Game changer: Mary can change the course of things in a significant way

by Barb Ernster

“Game changer!” That was the text sent from one priest to another in my archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis after he hosted an all-night vigil of Eucharistic adoration with the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima on the night of First Friday to First Saturday morning at the start of the tour.

It spoke volumes to us as the custodians of this precious and historic image that the world is hungry for and needs the message of Our Lady of Fatima.

In 1947, when the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue first arrived in the United States to begin its inaugural tour of America, 300,000 people lined the streets of Buffalo, NY, to greet the newly crowned “Queen of the World”. They spilled out of cathedrals onto the streets at each place she visited and the crowds were amazed. Our Lady of Fatima set out to claim her dominion, and the favors she performed along the way amazed even the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, who had crowned her the year prior.

A couple and their children contemplate the Virgin Mary

During the 23-day tour in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the statue was not greeted by hundreds of thousands of people, but her impact was as powerful on the relative remnant (hundreds) who showed up at each parish. It has become clear to many people who work in various areas of the Christian Church, even to parish priests, that the numbers do not matter anymore. It’s that someone shows up, that someone is listening, that someone is adoring, that someone is praying.

God, let that someone be me. Let me be one who constantly says “yes.” 

That is what being consecrated to Mary means – that we are consistent in our willingness to follow God’s will in all things. Today, the virtues of perseverance, hope and courage are needed more than ever to stay in the battle. Mary gives these to us if we ask for them, especially through her Immaculate Heart.

Today is a different battle.  In 1947, the world had just suffered through two devastating and brutal wars. Everyone could see the destruction of human lives, cities and towns. They witnessed whole countries swallowed up behind the Iron Curtain – and began to pray.  They were finally willing to listen to the hopeful message and clear direction of Our Lady of Fatima.

Many of my older relatives remember saying the Fatima rosary for peace after the family dinner hour, which was aired on radio stations across the nation. People listened to Archbishop Fulton Sheen explain the horrors of Communism. Everyone was praying for the conversion of Russia and the end to atheistic Communism.  The fear of that level of godlessness spreading across the world brought many Catholics to their knees in unison with Our Lady of Fatima. It was very much a part of their daily lives – and people were willing to fight.

We are suffering now under the weight of experiencing in our own lives and the lives of our children, the godlessness of America.  Many people, even in the Church, have become quite comfortable with the evil in our midst, making the fight against sin much harder and counter-cultural. What is evil is called good; what is good is called evil. Everyone, these days, goes to heaven, and you don’t even have to believe in God.

Cathedral of St. Paul, Rosary pilgrimage with 2,400 Catholic school children

That is why we continue to carry this statue from parish to parish, from diocese to diocese in America and beyond its borders.  Looking into the gentle and loving eyes of Mary as this statue portrays, opens people’s hearts and their eyes well with tears. The sorrowful and immaculate Mother understands! She is here for us. She is our hope when we are desolate; she is our courage when we are weak; she is our prayer when our prayers are empty.

“Game changer” is absolutely correct. She is the game changer who can change the course of things significantly.  She can turn around a child, a family, a marriage, a parish, a neighborhood, the Church, the nation, the world. And people who come to the statue visitations leave with the courage and willingness to say “yes” to her requests for prayers and penance. They realize they are being called in an heroic way to follow her. That’s how we, too, become game changers.

St. Jacinta’s words to Lucia before she died echo loudly to us today:  “You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to her.”

Say “yes” to Our Lady’s requests. And consecrate yourself, your spouse and your children to the loving protection of the Mother of God. Under her mantle, we will take refuge, and she will lead all of us to God.

If you would like to organize a tour of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue in your area, contact Patrick Sabat, psabat@bluearmy.com, or visit www.fatimatourforpeace.com.

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  1. Tears came to my eyes while reading this article. My heart rejoices and I feel less alone whenever I read or hear somebody speak highly about devotion to the Queen of the Holy Rosary. Thank you for writing this article. Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in Our Lord Jesus Christ Holy Name may God bless you and your loved ones. Please pray for the true conversion of Our Lord’s Holy Church, my loved ones and the United States of America.

  2. I humbly place myself and my family under Jesus and Mary’s mantle of love and protection. I thank them for inviting us to be in their family. I pray to Jesus and Mary to help my husband, Donald Smith, sons Walter, Simon (deceased 11-13-18), Donald Jr. (their families) and my only daughter Patricia Ann (named after Mary Immaculate’s mother) Smith Gardner and family to be under God’s protection and receive graces. We love God, Jesus, Mary and the Holy Spirit. love always from Edith Caroline Strongheart Smith.

  3. Barbara,
    Another article well done. It is sad that more people don’t subscribe to Soul magazine and do not know about Blue Army.com to enrich their faith. I include the articles written by Donal Foley, Bill Sockey, Dave Carollo, Deacon Bob Ellis, and the many others too numerous to mention. Am I permitted to use any part or all of any of the articles in our newsletter called Our Lady’s Courier which is published three times a year and appears on our web site? Do I need permission from an individual writer? For your information, many years ago I received permission from Mr. Haffert to use any of his articles in Soul magazine. Keep up the good work; I will promote the source of theses articles. TJTM

    • Hello John:
      You are welcome to use any of our articles and just cite the source: Soul Magazine or bluearmy.com. No need for permission from the individual writers.
      Barb Ernster

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