty” and accepting the sufferings that God allows or sends was repeated at the Fatima apparitions, first by the Angel Guardian of Portugal and, years later, by Our Lord to Lucia.

The Sign of Lourdes. After the parish priest of Lourdes directed Bernadette to ask for a specific sign (the blooming of the wild rose bush under the niche where the Lady stood), the Virgin directed the 14 year old Bernadette to a hidden spring, inside the Grotto’s confines and the River Gave. In following the Lady’s command, “Go to the spring, drink of it, and wash yourself there,” Bernadette was at first confused. She saw no spring, so she took a few steps toward the River Gave, when the Lady gently interrupted her, “No, the spring yonder” and indicated a particular spot. Bernadette went to it and felt impelled to dig into the ground. As a small amount of water came up, she rubbed her face with the mud, and also ate of the nearby wild plants, as Our Lady also told her. To the eyes of others, Bernadette’s actions appeared to be insane, and so she was called. In other words, for obeying a simple command of the Virgin which, to others, made no sense, the 14 year old saint was subjected to loud, public ridicule and humiliation. 

But the child’s obedience to the Lady’s command brought forth a miracle. While the uncovered spring’s source is natural, the supernatural graces imparted through it are not. Since the year 1858, the water of Lourdes has brought to many the graces of spiritual conversion or restored bodily health, granted by God through the intercession of the Lady, who eventually revealed, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The miraculous spring of Lourdes is a “sensible sign” (that is, a sign that one can perceive through one or more of the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, or scent).

As I point out in my book (Fatima: The Signs and Secrets) when comparing Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, and the Rue-de-bac: “Lourdes is the first of modern apparition sites which drew onlookers. St. Bernadette Soubirous stated that ‘the Lady’ who came to her simply appeared in the Grotto niche−but when pressed for details, she said that a ‘golden cloud’ within the niche quickly preceded the Lady’s appearance. The people who came to Lourdes during St. Bernadette’s apparitions would testify to the saint’s demeanor during her ecstasies, but none reported any sensible signs attesting to the Vision’s presence.”

Third: Such was not the case at Fatima, Portugal, and which (for many reasons) I have long described as “the crown of all Marian apparitions.” The first apparition of the Virgin occurred in May, 1917 and the only ones present were the three child visionaries. By June, word spread and people came, increasing in numbers, month by month.

It was also in June that the first “sensible sign” was seen by onlookers:  a light cloud, traveling from east to west, serenely settling over a young holmoak tree upon which “the Lady” stood. The same cloud, after resting on the tree during the entire time of the Apparition, rose and departed from whence it came−toward the east.

What is truly incredible is that the visionaries themselves did not see this cloud.  Over the course of five months, witnesses were graced with even more signs. The faithful were convinced that “the Lady” was the Virgin, but she did not announce her identity until October 13, 1917—the day of the promised sign, the Miracle of the Sun. On that day, the Madonna stated very simply: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”

The Signs at Fatima

As I also address in my book, “witness testimonies reveal the following ‘sensible signs’ seen at Fatima over the course of five months” and then I explain the meaning of each of these signs, section by section:

“• A delicate white cloud, traveling from east to west, serenely settling over a young holmoak tree. The same cloud, after resting on the tree during the entire time of the Apparition, rose and departed from whence it came−toward the east.

“• In July (the month in which the Virgin gave the children a Great Secret), the cloud (mentioned above), three times curling and rising into the air during the whole time of the Apparition−as though invisible thurifers were liturgically incensing the Vision.

“• Claps of thunder, either as the Lady arrived or as she departed. (The day was clear and sunny.)

“• Flashes of light, seen only by the three children, as the Vision approached the small holmoak tree.(Again, the weather was fine.)

“• The ground of the apparition site momentarily trembling, like the briefest of earthquakes.

“• The branches and shoots of the young holmoak tree mysteriously bending to the east after the Apparition departed.

“• Atmospheric changes of the sky’s luminosity, similar to a solar eclipse, or changes of unusual color, from yellow gold to all the colors of the rainbow. Some people reported seeing stars in the sky at solar noon.

“• A relieving drop in temperature, during the hottest days of summer, accompanied by a cool fresh breeze.

“• Small, white objects described as stars, roses, or doves gently falling from the sky, only to disappear before touching the ground.

“• A globe of extraordinary light that glided, from east to west, descending toward the small holmoak tree.”

The Biblical Explanation of the Signs
of Thunder and Lightening
For the purposes of the current subject (lightening striking the dome of St. Peter’s), below I’ll share more excerpts from my book, which refer to the signs of lightning and thunder of the Fatima apparitions, and which were seen and heard on clear, sunny days:

● In July, the month in which the Virgin Mary gave the three child visionaries the Great Secret of Fatima in its three distinct parts, a “large clap of thunder” was heard just seconds before the eldest child, Lucia, suddenly jumped up from her kneeling position, exclaiming, “There she goes! There she goes!” as the Lady departed. The thunder shook the ground, so that a small arch placed by the apparition site “trembled as if in an earthquake.  

● In August, when the children were not present at the apparition site because the mayor had abducted them, a great crowd gathered in anticipation of solar noon, the usual time of Our Lady’s appearance. When the hour arrived, the people heard an extremely loud boom of thunder, which so badly frightened them that many scattered and ran, thinking they would be killed.  

● A flash of lightning, following the thunder, was also seen in August, garnering the attention of the now-silenced crowd. This “flash,” always seen by the children, served as the sign of the Virgin’s approach   but had never been previously perceived by the people.

In the Scriptures, the sound of thunder, the appearance of lightning, or the trembling of an earthquake announce a direct manifestation from the Lord or of the Lord. Thunder denotes God’s “voice”−i.e., His irrevocable declaration of His truth, mercy and judgment: “The Lord shall thunder from heaven: and the Most High shall give forth His voice.”   (Here it should be noted again that only twice was thunder heard at Fatima−in July, after the Great Secret was divulged, and an even greater “boom” in August when the plotting mayor kidnapped the children. Recalling that thunder denotes God’s voice, often in judgment, we should also remember that Our Lady would, in August, tell the children, “If you had not been taken away to the City, the miracle would have been greater.”)  

Lightning is the sign of God’s divine majesty and His wisdom and power in His wonderful works, His miracles, and His judgment.  In the Book of Exodus, thunder and lightning together announce the Holy Presence of the Lord God immediately before He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses: “And now the third day was come, and the morning appeared: and behold thunders began to be heard, and lightning to flash, and a very thick cloud to cover the mount…and the people that were in the camp, feared.”  

Both thunder and lightning are likewise found in the Psalms, representing Divine Revelation which enlightens the interior life of the soul, when King David mysteriously addressed the Lord: “The voice of thy thunder in a wheel. Thy lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and trembled.”  As was mentioned earlier, an eyewitness of the Fatima apparition in July inadvertently chose similar words to those of King David when, at the moment the child Lucia exclaimed the Lady’s leave-taking, “the earth trembled like an earthquake.”

Most interesting, a witness in Rome to today's lightning strike said something along the same lines: it "seemed to shake everything. I knew it was storming but it sounded more like an earthquake..."

If there is a message from God in the lightening that struck St. Peter’s (for the third time, on yet another feast day of Our Lady’s), it is this: Shirking the true duties of the Church and of the papal office will save no one. “Ecumenism” will save no one. Adapting the ways of the world will save no one. Making grand concessions to those who are—objectively speaking—in heresy, or schism, or mortal sin will not save souls. For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord (Isa. 55:88). What, then, shall save the Church and the world from the terrifying descent in which both are caught? 

The answer is clear and wonderfully easy: Heed all of the “requests” of Our Lady of Fatima. (N.B. I’ve said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating: In the original Portuguese, the Virgin used the word “pedido,” meaning “order” or “command,” as in a “request” made by a superior to a subordinate. As we can see, Our Lady gave her commands with both a motherly and queenly grace.)

Simply stated, Our Lady of Fatima has waited almost 100 years for the Vicar of Christ to heed her requests for the following: 

• Worldwide devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
• Papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation for the five major blasphemies committed against the Virgin’s Immaculate Heart.
• The public dissemination of the Third Secret Text.
• The solemn and public collegial consecration of Russia (and Russia alone) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

To repeat another excerpt from my book: “Individual Catholics can and do respond to the other requests made by the Blessed Mother at Fatima (daily Rosary, daily duty offered in penance, making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, the wearing of the Brown Scapular, conscientiously striving not to offend the Lord our God any longer, and taking part in First Saturday devotions where they might be offered, or otherwise privately making the intention of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a Saturday Mass when the intention is not publicly stated by the priest; the requirements include Confession, Holy Mass, Rosary, and 15 additional minutes on the 15 Rosary Mysteries of the Redemption).”

Why Such Simple "Requests"?
At Fatima, the Lady who eventually gave her name as “the Lady of the Rosary” said in July 1917 (the day she gave the Great Secret, in three distinct parts): “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” That is the central message of Fatima–the “heart,” if you will, of God’s purpose.

Since 1929, no Pope has yet to fully obey the Queen and Mother of the Church. Whoever he may be, whether the present pope or a very-near future pope, the man holding the papal office must recognize and accept the power of his authority and jurisdiction (which is universal) and use it for the good of the Church and the world. The Pope needs nobody's permission to command and lead the collegial consecration of Russia; he need not ask the cardinals, the bishops, or even Russia, for he alone is Pope and Steward of the Catholic City. Our Lady’s “requests” (again, “commands”) to the Pope, bishops, and the entire Church Militant still stand.

Finally, as we consider this recent sign, may we also recall what Pope Benedict XVI said in May, 2010: “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.”  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fatima, Russia, and the Remedy

COINCIDENCE or a SIGN to HEED? Now, occurring in Russia—between today, October 4 (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi) through October 7 (Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary)—40 million Russians are evacuating to bunkers. The reason? A drill. A drill including 40 million people. A person of reason will ask: What does Putin know that we don’t?

Two things that immediately came to mind: 1) Our Lady of Fatima’s prophecy in the “Second Secret” regarding Russia and an “either/or” fate for the Church and the entire world; and 2) the multitude of eventful dates in both World Wars that closely coincide with Church feast days or vigils—of which the majority is a Marian Feast.

Our Lady of Fatima said on July 13, 1917: "If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and an era of peace will be granted to the world."

June 28, 1914: The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, which precipitated World War II. (Vigil of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, June 29)

August 1 and August 3, 1914: Germany declared war on Russia and France, respectively. (Feast of Our Lady of the Angels, August 2)

—August 4, 1914: The German Kaiser's troops invaded Belgium; Britain declared war on Germany. (Vigil of Our Lady of the Snows, August 5)

August 14, 1914: French troops entered Lorraine. (Vigil of the Assumption of the Virgin, August 15)

August 22, 1914: English troops were deployed at Mons, in France. (Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary)

September 13, 1914: At the River Aisne, French troops attacked the Germans. (Vigil of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Also, Sept. 12 and 15, respectively, commemorate the Feasts of the Holy Name of Mary and Our Lady of Sorrows.)

September 25, 1914: The Battle of Albert. (Vigil of the Feasts of Our Lady of Mercy and Our Lady of Walsingham, September 26)

October 1, 1914: The Battle of Arras. (Solemnity of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God)

October 15: Canadian forces reached Britain. (Vigil of the Blessed Virgin's Purity, October 16)

November 21, 1914: Anglo-Indian invasion of Mesopotamia. First night aerial bombing by the English Royal Navy, targeting German artillery installations. Also, the Anglo-Indian invasion of Mesopotamia. (Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple)

—January 24, 1915: Battle of Dogger Bank. (Feast of Our Lady of Tears)

April 25, 1915: Allies landed at Gallipoli. (Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel)

May 23, 1915: Italy declared war on Austria and Hungary. (Vigil of Mary, Help of Christians, May 24)

August 6, 1915: Offensive at Gallipoli. (Day after the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, August 5)

May 31, 1916: The Battle of Jutland. (Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces)

July 1, 1916: The Anglo-French Somme offensive. (Vigil of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth)

September 15, 1916: For the first time, British forces used tanks—at Flers-Courcelette. (Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows)

October 12, 1917: British offensive at Passchendaele (Our Lady of the Pilar)

October 13, 1917: Foretold three months' in advance by "the Lady," the Miracle of the Sun occurred at Fatima, Portugal. The beautiful apparition also gave her name: "I am the Lady of the Rosary."


While there are many more of such signs and dates applicable to both World Wars, the point is made.

By the grace of God, in our times, there is a REMEDY—and it was given to the Church by Our Lady of Fatima!

• Pray for the Pope (whoever he may be, the present or the future Pope) who will command lead the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, while also promulgating to the universal Church the Five First Saturdays of Reparation.

• Pray the Rosary, every single day.

• Wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, chastely in accordance with our own state in life.

• Offer our daily life and duties as our own penance for sins.

• Offer every sacrifice that comes our way or which God allows in reparation to Him for sins and for the conversion of sinners.

• Grow in our personal devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

IN ADDITION to the linked article, readers may be interested in this video. So, please tell me what you think: Coincidence or not?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Tears of St. Lawrence (aka The Annual Perseids Meteor Shower)

DID YOU KNOW..."The Tears of St. Lawrence" is another name for the annual Perseids meteor-shower? They are known as such because St. Lawrence was martyred on August 10, 258 A.D.

The History
Due to an edict, issued by Emperor Valerian in early August of that year, commanding throughout the empire that all bishops, priests, and deacons must be immediately put to death, the persecution quickly took place in the city of Rome. Pope Sixtus II was seized in the Catacombs and martyred on August 6 (a date which later became known as the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord). Also on August 6, two deacons met the same fate. Soon enough, four more deacons were soon discovered and also put to death. St. Lawrence was the last and seventh deacon of this time period to suffer martyrdom in Rome.

Best Times to Watch
The annual meter shower is active from July 17-August 24. It usually peaks on August 12 and 13. In 2016, the best observations times will be the pre-dawn hours on the mornings of August 11, 12, and 13.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Our Lady of Fatima and Portugal: The Land of Holy Mary

by guest writer, Robert Beaurivage

What makes the Story of Fatima so fascinating and endearing, and a powerful teaching tool? It is because Fatima is a story, and a true story. Why is that?

A real story gives us a world to explore, rather than a path through it. A real story puts us in touch with persons, with a drama, and examples of truth and heroism. The facts it contains are not just formulae, equations and propositions. They make us care.  This is why God reveals His Word in a Story—The Greatest Story Ever Told. The Bible is a true story, the story of Salvation History. The Divine Wisdom—that is, Jesus Christ—used stories in teaching the Gospel.  Fatima itself is, above all, a story but it is not a parable. In this history, we see the hand of God, as telling stories is His modus operandi.

The Fatima story did not begin on May 13, 1917, the date of the first apparition, and it is far from ending, even now.  The Fatima story, in a real sense, begins from all eternity, in the mind of God.  It appears in the dawn of creation, when God proclaims to the Serpent, called the devil and Satan, “She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen.3:15).

The story of Fatima also appears, says Sr. Lucia, in the Gospel and the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation), Chapters 8 to 13.  Pope John Paul II invoked the powerful imagery of Apocalypse 12:1-4, applying it to Our Lady’s apparition there in his homily in Fatima on May 13, 2000:  “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son.” In a later installment, we will explore Our Lady as the Woman of Revelation, clothed with the sun. Today, we begin to explore the Fatima Story with a look at Portugal, the Land of Holy Mary.

As one becomes more familiar with the Fatima story, one gets the sense that every detail is providential, instructive and prophetic.  Our Lady chose to appear in a nation, a region and a village that was imbued with Catholic culture.  She chose to come to a Catholic village in the hillsides of Portugal, rather than the sophisticated atmosphere of the big city. In the Divine Providence, Our Lord chose to manifest Himself first to the shepherds as they watched their flock in Bethlehem, Our Lady chose to manifest herself to the little shepherd children of Fatima.

The children of Fatima played, laughed and danced like children everywhere.  Their lives revolved around the Church, her festivals, her truths, and her culture.  Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, as many young children of the region, were charged with the care of sheep. Jacinta, in particular, loved to sing. Lucia was an intelligent girl and a natural leader. Francisco, a thoughtful and quiet young boy would play the flute while Jacinta and Lucia sang. Sr. Lucia, many years later recalled the songs they sang: “We loved to sing too. Interspersed among popular songs—of which, alas! We knew quite a number.” Among the favorites Lucia mentioned was Salve Nobre Padroeira. It sings of the protection of the Virgin Mary as the patroness of Her people of predilection, the little nation of Portugal.

“Hail, O noble Patron
Of the people whom You protect,
Of the people chosen among all others,
As the people of the Lord!

O Thou, glory of our land,
Whom You have saved a thousand times!
As long as the Portuguese people exist
You will always be their love!”

This popular Portuguese hymn, which the children sang often–a favorite of Jacinta–demonstrates the Portuguese devotion of centuries to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Frère Michel points out, “in spite of conquest by foreigners and a more and more suffocating Masonic domination, [Portugal] had remained unshakably faithful to its Heavenly Patroness, until the eve of the great miracle of 1917.

It is for good reason that Our Lady chose Portugal as the most important and most spectacular of her apparitions. Portugal had distinguished herself as no nation has, through a long, rich history of Consecration and faithful Devotion to the Mother of God. Long before Our Lady graced the Cova da Iria with her presence, Portugal was the “Land of Holy Mary.”

On August 13, 1385, on the eve of battle against the powerful Castilian forces, Blessed Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira, a figure long since revered by the Portuguese people, brought his troops to the plateau of Fatima. There, Alvares and his troops solemnly vowed that if the Blessed Virgin would give them the victory, he would build a great monastery in her honor and make a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Oliveira. Canon Barthas relates:
On the next day, August 14, Vigil of the Assumption, the great victory of Aljubarrota assured the independence of the country for two centuries, and consolidated the foundation of the new dynasty. For Portugal, this victory could be compared to the deliverance of Orleans by Joan of Arc. Pope Boniface IX, in his bull of February 1391, did not hesitate to describe the victory as miraculous, given the crushing superiority of the Spanish forces.

The king kept his promise. He and his knights marched on foot to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Oliveira: a distance of 150 miles.  The king constructed a church and splendid monastery, and called it Our Lady of Victory.

A few years later, on May 13, at the request of King João I, Pope Boniface IX ordered all Portuguese cathedrals dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Through the miraculous intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Portugal was delivered from the Castilian invasion, which marked the ascendancy of Portugal in international prominence, leading Crusades, great maritime achievements, and bringing the Gospel to the New World.  Portugal attributed its great success to its staunchly Catholic royalty, ruling under the protection of Our Lady, Queen of Portugal.

Frère Michel, in his unparalleled three-volume work on Fatima, gives the following account:

“According to the words of an ancient ballad, Fatima owes its Arabic name to an episode in the reconquest of Portugal which took place in this era. Fatima, the daughter of a powerful Moslem prince, was captured by a Crusader, Gonçalo Hermingues. When the Christian knight asked the king for her hand in marriage, she converted and was baptized under the name Oureana, from which the village of Ourem took its name. ‘But the beautiful princess died young, and a heartbroken Don Gonçalo gave his life to God in the Cistercian abbey of Alcobaça.’ Not long after, the abbey founded a small priory in the neighbouring mountains; Brother Gonçalo was sent there and took with him the remains of his dear Fatima. The place took and kept her name.”

There are no coincidences with Heaven, particularly in regard to the Message of Fatima. With the Islamic incursion into Europe in our day, courtesy of the liberal European governments, difficulties are sure to come. Our Lady has promised an era of peace to the world, and no doubt this presages an eventual conversion of the Muslims to the One True Faith.  Various saints prophesied this, and the symbolism of the name “Fatima” seems to anticipate it.

In 1646, Portugal once more reclaimed her national independence from Spain, and John IV ascended the throne on December 1.  Eight days later, on December 8, Portugal consecrated herself to the Immaculate Conception and the restoration of the monarchy. Spain fought on in a protracted battle. Portugal won a continual string of victories, which was a remarkable feat for little Portugal, with an underfunded military against powerful Spain—a clear sign of Our Lady’s continual protection. 

By this solemn act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception, Portugal, faithful to its own tradition, once more distinguished herself as the “Land of Holy Mary.”  We can easily see why Our Lady has chosen little Portugal for her great message to the World, and the greatest miracle since the Holy Ghost descended upon the Church on Pentecost Sunday, prophesied in St. John’s Apocalypse.  Portugal dedicated itself to the Immaculate Conception, two-hundred years before Blessed Pope Pius IX infallibly defined it! 

Frère Michel recounts in part this admirable vow: “And if anyone dares to attempt anything against our promise, oath and vassalage, we will consider him from this moment as no longer belonging to the nation and we wish him to be driven from the kingdom; and if he is king (which may God avert), may the divine malediction and ours fall on him and may he no longer be counted among our descendants; we vow that he be cast out and stripped of the throne by the same God who gave us the kingdom and raised us up to the royal dignity.”

Furthermore, the King commanded that an inscription should be engraved in marble or some other stone above the gates of towns, recalling this oath of the King and the Cortes in honor of the Mother of God, “preserved from original sin.”

Many people are not aware that Our Lady already gave the world a glimpse, a prelude, of what the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart will be like. She did this in Portugal after the Portuguese bishops consecrated that nation by name to the Immaculate Heart, on May 13, 1931.

Our Lady used Portugal to demonstrate on a national level what She will do worldwide when the Pope, in union with the world’s bishops, consecrates Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

There was a striking Catholic resurgence—a dramatic increase in priestly and religious vocations, the number of religious almost quadrupled in ten years , and a vast renewal of Christian life among the laity as well.

Shortly after the 1931 Consecration, a Catholic leader in Portugal ascended to power, Antonio Salazar, who inaugurated a Catholic, counter-revolutionary program. He strove to create, as much as possible, a Catholic social order wherein the laws of government and social institutions harmonize with the law of Christ, His Gospel and His Church. 

There was the two-fold miracle of peace as a result of the Consecration. Portugal was preserved from the Communist terror, especially from the Spanish Civil War, which was raging next door. Portugal was also preserved from the devastation of World War II.

This Catholic Renaissance was of such a magnitude that, in 1942, the bishops of Portugal declared in a collective Pastoral Letter: “Anybody who would have closed his eyes twenty-five years ago and opened them now would no longer recognize Portugal, so vast is the transformation worked by the modest and invisible factor of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. Really, Our Lady wishes to save Portugal.” 

Let us recognize the fact: No other nation exist whose very foundation is so closely linked with the cult and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima gives her solemn pledge of love and assistance to little Portugal as a reward for Portugal’s faithfulness to Our Lady. She tells the seers: In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. This appears at the beginning of the Third Secret, which we know speaks of apostasy infiltrating the human element of the Church.

Portugal receives Our Lady’s assurance of her protection in these troubling times. This fortunate nation has the assurance of Blessed Mary that she will preserve them during this trial. Frère Michel rightly proclaims: “For if the text of the solemn vow always to defend the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was wiped off the gates of the towns by the liberal government of the nineteenth century or the sectarian freemasons of the revolution of 1910, the Virgin Mary did not forget it, and it is Her ‘most faithful nation’ that She chose to manifest to the world the mercy of Her Immaculate Heart. To this nation it was promised, in the midst of the great trial to come, to preserve intact all the dogmas of the faith.”

—Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words: The Memoirs of Sister Lucia, the Last Fatima Visionary [KIC. Kindle Edition, June 3, 2015]
—Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I: Science and the Facts [Translated by John Collorafi, 1983]; and Volume III, The Secret and the Church [Immaculate Heart Publications, Fort Erie, Ontario, 1989]