Press Release: World's Catholic Bishops
to Convene at Fatima
Buffalo, New York. Over a hundred Roman Catholic bishops have already accepted an invitation to assemble in Fatima, Portugal, this October for what is certain to be one of the most important Catholic events of the century. And many more bishops are expected to attend.
HISTORIC? Yes. CONTROVERSIAL? Very.
Sponsored by The Fatima Crusader magazine, the upcoming conference will include bishops from as far away as Calcutta, India, as well as priests and theologians from around the world. It represents one of the largest private gatherings of Catholic bishops in history and the first ever convened for the express purpose of discussing details of the famous Fatima apparitions.
In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three children in the tiny village of Fatima in central Portugal. Through the children, the Virgin imparted a message of hope and warning directed to all mankind. In the course of seven apparitions, She made specific requests, both for individual believers and for the leaders of the Church itself. She promised that if Her requests were fulfilled, individuals would enjoy many graces and there would be world peace.
The Blessed Virgin Mary warned, on the other hand, that if Her requests to mankind were not fulfilled, then She said "there would be wars and persecutions against the Church, the good would be martyred, the Holy Father would have much to suffer and various nations would be annihilated".
"This last prophecy has not been fulfilled even though all of Our Lady's requests have not yet been obeyed", says Father Gruner, who is widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts on the Fatima message and has been widely quoted in major journals around the world.
The Fatima apparitions are recognized by the Catholic Church as authentic and have been officially termed "worthy of belief". The controversial issue which organizers of the October conference hope to resolve is whether all of the Virgin's instructions have in fact already been carried out.
Father Nicholas Gruner is known to millions through his daily television and radio programs and through his quarterly magazine, The Fatima Crusader. Father Gruner maintains that many of the dire predictions made by the Virgin Mary have been fulfilled in the years since 1917 and that the most important of Her requests remains yet to be obeyed by the Church: namely, the Collegial Consecration of Russia, to be performed by the Pope in a global ceremony involving all of the world's bishops in their respective dioceses. Once this happens, Father Gruner says, "The Mother of God solemnly promises that peace will be granted to mankind".
The Fatima Message is at the heart of one of the fastest growing movements in the Roman Catholic Church. Since The Fatima Crusader magazine was founded in 1978, more than 100,000 active supporters have worked to spread the Fatima Message worldwide and bring about the Consecration of Russia as the Virgin requested.
With war still going on in various parts of the world, notably in the territory of former Yugoslavia, and with the ravages of war and famine in Somalia, the Fatima message of world peace is still "more relevant and more urgent than ever", as Pope John Paul II said.
Now the time has come, according to Father Gruner, to enlist the support of the world's bishops. The conference at Fatima is scheduled for October 8th through the 12th, during the 75th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions. The whole world will be watching.