Monday, May 15, 2017

Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, Good Shepherd Parish, Ottawa ON

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima
and the 6th Anniversary
of the Ordination of Father Hezuk Shroff to the Priesthood
With Holy Mass and Consecration to Mary
 ( text of Consecration below )
at the Good Shepherd Parish in Blackburn Hamlet
Mother Mary Bernadette led us in the prayers of the rosary before mass
A beautiful reception followed which was hosted by the Parish
and the Queenship of Mary Community

Act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary

from St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s “Total Consecration”

          O Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendours of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation.

          I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

          Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.

          I, ________________, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.


          Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honour of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.

          O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves.

          O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

Short video clips

Ave Maria - Solo

Video of Homily -
Father Shroff

Text of homily

Today is exactly 100 years, to the day, when a miraculous series of events began to take place at Fatima in Portugal. Fatima is situated in the municipality of Ourem. Both the names Fatima and Ourem were given to this region because of a popular legend concerning the Christian re-conquest of Portugal.

          Portugal was under attack by the Muslims — as was much of Europe. The Muslims of Northern Africa, known as the Moors, had passed into southern Europe, with the attempt to convert Catholic Europe to Islam. According to a popular story (which some say is a legend), during one such attack, a Moorish princess, by the name of Fatima (which is an Arabic word meaning “captivating” or “enchanting”)…this Muslim princess was captured by a Catholic Knight, Gon├žalo Hermigues, and fell in love with him. She later converted from Islam to Christianity, and was baptized and given the Christian name Oureana. This is where the municipality of Ourem gets its name, and the parish therein was given the name Fatima in honour of this famous convert. The parish of Fatima was officially founded in the year 1568. For centuries, most of the parishioners of Fatima were sheepherders. Their main work consisted in two things: (1) allowing their flock to graze, and (2) practising subsistent farming. Thus the three young children (Lucia (10), Francisco (9), and Jacintha (7)) were all employed in watching over their parents’ flock of sheep when the apparitions at Fatima first took place.

          It was May 13, 1917. One hundred years to this very day, the children were pasturing their parents’ flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, a little over a kilometre from their homes. They were playing games as their flock pastured, when suddenly they beheld a bright light piercing through the sky. They described it as a sudden flash of lightning. The sun was bright in the sky; there was no wind and no sign of a storm at hand. Nevertheless, the children decided to head homeward. As they began to descend the hill, another flash of lightning took them by surprise. They began to panic. Then, all of a sudden, standing over the foliage of an oak tree, they saw a dazzling sight: a Lady dressed in a white mantle edged with gold. From her, there emanated rays of clear and intense light, just like a crystal goblet full of pure water when the fiery sun passes through it. She was not the light, but the light passed through her. She was so close to them that they could almost touch her: only a metre or two away. Because the children were afraid, the Lady reassured them gently: “Do not be afraid of me,” she said, “I will do you no harm.” Lucia asked, “Where are you from?” As she asked this question, the three children saw the brilliant Rosary in her hands: the crystal beads shone like stars in the sky, and the Crucifix was the most radiant gem of all. “What do you want of me?” Lucia asked. “I want you to return here on the 13th of each month for the next six months,” the Lady said, “and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.” Lucia then got the courage to ask her a very bold question: “Will I go to Heaven one day?” “Yes, you will.” “And Jacintha?” “Yes, she will too.” “And Francisco?” Our Lady replied, with a hint of sadness in her eyes, “Francisco too, my dear. But he will first have to pray many Rosaries.” “Is Maria Neves in Heaven?” Lucia asked. “Yes, she is.” And Amelia?” Lucia pursued her questioning. To which Our Lady replied, “She is in Purgatory.” The Lady then made a request to the children: “Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you, in atonement for all the sins that offend Him, and for the conversion of sinners?” “Oh yes,” Lucia cried out, “We will! We will!” Our Lady replied, “Then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.”

          Lucia then recounts the following (and these are her words) [quote]: “As the Lady pronounced these words, she opened her hands, and we were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The rays of light cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it. By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: "O, Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee. My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.” [end quote]

          After this, the children remained kneeling, as they bathed in that grace-filled light. Then Our Lady spoke again, about the war that was ravaging Europe [World War I]; and finally she ended with these words, “Pray the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.” Lucia then recounted, “After that, the Lady began to rise slowly in the direction of the east, until she disappeared in the immense distance. The light that encircled Her seemed to make a way amidst the stars, and that is why we sometimes said that we had seen the heavens open.”

          The days that followed this first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima on May 13, 1917 (exactly 100 years ago today) were filled with great excitement. Lucia had cautioned the other children to keep their visitor a secret, correctly perceiving the difficulties they would experience if the events were to become known. However, the joy of 7-year-old Jacinta could not be contained, and she promptly forgot her promise and revealed everything to her mother, who patiently listened but gave it little credence. Her brothers and sisters piped in with their questions and jokes. Only her father, “Ti Marto,” immediately accepted the story as true. He believed in the honesty of his children, and he had a simple appreciation of the workings of God, such that he became the first believer in the apparitions of Fatima. They say that women are often more religiously inclined than men, and thus believe more easily in alleged apparitions and supernatural phenomena. But in this case, it was Jacintha’s father whose simple and humble faith led him to believe in Our Lady of Fatima.

          Lucia's mother, on the other hand, when she heard what had transpired, believed her daughter to be the instigator of a fraud, if not a blasphemy. Lucia would quickly learn what the Lady meant when she said they would suffer a great deal for her. For in those next few weeks, the word would spread around Fatima and the surrounding area, and the little children would indeed suffer a great deal because of that first apparition.

          As you know, Our Lady appeared to the three children at Fatima on the 13th of every month, from May to October, as she had promised. The only exception was in August. Since the children were locked up in prison, Our Lady appeared to them at the Cova da Iria only later, once they had been released: on August 19. In the June 13 apparition, Our Lady taught the children to pray the Fatima Prayer, the one that we all know so well because we pray it at the end of every decade of the Holy Rosary. She told them as well that many souls are perishing in Hell, and that, in order to save them, Her Son, Jesus, wanted to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart. The third apparition, on July 13, would be the most controversial one. At that time, Our Lady showed the children an ominous vision of Hell, as a reminder to all that Hell is real. It is at this apparition that she also asked for the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, and gave to Lucia the famous Third Secret that was supposed to be revealed in 1960. It was also at the July 13 apparition that Our Lady promised to perform a great miracle in October, so that many might see and believe, and turn back to God. At this July 13 apparition, Our Lady asked the children to do penance and make reparation for sins. To this effect, she taught them this prayer: “O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

          Since the children were in prison on August 13, the August apparition was delayed until August 19. On that day, once again, Our Lady appeared at the Cova da Iria. She mentioned for the first time that a chapel was to be built there in her honour. She also renewed her request to the children to pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. “Many sinners go to Hell,” she said, “because no one is willing to aid them with their sacrifices.”

          The September 13 apparition was a short one. Despite the jeers of the atheist and communist government officials, more than 30,000 people gathered at the Cova when Our Lady appeared. She renewed her request to pray the Rosary daily for an end to the war, and she announced a very special appearance on October 13. “In October,” she said, “Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”

          And finally, the last apparition took place on October 13 as the Blessed Virgin said it would. Our Lady repeated her request for the building of a chapel, for the daily recitation of the Rosary, and said, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” The famous miracle promised by Our Blessed Mother then took place: the miracle of the spinning sun. It is well documented that the crowd that witnessed the miracle numbered around 70,000.

          In my homily, I focused mainly on the first apparition in May 1917 since we celebrate the 100th anniversary of that apparition today. Every month, on the 13th day of the month, a different parish in the Archdiocese of Ottawa will have a time of prayer of the Rosary and a talk on the apparition of that month, with this statue of Our Lady of Fatima being present. (By the way, I mentioned to some of you that this statue was blessed by Pope Paul VI. I was mistaken. It was actually blessed by Pope St. John Paul II). And so I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to make this six-month pilgrimage, from the 13th of May through to the 13th of October,  through the various parishes of our diocese, with great fervour and joy! On the 13th of October, we will have a beautiful procession with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima from Immaculata High School to Notre-Dame Cathedral and there, the Archbishop will offer a Solemn Mass to close the centenary of Our Lady of Fatima.

          The message of Fatima is really very simple. It does not take a rocket scientist to hear and carry out the requests made by Our Lady one hundred years ago — requests that are still as pertinent today as they were when they were first made. Pray the Rosary daily. Pray it for the restoration of peace in the world. There is no prayer that is more pleasing to the Blessed Virgin, or that brings more graces into the world. The Rosary is second only to the Mass and the Divine Office of the Church in terms of its power to sanctify and transform lives. Secondly, do acts of penance for sinners. Make amends or reparation for sin: the sins of others, who are hardened in their hearts and turned away from God, but also for our own sins. Accept your crosses and sufferings as penance, and embrace them out of love for God and for the conversion of the world. Strive to live a life of holiness, and to avoid all sin (including venial sin) at all costs. As the Angel said to the children when he appeared to them in 1916, before the apparitions of Our Lady [quote]: “Offer up everything in your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners . . . More than all else, accept and bear with resignation the sufferings that God may send you.” Thus, the daily prayer of the Rosary, the acceptance of sacrifices and sufferings in reparation for sin: and then the third part of the message of Fatima: practise devotion towards the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This devotion includes, among other things, the practice of the First Saturdays: on Five Consecutive First Saturdays of the month, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray 5 decades of the Holy Rosary, and keep company with Our Lady for at least 15 minutes by meditating on the 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary. And do all of this with the intention of making reparation for the sins committed against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

          The message of Fatima should not just be lived by us, personally, brothers and sisters, but it should also be spread by us to others. Make known the message of Fatima to all those you encounter, and you can be sure that you will have a very special place in the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

          I would also like to mention that the Holy Father has granted particular indulgences during this centenary year of Our Lady of Fatima. One that concerns us in a particular way today is this: a plenary indulgence is granted, under the usual conditions, to the pious faithful who visit with devotion an image or statue of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly displayed for public veneration in any church, oratory or adequate place, during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions (the 13th of each month, from May to October 2017), and who devotedly participate there in any celebration or prayer in honour of the Virgin Mary, pray the Our Father, recite the symbol of faith (Creed) and invoke Our Lady of Fatima.

          And so, the Our Father that we pray at this Mass, and the Creed, will fulfill some of these requirements today. And the Marian Consecration, at the end of Mass, will fulfill the requirement of invoking Our Lady of Fatima.

          Finally, today is my sixth anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood. I was ordained on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. My ordination date was originally supposed to be May 14 (the feast of St. Matthias), but I asked the Archbishop whether he would agree to do the ordination on the 13th instead in honour of Our Lady of Fatima, and he graciously agreed. In the seminary, I had always hoped that I would be ordained on a feast day of Our Lady, and I guess it was Our Lady of Fatima who saw to that. I am offering this Mass as a Mass of thanksgiving to Our Lady for the gift of the Priesthood, and I offer it as well for all the intentions of her Immaculate and Maternal Heart. Since Our Lady asked us to make reparation for sin, I am offering this Mass as well in reparation for all the sins committed against the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We can make amends for sin through our love. Because love is more powerful than sin. Love conquers sin. That is the message that Jesus taught us on the Cross, and it is also at the heart of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. And so, let us end with that prayer that is so loved by Our Blessed Mother as we pray it with our whole heart in honour of Our Lady of Fatima. Hail, Mary….



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