By Thomas M. Loarie

BOOK REVIEW: Fatima – Advice, Direction and Hope for Living Our Lives Well

August 3, 2018
Column: CEO Learnings

A Review of Rev Joseph Roesch MIC’s “Fatima: A Pilgrimage with Mary — “Fatima: A Pilgrimage with Mary” author Father Joseph Roesch, MIC, is the Vicar General of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a fraternal community of consecrated life in the Roman Catholic Church. He worked as an actor after college and in his own words, “badly needed a re-conversion to the fervent practice of his Catholic faith.”

His parents prayed for him and gave him books and articles to read which he ignored until his mother gave him a small paperback on Fatima and the three shepherd children (Lucia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta) to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared. He then began to request and the books given to him, began to say the Rosary and attend daily Mass. His destiny was complete when he replaced his brother on a pilgrimage to Fatima and met the vocation director at Fatima for the Marians. “Twenty-four (Fr. Roesch’s age at the time) is the perfect age! Join now!” Roesch felt a calling…and was ordained a Marian priest six years later.

After working in the US for 13 years as a parish priest then as rector of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy (Stockbridge, MA) forming future Marian fathers, he moved to Rome where he has been since 2005.

“Fatima: A Pilgrimage with Mary” is Fr. Roesch’s contribution to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. While it is advertised as a beautifully illustrated “coffee table book” on Fatima, its subtitle, “A Pilgrimage with Mary”, describes it best. Fr. Roesch has written a moving and provocative book on history of Fatima and it’s the significance to the world today and in the future.

Fatima is most widely known for the “the secret” and the October 17, 1917 sixth apparition of Our Lady during which “The Miracle of the Sun” took place. 70,000 people witnessed the miracle during which the sun spun, changed color, danced around, plummeted to earth, and then returned to its place.

The secret comes in three parts and includes a terrifying vision of hell, the importance of the devotion to the immaculate heart of Mary, a possible second world war, and finally the prediction of the immeasurable destruction Russia would perpetuate in its embrace of atheism, communism, totalitarianism, and military might. The last part of the secret was not revealed until after St. John Paul II was nearly killed by a gunman in St. Peter’s Square and his consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart.

What is less discussed but of greater importance are the messages from the Angel of Peace and Our Lady to look beyond ourselves, to others and to the cross; to apply ourselves to the world; to lead lives faithful to God and his commandments; and to lift others up to God.

The Angel of Peace taught us through the shepherd children the paramount virtues to living our lives well on earth, so that we can be with God in heaven – faith, hope, and love. He also added that we are called first and foremost to adore Him as it’s difficult to grow in these virtues if we don’t spend time in prayer and adoration of God.

Our Lady told the children, “I am the Lady of the Rosary… People must amend their lives and ask pardon for sins. They must not offend our Lord anymore, for he is already too much offended.” She asked us to pray the Rosary every day… “Pray for peace, pray for the conversion of sinners, for the conversion of the world, and for the conversion of our hearts.”

For those unfamiliar with the Rosary, it is best described by resident Fatima theologian, Dr. Pedro Valinho Gomes, who says the Rosary is a way of training our hearts to be filled with God. “It is a very Christocentric prayer in a sense that we are constantly calling into prayer the attitudes of Jesus.”

Fr. Roesch concludes that while the promise of these apparitions has borne much fruit worldwide, peace still eludes us. The triumph of our Lady’s Immaculate Heart has yet to be fulfilled. We continue to bear full responsibility as we have yet to fulfill her requests of us. Unfilled requests include making the first Saturdays of each month a communion of reparation, praying the rosary daily for peace in the world, making a total consecration of ourselves to Jesus through Mary and practicing a devotion to the Immaculate Heart along with our devotion to the Sacred Heart.

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Thomas M. Loarie is the CEO of BryoLogyx, a rotating host of THE MENTORS radio show, and a senior editorial advisor and columnist for Catholic Business Journal. He may be reached at [email protected]

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