Dear Sacred Heart Family,
This past Friday, on the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, we celebrated at daily Masses by entrusting the parish to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Why do I constantly write about Fatima? Our Lady warned of dangers and promised a way forward in these apparitions. The warnings have come true, and her call to turn to Jesus is our way to hope. There are infinite riches in Christ, and we are invited to discover His love for us and the gift of the Faith. However, how many of us know people who don’t find the Faith to be a priority in their life? How many individuals and families try to live their lives on their own strength, and don’t see value or hope in the Gospel? There are many understandable and yet tragic reasons why people have not heard the call of Christ: “What are you looking for?” We yearn for joy, love, justice, hope, forgiveness, healing and peace. We have gone to Church for years without much change, or perhaps don’t find much satisfaction in prayer and worship, and wonder what the purpose is. This is the challenge of our times. We have so much, such opportunity, yet we live in a world which seems to be unravelling. And Fatima is a key to unlocking the door to hope.
Our Lady appeared and warned us of the dangers to come, the challenges to the Church, and how she is a refuge which would lead us closer to Jesus. For this reason, I chose to imitate the example of Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. He wrote all the names of his parishioners down and placed them with a commemorative heart around the neck of the statue of Our Lady in his parish. So this past Friday, Sacred Heart Academy helped us to consecrate the parish to the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. Mrs. Sharon Gormas in our parish office, and Mrs. Joey Solosky in the Academy office, helped prepare a list of all the families in the parish and the school. We put all the last names on one piece of paper, in tiny font size, and placed this piece of paper in a silver locket. That locket was placed around the neck of Our Lady at the All School Mass on Friday morning at 8:30. Following Mass, the students and parishioners present prayed the Rosary and honored Our Lady at the beautiful statue outside Muldowney Hall. Symbolically, we have entrusted our parish family to the Heart of the Mother of Jesus. Why do this?
At Fatima, as in other visitations by Our Lady, she reminded us what we see at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. Our Lady became our Mother at the Annunciation and at the Cross. When she said yes to God, she said yes to becoming the Mother of all believers. What was announced in Genesis came to fruition at Jesus’ Saving Death. In Genesis 3:15, God declared war on Satan and his destructive plan for our families and our lives. God promised to send a Savior. But God also declared war between the offspring of Satan and the offspring of the Woman. This mysterious “Woman” can be understood to be the People of God—both the nation of Israel, and in fulfillment, the Church as Christ’s Bride. Our Lady is the Glory of Israel. She is the Mother of the Redeemer and of the Redeemed. She is a mere creature, but the prophecy of Genesis was the Woman who would crush the head of the Serpent in the lives of all the Children of God. Before He died, Jesus said, behold your Mother. His two greatest gifts were the Eucharistic Sacrifice (the Mass—the Last Supper and Calvary), and His Mother. Throughout history, Our Lady has appeared to encourage all disciples of Jesus to keep up the great fight for love and hope.
Especially at Fatima, Our Lady has shared with us the Good News that the Gospel is our game plan for Victory. Our Lady is our life coach for her daughters and sons. She knows that Jesus is our Savior and that we are invited to receive Him. She also knows the battles we fight every day. When soldiers are dying on battlefields, they often cry out for their mother. We instinctively cry out to our Mom in need. I am convinced that all goodness in our parish is a result of our saying yes to God’s call, aided by Our Lady’s prayers for us. Our service to the poor, the marginalized, the young, the lonely, the addicted, the broken, and all those hurting and in need will be enhanced by entrusting ourselves and our future to the Mother we received from Jesus. May God renew you in His Love and tender Mercy. We are in her heart, and she is leading us to Jesus together.
In Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Bjorn Lundberg