Monday, October 24, 2016

(178) A Son of Immigrants Remembers the 1956 Hungarian Revolution


The flag always had in its center the crown presented by Pope Sylvester to St. Stephen, who Christianized Hungary over 1000 years ago.  However, the Communists in 1949 replaced the crown with the symbol of Communism, the hammer and sickle.  The freedom fighters cut out the hammer and sickle from the flag, which became the symbol of the Hungarian Revolution.

 Over and over again my father told us kids stories about our Hungarian heritage and made us proud of it.  We only picked up a few words of Hungarian because Mom and Dad spoke to us and each other in English……..Hungarian only when they did not want us to understand.  Among friends and relatives, it was all Hungarian.  I wish now that they had talked to us in Hungarian.  We would have picked up English in school and on the street.  We loved our Hungarian dishes and pastries as well as the Christmas and Easter customs.

It is said that the crown of St. Stephen was given as a gift by Pope Sylvester II (945-1003) in appreciation for Christianizing Hungary.  While the Soviets occupied Hungary at the end of World War II, the Hungarian Crown Guard gave it the U.S. Army for safekeeping from the Soviet Union.  It was kept in Ft. Knox until January 6, 1978 when Cold War tension was reduced and President Carter returned it to Hungary under a set of strict conditions.  At the time Hungarian Americans strongly opposed the decision.  My family saw it at the National Museum when we visited Hungary in 1999.  I was thrilled.  The crown is currently displayed in the central Domed Hall of the Hungarian Parliament Building.

     We learned about the Magyar tribes, St. Stephen establishing the Kingdom of Hungary in the year 1000 and bringing in Christianity during his reign.  Pope Sylvester in appreciation donated a crown to Hungary’s first king.  My father told us about the conquest of Hungary by Islamic Turkey for almost 150 years, from 1526 after the bitter defeat of the Battle of Mohács)  until 1699 when Austria drove out the Turks and then occupied Hungary.

The crown of St. Stephen became part of the coat of arms of Hungary which is often at the center of the Hungarian flag.
    Austria-Hungary. There was a struggle against Austria for Hungarian independence under Lajos Kossuth in 1848.  The Hungarians had the upper hand against Franz Josef, the Emperor of Austria.   Enlisting the help of the Russian Czar and his army, the revolution was crushed as it later was in 1956 by the Russian Soviets.   Kossuth toured the United States in a futile effort to obtain help. Interesting are two patriotic songs from that struggle at and   

The United States and other countries issued a postage stamp to honor the great Hungarian patriot, Lajos Kossuth.

In 1867 a compromise was reached with the establishment of a dual monarchy where Franz Josef held the title of Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, which had its own parliament. 

This was the Austria-Hungary Empire that fought with Germany in World War I.  Under the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary was left with a fraction of its former 1000 year old territories.  My father, as other Hungarians at home and abroad, was bitter about it.  For more detail see

       The 1919 Communist Takeover.  My father was a university student caught in the chaos of a Communist takeover for six months under Bela Kuhn, which they called the “Hungarian Soviet Republic”.  My uncle Geza Foley was beat up by the so called "Lenin Boys" (see  My father almost was caught, but flushed counterrevolutionary pamphlets down the toilet before they could accuse him.  He described it as a reign of terror.  No wonder he was vehemently anti-communist.  Admiral Miklós Horthy took leadership and was able to overcome the Communist regime (see  

Later Horthy was made regent.  Interesting is a song admiring him, although it seems to be propaganda:   

World War II.  Horthy was labeled a Fascist.  Then Hungary had to suffer the ravages of World War II.  Caught between two tyrannical totalitarian regimes…….Germany to the west and the Soviet Union to the east, Hungary chose as an ally perceived to be the lesser of the two evils……Germany.  In addition Hitler promised to restore the lost territories and thus sided with Germany in the war.

Before long Germany occupied Hungary.  In their defense against the Soviet Union 300,000 Hungarian soldiers were killed and 600,000 civilians including 400,000 Jews who lost their lives in the gas chambers.  Budapest was bombed at least 37 times by American, British, and Soviet air forces.  

A former Hungarian soldier, Laszlo Fugedy, a friend of the family whom we called Laci, told us how the Soviets would send one wave after another of soldiers to be mowed down by machine gun fire as the bodies piled up.  The Soviets finally occupied Hungary.  Rather than be taken by the Russians as prisoners of war, he and many others went over to the Americans.  Laci ended up as a driver for the U.S. Army.  Once the war ended he immigrated to the United States as a displaced person.  My father, a research chemist and chemical engineer helped him to get into West Virginia University.  Laci became a Civil Engineer who worked for the National Park Service in Philadelphia.

Hungary Under Communism.  In 1948 the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, taking advantage of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements which designated the Soviet Union to occupy Hungary, set up a puppet regime in Hungary as well as Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, etc., annexed the Ukraine, and imposed Communism upon the people while the West did nothing to prevent it.   It was a de facto conquest.

Churches were closed; apostolic and charitable work of the Church was forbidden.  Priests were tortured and jailed, including the primate of Hungary, József Cardinal Mindszenty (1892-1975).  Fiercely resisting Communism, he was arrested and forced to confess to treason under great duress in a show trial.  

Basic freedoms of religion, assembly, and the press were crushed.  Much of Hungary’s industrial and agricultural production was sent to Russia.  The country was also required to pay reparations. The Hungarian flag with the crown of St. Stephen was replaced by the hammer and cycle.   Hungary was named by the Communists as the “People’s Republic of Hungary” in 1949, supposing that Hungary was run by the people. 

Until the day he died in 1979, my father was bitter that Franklin Roosevelt allowed himself to be duped by Stalin and in his words, “handed over Hungary to the Soviets”.

This video describes Hungary before the 1956 uprising.

Without question the Hungarian Revolution was a popular uprising.  The people had enough of Soviet Communist repression.  They were willing to give their all for freedom.

The Hungarian Revolution.  With this backdrop I was electrified upon reading the news of the Hungarian revolt against the Communist regime that began on October 23, 1956.  Everyone who loves freedom, especially those of Hungarian descent, were excited.  The people were so desperate that they would risk everything for freedom.  Imre Nagy, the then puppet president of Hungary sided with the Freedom Fighters and used the Hungarian Army to back the new regime.

The toppled statue of the notorious Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

As a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University I would go up to the library every day to read the latest news on the revolt before studying for my classes the next day.A captured tank and the euphoria of victory.  Notice that the freedom fighters are holding the traditional flag with the crown of St. Stephen.
Freedom Fighters destroyed Soviet tanks with home-made Molotov Cocktails (bottles filled with gasoline with a rag as a wick) and captured others. The demands included free elections, the formation of a multi-party government system, the dissolution of the Hungarian secret police, and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary.  The flag of Hungary now consisted of a hole in the center formerly occupied by the hammer and sickle.  Cardinal Mindszenty was freed (my parents met him in the early 1970s).  These Freedom Fighters were winning and controlled the country.

This revolution was a crisis not only in Hungary, but also to some extent in other communist countries.  Neighboring communist governments feared that their people could also revolt.   Monica Gheorghiu, an old friend I only knew by letter as a teen, related how she joined a meeting of fellow students at a her university in Timișoara, Romania to show solidarity with the freedom fighters in neighboring Hungary. She left early and later learned that all the participants were arrested and the leaders were given long jail sentences.  The next day students marched in protest and demanded that their fellow students be released.  The Romanian Government in response sent in the army which brutally crushed the demonstrations.  "Yes, they were dangerous and sad times" she mused.

The Soviets had installed Imre Nagy as the puppet Prime Minister as part of their Destalinization campaign.  Seeing the spontaneity of the Hungarian uprising and their yearning to be free, he supported the Freedom Fighters at great personal risk.  Thousands of Hungarian soldiers went over to the side of the Freedom Fighters.  Neighboring Poland sent medical supplies through its Society of Friends of Hungarians and other such groups……valued at $2million at the time.  Mao Zedong, the dictator of China, put pressure on the Soviets to intervene.

Fearing the defeat of Communism, the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev sent in a large contingent of reinforcements to crush the rebellion on November 4.  Soviet tanks patrolled the streets, killing 2,500 people and destroying.  In an act of treachery the Soviets lured Imre Nagy, the Prime Minister to a meeting to discuss peace and immediately imprisoned him.

There was an amusing incident in the chaos and confusion of war.  The Freedom Fighters captured a Soviet tank and was firing upon the headquarters of the secret police.  A Soviet tank crew, which did not know Budapest, identified the tank firing on the headquarters as one of their own and also fired on the same target.

In desperation the free government of Hungary appealed to the West, particularly the United States for help, but key leaders were afraid to act.  Having listened to the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, they had expected help from America.  Over 180,000 fled to Austria as refugees.  Several hundred were executed, including Imre Nagy for treason and 13,000 were imprisoned in the aftermath.  

One picture is worth a thousand words, according to the old saying.  Life Magazine published a collection of pictures that tell the story (……..the heroism of the Hungarian people in their yearning to be free, but falling into revenge with even atrocities for eight years of tyranny under the yoke of Communism and Soviet occupation.  

The few days of exhilarating freedom were wiped out by the brutal invasion of reinforcements from Soviet Russia and the revolution was crushed.  The Hungarians desperately appealed to the United States and NATO for help, but they were preoccupied with the 1956 war between Israel and Egypt and feared Soviet retaliation.  My father thought that refusal was cowardice. Although very risky, such intervention could have inspired other satellite countries to also revolt in a similar quest for freedom.  See 

A burning Soviet armored car

The following link ( shows the spirit of the Hungarian people.  When all hope of American help was lost, 200,000 people, most of them young, traveled on another avenue of freedom across the border into free Austria.  From there the refugees were resettled in the United States and all over the world.  I met several.  Their spirit of hard work and intelligence added to the economies of the countries they adopted. They found opportunity and did well as mechanics, engineers, entrepreneurs, priests, etc.  I dated one of the girls who fought as a freedom fighter and then escaped.  She was sponsored by one of the families of a church.
                              A Hungarian Stamp issued to commemorate the 60th Anniversary

The first link below gives a fascinating BBC timeline beginning with the liberation by the Soviets from Nazi occupation in 1944 until June 16, 1991 when Soviet troops finally left and Hungary was free.  Today Hungary is a democracy with similar fights as we have in America between the left and the right.  The second link gives more detail.

        The following video gives a good explanation and understanding.

Very graphic is

Walter Conkrite narrates the following video:

The Hungarian Revolution apparently failed, but in the long run there were positive results.  Although the initial repression was brutal, the Soviets, fearing unrest among its satellites, eventually allowed some freedom.  Later they were more careful to minimize grievances.  The brutal suppression of the revolt exposed the true colors and the lies of Communism to the world.  It was not a worker’s paradise with economic justice as they preached, but more oppressive than any system that preceded it. 

Artist Mihály Zichy's painting of the famous Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi reciting the National Poem for freedom to a crowd on March 15, 1848.   My father showed us his book he was awarded for his first in the class ranking in high school. He read part of it to us in English.  Some of Petőfi’s poems were recited by a flash mob of Hungarian immigrants celebrating the 1848 Revolution in London with some great music and folk dancing.  See  

 Actually, history repeated itself in 1956.  In 1848 the Hungarians had revolted and temporarily obtained their independence from the Austrian Empire under the leadership of Lajos Kossuth.  However, Emperor Franz Josef obtained the help of Czarist Russia to crush the revolution since the Czar feared a similar uprising in his country.  Kossuth, an admirer of democracy, toured the United States in the 1850s and appealed for American support for Hungarian independence to no avail.  When Austria-Hungary was defeated in World War I, the Allies broke up the empire and made Hungary an independent country devoid of much of its former territory.  See

In the 1970s and 1980s the Communist regime mellowed somewhat, but the people were still not free and the Cold War continued.

Restoration of Democracy.   Finally in 1989 Communism in Europe collapsed because socialism over the long run is untenable.  Central planning and government ownership of the means of production were very inefficient.  Shortages of basic commodities were common.  There was little or no incentive to innovate and increase productivity.  The economy was stagnant and inflationary.  The people needed and yearned for basic freedoms.  

The system collapsed in all of the communist countries of Eastern Europe along the Iron Curtain and democracy was restored……so sudden that it bordered on the miraculous, reminiscent of the sudden collapse of the walls of Jericho.  Interesting is that St. Pope John Paul II in union with the bishops of the world consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary five years before on March 25, 1984 as Mary requested at Fatima.  Communism in Europe was dumped onto the ash heap of history.


In jubilation the new Hungarian government staged the above 1989 Ceremonial Reburial of Imre Nagy and four other executed government officials of the Hungarian Revolution in Heroes Square Budapest when Hungary became a free democracy again.  A sixth coffin represented the 2,500 Freedom Fighters who died in the conflict.  A young Viktor Orbans, the prime minister today, was one of the speakers. A quarter of a million people attended.  See


Some 60 years later the freedom fighters of the Hungarian Revolution are remembered and honored over the world.  This monument in Naples, Florida is an example.  Another son of immigrants (my brother),  Deacon John V. Sebastian stands in front of the monument with his wife Kathleen.  Hungarian monks in Youngstown,  Ohio and Dallas, Texas built monuments that honor the Freedom Fighters.  

Business in Hungary now has the freedom to prosper, benefiting both capital and labor.  The Church now has freedom to evangelize and serve the people with diverse charities.  People now have the freedom to elect leaders of their choice from a slate of candidates of multiple parties.  No longer does the Hungarian flag have the hammer and sickle in the center.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

(177) The Consecration to the Immaculate Heart and the Course of World History


                                     The Pilgrim Statue of the Immaculate Heart visits St. Louis Church in Gallipolis, Ohio.
      October 13, 2016 begins the 100th year since the final
apparition of Mary at Fatima (1917) which ended with the
spectacular Miracle of the Sun (see my Blogs #95 & 96).  In 1929
she asked through Sr. Lucia that the Pope, in union with the
Bishops of the world, consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart,
promising its eventual conversion and the hindering of its errors if
this is done.  On Saturday October 15 we commemorated that event
with a Public Square Biblical Rosary Rally for peace in the
Gallipolis (Ohio) City Park (See my Blog #143). 

    This year (2016) our Bishop Jeffrey Monforton
reconsecrated the Diocese of Steubenville to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary and a specially commissioned statue of her is traveling
to every parish in the diocese.  The statue spent a week with us
from August 26 to September 2.  The Knights of Columbus will
consecrate our Council 3335 to her Immaculate Heart at the 10 am
Mass on October 30, the Fifth Sunday Knights of Columbus Mass.
Furthermore, each knight is invited to begin the 33 Day individual
consecration to Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort, whose
statue is at the main entrance of our church.  For a copy click on
The two biggest scourges of the 20th century, the most violent century of all time, were Nazism and Communism, two godless tyrannies of the extreme right and the extreme left.  Both fomented wars, persecuted religion, trampled upon basic human rights.  While World War I was going on in 1917, Mary said that war would soon end, but warned:  “But if people do not cease offending God... another and more terrible war will begin. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign that God gives that the chastisement of the world for its many transgressions is at hand through war, famine, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father."  There was in indeed an unknown light, an aurora borealis was seen from Budapest to Gibraltar, according to the London Times on January 27, 1938 (see my Blogs # 95 & 96). 
        World War II. People ignored Mary and the world suffered through World War II.  Adolph Hitler rose up, appealing to German nationalism and harping about the unjust and humiliating Versailles Treaty after World War I.  He promised to recover territories taken away from Germany.  People followed even though it was atheistic.  Italy under Mussolini and Japan under Hirohito also had similar nationalistic movements and were allied with Germany.  It started on September 1, 1939 after Hitler and Stalin of Russia (although hating each other) agreed to divide up Poland between themselves as Prussia (Germany), Austria, and Russia did for 125 years until 1917 under the Partition.  During those years Poland did not exist as a country.  The Church was instrumental in maintaining national identity.  The United States got into the war after the surprise attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.  Prior to that the country was isolationist, but the attack united the country as never before in fighting the axis powers.  

       As a little boy I don’t remember much, but I do recall the air raid drills with sirens at noon.  I followed Superman and Batman fighting for America through the comic books.  We cheered for the troops listening to the radio, watching newsreels in the movies; there was no television.  My Mom would send me to the store with money and ration stamps to prevent hoarding of goods in short supply.  The schools had us bring in flattened tin cans for scrap iron in the steel industry.  The local steel mills were booming, manned by older men exempt from the draft and women too along with Rosy the Riveter on the assembly lines making military vehicles and tanks.  In a fit of paranoia, the U.S. government confined Japanese Americans to internment camps. 
Ten million American men fought in that war and 405,399 lost their lives compared to 116,516 in World War I, not to mention the many more wounded, the millions dead from all sides, the grieving families, and the systematic extermination of the Jews by the Nazis..  Anxious and prayerful American families would put small banners with a star on their front door or window for each son in the war.  Our next door neighbor had a four star banner.  Many sons never did come home.  Every town would have a billboard with the names of its sons in the war and every Church had a plaque with the names of its parishioners in the war as the people prayed for them.  Soldiers would bring home as trophies enemy swords, guns, etc.  I had a collection of military badges that veterans gave to me.
Stan Belback, the son of a Polish-American family, was part of the Normandy Invasion in liberating France.  Soldiers were being mowed down all around him in charging the German bunkers on the top of the hill.  His wife prayed hard; Stanley was hit in the chest; however, the bullet glazed off of a bead of the rosary around his neck; Mary saved his life.  He and his wife showed us the rosary.
I remember air shows at the Allegheny County Airport (Pittsburgh principle airport at the time) and seeing tanks being hauled on railroad cars. People were encouraged to have victory gardens to assure enough for the troops.  People were encouraged to have victory gardens to assure enough for the troops.  It was truly the Great Generation.  German cities were leveled by incessant bombings.  The war mercifully came to an end after the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima in 1945.  Millions of people suffered on all sides in the war.  God does not have to punish us; sin creates its own punishments with evil consequences.  He actually makes good come out of it as people come back to Him in prayer with trust and repentance.   

Hiroshima after the atomic bomb attack on August 6, 1945.  Some 80,000 people died immediately and another 60,000 slowly died from the radioactive fallout.  About the same number of people died on the second attack on Nagasaki on August 9.  Was this carnage necessary?  Could surrender have been achieved by a demonstration or complete isolation after destroying Japan’s capability for carrying on the war.
Before the October 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia when nobody in the West knew what Communism was, Mary warned the world:  "To prevent this, I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and Communions of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my requests are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will suffer martyrdom; the Holy Father will suffer much; different nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be granted to humanity.

        In 1920 following World War I, the countries of Western Europe were weak, depleted, exhausted from the war, and in economic ruin.  The Bolsheviks (Russian Communists) saw an opportunity to establish Communism in Europe; they were poised to advance to the English Channel.  However, miraculously Polish troops, although outnumbered, stopped them in the Battle of Warsaw.  It is often referred to as the “Miracle on the Vistula River” or “Cud nad Wisła” in Polish.

        Mexico. The repressive government of Mexico under Communist influence violently persecuted the Church, executed priests, and many of the faithful.  Catholics revolted, demanding religious freedom in the Cristero War from 1926 – 1929 (See Blogs #42, 120, & 132).
In 1929 in a private revelation to Sr. Lucia, the only surviving seer of Fatima, Mary promised that Russia would be converted if the Pope in union with the bishops of the world would consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.  See the Appendix for the text of Sr. Lucia's letter to Pope Pius XII.

    In the 1930s and 1940s the Communist Party of the United States was quite significant since their founding in 1919, peaking at 80,000 members in 1944.  The Communists had some success in infiltrating certain labor unions before being expelled in 1950 (see  Russia even had spies who stole American military secrets…….first the atomic bomb by the late l940s and then the hydrogen bomb within the next decade.  Alger Hiss and Julius Rosenberg were the most notorious.

    Spain.  In the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939 Communist Russia greatly influenced and helped the Republicans on the left while Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy aided the Nationalists on the right.  The Republicans persecuted and killed many Catholics, priests, and nuns.   Ernest Hemingway and leftist American youth fought with the Republicans.  The Nationalists under General Franco prevailed and religious freedom was preserved.  See  At least half a million people died.  It was a prelude to World War II.       

      Russia was an unreliable ally during World War II despite receiving considerable help from the United States for the Eastern Front in Europe.  Towards the end of the war, Franklin Roosevelt (followed by Harry Truman) had conferences with Winston Churchill of Britain, and Josef Stalin of Russia and made agreements at Yalta and Potsdam on occupying Germany and the countries of eastern Europe involved in the war.  Russia occupied Eastern Europe and East Germany.  Stalin simply treated those countries as conqueo Stalin.  Russia entered the Pacific Theater of the War toward its very end, occupsts and set up Communist governments in each one of them.  My father and other ethnic Hungarians were bitter, calling it a betrayal and a handover tying Manchuria, which became part of China as another Communist country.    
Russia continued to spread its errors after World War II…….suppress basic human rights and freedoms in the countries under its control.  It aggressively persecuted the Church, jailed and executed priests, closed churches, Catholic schools, newspapers, and institutions.  It controlled the Press, jailed and executed people who spoke out against the regime, etc.  In subsequent years Russia annexed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan under the name of “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”.  By 1948 it established puppet Communist governments in the countries it occupied after World War II…….Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, and East Germany.  It threatened to take over Greece, Italy, Austria, and Turkey, but the United States finally stood firm.  It helped the Chinese Communists to take over China and equipped North Korea to attack South Korea in a three year war.

    In the United States the Soviet Union had a spy network.  Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were the most notorious.  They were successful in stealing American secrets for the Atomic Bomb and the Hydrogen Bomb.  The Communist Party was active and made inroads in infiltrating labor unions.
Saul Alinsky (1909 – 1972), is considered to be the father of community organizing and had a Marxist influenced methodology.  He has been able to influence liberals of today (including President Obama who started out as a community organizer and is an admirer of Alinsky) with secularist goals divorced from God.  They don’t call it Marxism, Communism, or even Socialism, but rather using the terms: liberal, progressive, and democratic.  Alinsky’s philosophy included the Machiavellian “The end justifies the means” including violence and deceit to achieve their goals even if they violate Christian morality, religious freedom, and human rights.  “You do what you can and then you clothe it in moral garments, pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it”. 

Alinsky had a diabolican influence on many liberals of his time and today.  He even had considerable success in influencing Catholic leaders, intellectuals, and even Bishops of the Church.  That’s one of the reasons that Vatican II was corrupted under the guise of “The Spirit of Vatican II” and people believed them without ever having read what is in the Vatican II documents.  Shocking are some of the quotes from his book “Rules for Radicals” and interview with Playboy Magazine a few weeks before he died as saying that if there is an afterlife, he would choose hell because his kind of people are there and he would organize them.  For more detail watch the EWTN documentary by clicking on
The Korean War. In 1950 Communist North Korea with the help of Russia invaded free South Korea.  American troops intervened and fought until an Armistice in 1953; 36,516 died  Technically, the two countries are still at war.  Tensions continue between the two countries today and a resumption of the war is still a real possibility.  Communist North Korea is developing nuclear weapons.  By this time Russia developed atomic weapons.  A nuclear war was very much a possibility.  People talked about building bomb shelters and in some schools kids were taught to crawl under their desks in case of an attack.  As a kid in elementary school, I remember being afraid, especially at night.
The Hungarian Revolution.  In 1956 the Hungarian people revolted against their puppet Communist government and the occupation by Soviet troops.  It was a popular uprising for freedom.  For a few days, it appeared that the Hungarians freedom fighters were victorious as the Soviet Army retreated from Budapest.  The Soviets lured their new premier, Imre Nagy to negotiate at the military headquarters.  Masters of deceit, they captured him and a larger Soviet army crushed the rebellion……killing 3000 people in a blood bath.  Once order was restored, they executed many of the freedom fighters and their leaders, including Imre Nagy.
The Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1958 the Communists took over Cuba in a revolution led by Fidel Castro.  Communism took root 90 miles from the United States.  In April 1961 the United States helped a band of Cuban refugees in a failed attempt to overthrow the Castro government with the Bay of Pigs invasion.  The failure was a major blow to American prestige.  In retaliation Castro invited Russia to station missiles with nuclear warheads that threatened the United States.  Washington was within range.  In October 1962 the United States blockaded Russian ships from entering Cuba.  This resulted in a gigantic game of chicken that put the world on the brink of nuclear war.  A miscalculation by either superpower or a mistake by one of the opposing commanders could have sparked a nuclear war.  People were deathly afraid.  Russia apparently gave in by withdrawing its missiles, but secretly the United States agreed to remove its missiles from Turkey close to the border with the Soviet Union.   
The Berlin Wall.  In 1961 refugees from the Communist countries were streaming through Berlin to freedom in the West.  Berlin was in the center of Communist East Germany.  However, West Berlin was controlled by West Germany according to a previous treaty.  Previously in 1948 Russia had tried to force the allies out of Berlin, but the allies kept their occupied West Berlin supplied through around the clock flights called the Berlin Airlift.  To stop this flow of refugees, Nikita Khrushchev, the dictator of the Soviet Union, ordered the construction of a wall topped by barbed wire on August 13, 1961.  See my blogs #60 and 160.  The United States retaliated with a buildup.  My active duty as a young lieutenant was extended a year and I was sent to Orleans, France as part of a buildup in Europe.  By the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis my tour of duty was over.  
Vietnam. In 1965 Communist North Vietnam with the help of Russia invaded South Vietnam.  We were bogged down in that war until 1973 when a treaty was negotiated.  American troops were withdrawn and North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam in violation of the treaty; 58,209 American soldiers lost their lives.  This was the only war that the United States ever lost.  However, it probably stopped the Communist advance into other Asia countries.            
St. Pope John Paul II. Karol Wojtiła clandestinely studied for the priesthood during the Nazi occupation of Poland inside the residence of the Archbishop of Krakow.  As bishop and later Archbishop of Krakow Cardinal Wojtiła resisted Communism.  To everyone’s surprise and shock to the Soviets, he was elected Pope John Paul II in 1978.  He triumphantly visited Poland and quietly supported the Solidarity Movement for free unions.  
Perceiving the future saint as a threat, the Soviets put out a contract on his life and was shot point blank on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of Mary’s first appearance to the shepherd children in Fatima.  That wound to his abdomen should have been fatal, but miraculously the bullet zigzagged through his body without hitting any artery or vital organ.  During his agony, he called out to Maria for help and he attributed his life to her.  Later the Pope visited Fatima and had the bullet placed in the crown of Our Lady’s statue.  When he recovered St. John Paul II met with his attacker, Mehmet Ali Ağca, in jail and forgave him.  We later learned that the Third Secret of Fatima prophesized that there would be an attempt on the life of the Pope.

                               The agony of St. Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981.

St. John Paul II had a great devotion to Mary and even had a reference to her on his coat of arms:  “totus tuus”, meaning “all yours”, in consecrating himself to her Immaculate Heart.  As a boy he came closer to Mary, our spiritual mother, after his earthly mother died.  As Pope, he served as the Lord’s instrument in the collapse of European Communism.  He inspired those in the Solidarity Movement in Poland.  He collaborated with President Ronald Reagan and Allen Dulles, the Director of the CIA, by giving them information that the Vatican had.  Furthermore, the Pope facilitated the transfer of money to the Solidarity Movement.  Thus St. Pope John Paul II is credited with a significant role in the eventual fall of Communism in Europe.  
During the Cold War, people prayed and St. Pope John Paul II did consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 in union with the bishops of the world.   By 1991 European communism and the Iron Curtain collapsed as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.  Russia has come a long way, but conversion is still a long way off.  A nationalistic Russia has taken territory from the Ukraine, is a threat to its neighbors, and has sided with the Syrian dictator. 
      The Berlin Wall comes tumbling down like the Walls of Jericho.

Below is the chronology of satisfying Mary’s request to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The key dates are underlined.  It was not until March 25, 1984 that St. Pope John Paul II satisfied the conditions for the consecration that Mary laid out.  Note below that after that date there was a series of events that led to the collapse of European Communism and the Iron Curtain as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.  Freedom to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, etc.; and the disintegration of the Soviet Union which was really a Russian Communist empire.  Nobody expected this sequence of events.  St. Pope John Paul II had an important role.  We know that prayer did it.

Since 1991 when the Soviet Union disintegrated, there has been a modest revival in Russia.  The number of churches have increased from 400 to over 30,000; the number of monasteries from 22 to over 800; Theological Schools from 0 to 100.  Civil laws is beginning to reflect God’s moral law and Christianity is growing in importance despite President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive posture.  Of course, the Christianization of Russia still has a long way to go.  

                 Time Line of the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
and Related Events

July 13, 1917    Our Lady promises  to come and ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

June 13, 1929  Our Lady fulfills her promise, asking through Lucy "for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, promising its conversion through this means and the hindering of the propagation of its errors."

date unknown   Pius XI (1922-1939) is informed of this request.

1938            Portuguese Bishops ask Pius XI for the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart. It is said they were  influenced to do this by the spiritual director of Bl. Alexandrina da Costa (1904-1955).

June 1940       A request is made to Pius XII through the Bishop of Macau, and a little later  through Father Gonzaga de Fonseca. Mention is made of Our Lady asking for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

Dec.  1940       Sr. Lucia writes a letter to Pius XII, saying that Our Lord Himself requests that the Pope "consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention of Russia, and order that all the Bishops of the world do the same in union with His  Holiness."

Oct. 31, 1942    Pope Pius XII consecrates the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

July 7, 1952      Pope Pius XII consecrates the Russian people to the Immaculate Heart.

Nov. 21, 1964   Pope Paul VI renews, in the presence of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, but without their   participation, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

May 13, 1982  Pope John Paul II invites the bishops of the world to join him in consecrating the  world and with it Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Many do not receive the  invitation in time for the Pope's trip to Fatima, where he accomplishes the consecration.  Sr. Lucia later said it did not fulfill the conditions.

October 1983    Pope John Paul II, at the Synod of Bishops, renews the 1982 Consecration.

March 25,1984 Pope John Paul II, "united with all the pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college," consecrates "the whole world,  especially the peoples for which by reason of their situation you have particular  love and solicitude." Apparently it was imprudent to mention Russia by name.  Both the Pope and Sr. Lucia initially seemed uncertain that the consecration had been fulfilled, but shortly thereafter Sr. Lucia tells the papal nuncio to Portugal that   the Consecration is fulfilled.

May 13, 1984   One of the largest crowds in Fatima history gathers at the shrine to pray the Rosary for peace.

May 13, 1984   An explosion at the Soviets’ Severomorsk Naval Base destroys two-thirds of all the missiles  stockpiled for the Soviets’ Northern Fleet. The blast also destroys workshops needed to  maintain the missiles as well as hundreds of scientists and  technicians. Western military    experts called it the worst naval disaster the Soviet Navy has suffered since WWII.

Dec. 1984       The Soviet Defense Minister, mastermind of the invasion plans for Western Europe, suddenly      and mysteriously dies.

March 10, 1985 Soviet Chairman Konstantin Chernenko dies.

March 11, 1985 Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev is elected.

April 26, 1986  The Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown accident spews a radioactive cloud over the Ukraine.                                                                                     
May 12, 1988   An explosion wrecked the only factory that made the rocket motors for the Soviets’ deadly SS 24 long-range missiles, which carry ten nuclear bombs each.

Aug. 29, 1989  Sr. Lucia affirms in correspondence that the consecration "has been accomplished" and that "God will keep His word."

Nov. 9, 1989    The Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain go down, reminiscent of the Walls of Jericho.  Nobody expected it.                               

Nov-Dec 1989   Peaceful revolutions in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania drive out Communism.                                                                     
1990                  East and West Germany are unified.......only a dream since the end of World War II in 1945.
Dec. 25, 1991  The Communist government in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics disintegrates  and  collapses after subjugating millions, persecuting the Church, and being a threat  to civilization since the Russian Revolution of October 1917. 
      The 21st Century began with hope, but the forces of evil continued to work and the people drifted away from God.  Since the 1970s, Secularism or secular humanism (ignoring God…….the rejection of religious influence or morality in civil affairs, public education, and social discourse) took over more and more of European and American society, culture, public education, and government.  When the European Union was organized, the framers refused to acknowledge any Christian contribution to European civilization and culture.  
With contraception and abortion, the population of Europe (about 1.6 children per woman when population maintenance requires about 2.3) became stagnant with a preponderance of older people.  With a shortage of young people to work and feed the older people, guest workers were welcomed from Islamic countries.  They multiply and mosques began to crop up all over Europe.  According to one projection, by 2050 Europe will have an Islamic majority.  This gave rise to a fringe group of radical Islamists such as Al Qaida and ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) that achieve their objectives through terrorism both from within and from without.  They aspire to take over countries and establish Sharia Law.  That is the scourge of the 21st Century.

The War on Terror is nothing new; it’s really a 1300 year old war, a threat to Western Civilization since the 8th Century, when they took over the Middle East and North Africa.  In the 12th Century the Crusades defended and tried to recover the Holy Land from its Muslim conquerors.  The Moors took over much of Spain and Portugal in the 15th Century and the Ottoman Turks conquered Hungary in the 17th Century.  All of Europe was threatened and the people went to Mary as a recourse.  With Mary’s intercession the advance of radical Islam was stopped at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456, the Battle of Le Panto in 1571, and the Battle of Vienna on September 11, 1683.  See my Blog #125. 

            Radical Islam was dormant for the next 300 years.  It was revived by Palestinian protesters against the Israeli occupation.  The suicide bombers believed that they would obtain salvation by being martyrs to Jihad or holy war in “killing the infidels”.  In 1997 a terrorist bomb was set off in the basement of one of the Twin Towers.       

                   The second plane hits the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001
                    as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.

        The grim reality of Radical Islam hit home on September 11, 2001 which was chosen by Osama Bin Laden because it was the anniversary of the victory by King Sobieski of Poland over the Ottoman Turks in 1683.  They attacked New York and Washington with four hijacked airliners that crashed into major buildings.  American then took the War on Terror to Iraq and Afghanistan which was controlled by the Taliban and Al Qaida.  ISIS threatens to take over Syria and Iraq with aspirations to fly their black flag over St. Peter’s in Rome.  
The desperate trapped human faces in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.     In all 2606 human beings, created according to the image and likeness of God, perished in these senseless brutal attacks in New York.  This is man’s inhumanity to man on a massive scale.  All over the country people were scared and returned to God as shown by the increase in church attendance.  After a few weeks we again drifted away from God.  Will we ever learn that turning to God and living the Gospel is the only road to peace and salvation?  For more haunting photos of this tragedy, see:

 Terrorists attacks have occurred numerous times since then in Europe and the United States.  Now people realize that terrorism can occur at any time, anywhere.

Now again we appeal to Mary.  The world of Islam admires Mary as the most perfect woman that God created as stated in the Quran.  The town of Fatima was named after Mohammed’s favorite daughter after the Moors conquered Portugal.  Mary chose to appear in Fatima, Portugal for a reason.  Perhaps Mary is the path to reconciliation between Islam and Christianity.  See my Blog #4.  
The entire history of man has been marked by one war after another, but the 20th Century was the bloodiest of all.  Since 1914, the start of World War I, the world has had to endure almost constant war somewhere in the world, millions of human beings killed and millions more wounded, persecution of Jews, of Christians, and other minorities, racism,  terrorism, untold suffering.  We have seen so much of it in real life, on television, and in the movies that we are desensitized to violence.  We have devalued life, especially the unborn. 
We have become insensitive to statistics of the dead.  Let us remember……the millions of dead are not statistics; they are not simply abstract numbers; they are people crying out that they are created according to the image and likeness of God……thus with tremendous dignity.  What has the world gained from all the needless violence and death?  True, suffering often does bring out heroic virtue and God raises saints to carry us through it.  Evil seems to be winning; the word devil comes from division.  We must turn the tide.  We can never do it alone.  Let us turn back to God and pray for His help and trust Him.  Mary, pray for us. 
Mary will again be victorious if we come back to God and pray the rosary daily for peace that Mary herself asks us to do (For meditations, see my Blogs #50, 73, 78, & 84).  Her almost 2000 year mission has been to bring people back to her Son.  Mary thirsts for sinners the same as her Son does.  Thus we consecrate our Country, our diocese, our Knights of Columbus Council, and ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  In the end the Immaculate Heart will triumph.  May each one of us do our part by praying the rosary daily for peace as Mary requested at Fatima.


1940 Letter of Sr. Lucia to Pope Pius XII Requesting the Consecration of the World and Russia to the Immaculate Heart

Most Holy Father,

Humbly prostrated at your feet, I come as the last sheep of the fold entrusted to you to open my heart, by order of my spiritual director.

I am the only survivor of the children to whom our Lady appeared in Fátima (Portugal) from the 13th of May to the 13th of October 1917. The Blessed Virgin has granted me many graces, the greatest of all being my admission to the Institute of Saint Dorothy. (To here this is copy of the sketch the Bishop sent me.)

I come, Most Holy Father, to renew a request that has already been brought to you several times. The request, Most Holy Father, is from our Lord and our good Mother in Heaven.

In 1917, in the portion of the apparitions that we have designated "the secret," the Blessed Virgin revealed the end of the war that was then afflicting Europe, and predicted another forthcoming, saying that to prevent it She would come and ask the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart as well as the Communion of reparation on the first Saturday. She promised peace and the conversion of that nation if Her request was attended to. She announced that otherwise this nation would spread her errors throughout the world, and there would be wars, persecutions of the Holy Church, martyrdom of many Christians, several persecutions and sufferings reserved for Your Holiness, and the annihilation of several nations.

Most Holy Father, this remained a secret until 1926 according to the express will of our Lady. Then, in a revelation She asked that the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months be propagated throughout the world, with its conditions of doing the following with the same purpose; going to confession, meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary and saying the Rosary with the aim of making reparation for the insults, sacrileges and indifferences committed against Her Immaculate Heart. Our good Heavenly Mother promises to assist the persons who practise this devotion, in the hour of their death, with all the necessary graces for their salvation. I exposed the request of our Lady to my confessor, who tried to have it fulfilled, but only on the 13th of September 1939 did His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria make public in Fatima this request of our Lady.

I take this opportunity, Most Holy Father, to ask you to bless and extend this devotion to the whole world. In 1929, through another apparition, our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, promising its conversion through this means and the hindering of the propagation of its errors.

Sometime afterwards I told my confessor of the request of our Lady. He tried to fulfill it by making it known to Pius XI.

In several intimate communications our Lord has not stopped insisting on this request, promising lately, to shorten the days of tribulation which He has determined to punish the nations for their crimes, through war, famine and several persecutions of the Holy Church and Your Holiness, if you will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention for Russia, and order that all the Bishops of the world do the same in union with Your Holiness. I truly feel your sufferings, Most Holy Father! And, at much as I can through my humble prayers and sacrifices, I try to lessen them, close to our Lord and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Most Holy Father, if in the union of my soul with God I have not been deceived, our Lord promises a special protection to our country in this war, due to the consecration of the nation by the Portuguese Prelates, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; as proof of the graces that would have been granted to other nations, had they also consecrated themselves to Her.

Now, Most Holy Father, allow me to make one more request, which is but an ardent wish of my humble heart; that the feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary be extended throughout the whole world as one of the main feasts of the Holy Church.

With the deepest respect and reverence I ask for the Apostolic Blessing. May God protect Your Holiness.

Tuy, Spain, 2nd of December of 1940. 
Maria Lucia de Jesus
From Novos Documentos de Fátima, Fr. Anthony Mario Martins, SJ (Oporto: 1984). English edition:



                     a detailed history of the Fatima apparitions and message.

    "Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world . . . for she alone can save it." (Our Lady, July 13, 1917)
    "God has placed peace in her hands, and it is from the Immaculate Heart that men must ask it." (Jacinta, shortly before her death)
    "When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: 'O Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to      Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.' " (June 13, 1917)
(Every Rosary increases Mary's power to crush the head of the Serpent and to destroy his evil power in the world.)

    "Jesus wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it." (June 13, 1917)

3.      FIRST SATURDAY DEVOTIONS, which include:
      • reception of Holy Communion, and Confession (within 8 days before or after)
      • pray five decades of the Rosary
      • spend 15 minutes in meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary.
(All the above to be offered up in reparation for sins and ingratitude against the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady.)
    1. OFFERING IN REPARATION - THE SACRIFICES, TRIALS AND CROSSES OF LIFE, especially those sacrifices involved in keeping God's Commandments, and in fulfilling the duties of one's state in life - offering them through the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation to the Divine Majesty so offended by sin, and for the conversion of sinners.
      "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often whenever you make a sacrifice: 'O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.' " (Our Lady, July 13, 1917)
      "Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them." (Our Lady, August 19, 1917)
CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. Any formula may be used which expresses a sincere confiding of oneself without reserve.

 Now again we appeal to Mary.  The world of Islam admires Mary as the most perfect woman that God created as stated in the Quran.  The town of Fatima was named after Mohammed’s favorite daughter after the Moors conquered Portugal.  Mary chose to appear in Fatima, Portugal for a reason.  Perhaps Mary is the path to reconciliation between Islam and Christianity.  See my Blog #4.