by David M. Carollo
The United States/Canada border was long considered the longest non-border in the world. Traveling from Upstate New York to Michigan, for example, one finds the most direct route to be through southern Ontario. Having traveled “up north” many times, I recall that it took little more than a wave to enter at most major crossings. In some areas going from one side of certain border towns to the other, you traversed this international boundary.
The common identity of our people made this possible. Different in our national origins, we found commonality and were allies in most world situations. It is for these reasons that the lockdown brought on by the pandemic was especially sad. The separation of families and friends was difficult, but nothing was as bad as the inability to collaborate with our neighbors in expanding the work of our Faith.
The Catholic Church has carried on the mission of bringing the Gospel to all nations for over 2,000 years. Despite obstacles continually placed before us, these have not deterred the faithful from carrying on. For 75 years, our apostolate has brought the teachings of God to the world through the message and direction of Our Lady of Fatima. For this reason, we know that the mission given us by our Lord on earth must and will continue. We follow in the footsteps of many missionaries who left home and family.
On May 1, Our Lady brings us together again. Across the border from Detroit, Michigan, to Windsor, Ontario, we will participate in an international Rosary for peace among the nations. The International Pilgrim Virgin statue in the custody of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA and the image from Our Lady of the Cape will be positioned in the sight of each other across the Detroit River, accompanied by pilgrims who will join hands spiritually and unite in prayer.
This time of separation could not kill the spirit of our mission, to bring Fatima to the world. In fact, it has ignited an even greater resolve. The virtual world must once again give way to the real world. Connecting online has been a tool in these difficult times, but we are meant to be together in prayer and fellowship.
In 1947, the Blue Army of Our Lady was formed and the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue was brought to North America by our co-founder, John Haffert. The shrine of Our Lady of the Cape in Cap-de-la Madeline, Quebec, Canada, was one of the first stops on this side of the ocean. At the same time, the statue of Our Lady of the Cape was traversing to Ottawa from Quebec. The story of these two statues going forth to the people from this beautiful shrine is inspiring, and we are pleased to cooperate in the work of the Church with our brethren to the north once again. We are happy to participate in this anniversary event and are energized to promote this work with even greater zeal going forward, especially to promote the Rosary and Scapular devotions.
Today as an International Public Association of the Faithful, the World Apostolate of Fatima operates worldwide, bringing this message of hope to a world suffering from the results of defiance of natural law and persistence in sin. Our connections in the WAF USA with our neighbors to the north and south of us are an integral part of our outreach. We suffered greatly during COVID times, but now the Lady come from Heaven is telling us enough is enough. Get back to work as a team and evangelize across the borders. We learn much when we interact with those of other nations. The consecration of Russia/Ukraine made on March 25 was a call to action. It is a call to return to the mission given us at Fatima. The time to act is now. We cannot be fully effective in our work by virtual means.
Forget separation. Forget fear. Fear is the tool of the devil. Courage and determination are the signs of a Christian. For more information on the Pilgrim Virgin Statue Detroit tour and border Rosary, visit https://www.fatimatourforpeace.com/tours/.
Growth in First Saturday Devotions
We continue to put great emphasis on the devotion of the First Saturdays, the unfulfilled part of the Fatima message. People from all over have been coming to us for help in establishing this devotion in their diocese or parish, and we have launched a new campaign – the Great Promise Passport – to encourage people to complete five First Saturdays before October 13. It is based on the same concept as making a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, where you collect a stamp for your passport for each milestone completed along the “way” to Santiago de Compostela. You can participate by visiting bluearmy.com/first-saturday-devotion.
Please contact us if you would like our help and resources to practice the devotion or to establish it in your parish or diocese.
Our new website will launch this week under bluearmy.com. This will be another tool of evangelization, allowing people easier access to our resources.
God bless you and Mary keep you in her Immaculate Heart.
David Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA and the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. He wrote this for his Voice of Fatima column.