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 https://www.britannica.com/topic/Communist-Party-of-the-United-States-of-America). 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 https://www.britannica.com/event/Spanish-Civil-War. 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vny6OXXBSfM
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: http://www.businessinsider.com/20-haunting-photos-from-the-september-11th-attacks-that-americans-will-always-remember-2015-9/#the-twin-towers-of-the-world-trade-center-were-a-familiar-sight-to-new-yorkers-for-decades-you-looked-up-and-they-were-there-it-was-a-reassuring-sight-i-visited-the-towers-many-times-and-gazed-upon-them-many-more-1
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.