Father Andrew Apostoli (1942-2017)

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I am deeply saddened by today’s news that Fr. Andrew Apostoli, a true servant of Christ through the lady of the Rosary and His Church, has passed away at the age of 75. May his soul and those of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Click here to learn more about this phenomenal, humble servant of Christ.

 Before I came to know Fr. Apostoli through EWTN and the World Apostolate of Fatima, I met him as a young seminarian. I was a Postulant with the Society of Divine Vocations (Vocationist Fathers) located in Newark, New Jersey (1983-1984).

We, Postulants, were attending a weekend retreat in Long Branch, New Jersey when we first met Fr. Apostoli. Of course, that was 34 years ago when Fr. Apostoli, still a Capuchin was 41-years-old. He was there to facilitate a spiritual class based on masks that people wear. I remember learning a great deal during that session in addition to having the privilege to be in the company of such a humble and faithful servant.

I cannot thank Jesus and Our Lady enough for having the opportunity to reacquaint myself once more with Fr. Apostoli through EWTN and the World Apostolate of Fatima during this centennial celebration of Our Lady of Fatima (1917-2017), and through his book, Fatima and the Triumph of Mary: Reflections on the Fatima Message, (2016, World Apostolate of Fatima).

In order to honor God through his servants: Sr. Lucia Dos Santos, Saints Francisco, and Jacinta Marto, Pope Saint John Paul II, Saint Padre Pio, Saint Faustina Kowalska, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, and Fr. Andrew Apostoli, I will work vigorously the remainder of my life as a Catholic layperson to serve as an Apostle of Our Lady of Fatima as directed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Rest in peace, Fr. Apostoli. Pray for us.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In my devotion to Our Lady under her title of Our Lady of Fatima (1917), I had almost forgotten (shame on me) all about the great mother of the America’s who appeared to Saint Juan Diego in the Tepeyac Hill country of Mexico in 1531 – 486 years ago! Are we not truly blessed in this hemisphere that the mother of God chose to visit us through the person of Juan Diego? God be praised!

I cannot praise and thank Jesus enough for His gift of redemption by way of the cross and the path that leads to Him through His mother which I can only appreciate, embrace and rejoice as a Roman Catholic.

According to the Catholic Company (2017):

The Guadalupe apparitions are unlike any other apparition of the Blessed Virgin. 

It is the only apparition where Our Lady left a miraculous image of herself unmade by human hands. It is also the only universally-venerated Mary and Christ Child image in which Our Lady is pregnant instead of holding the Infant Jesus.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Our Lady of Guadalupe image:

  • It has not been painted by human hands
  • The tilma’s weak cactus fiber should have decomposed within 15-20 years of being woven. It hasn’t, not even after 500 years
  • Mary’s mantle is a constellation map, showing the same constellations that were in the sky on the day of the apparition
  • In the image, Mary is “clothed with the sun” with “the moon at her feet” as described in Revelation 12:1
  • A doctor once heard a heartbeat coming from the image when he places a stethoscope over Mary’s womb
  • Our Lady’s eyes, when examined through a microscope, reflect the images of the witnesses present at its unveiling, including Juan Diego and the bishop

Click here to learn more about the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe whose feast day we celebrate today.

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Second Sunday of Advent

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JMJ, I love you. Save souls!

What an incredible second Sunday of Advent I have had thus far. In what appeared would be just another ordinary Sunday — not that I plan to have ordinary Sunday’s, turned out to be a blessing not quite in disguise. It is clearly evident the gift/blessing is from God. Guess what? He made my soul smile. I say, my soul because that is where the smile seemed to be focused at its zenith.

It wasn’t so much what I heard (today at Mass or by watching a recording of ‘Father Spitzer’s Universe” on EWTN), in as much as it is a feeling; more like a sense of peace. I believe, despite my helter-skelter musings and thoughts that would say otherwise, that I am on the path (our Blessed Mother) who is leading me (as she said to the children at Fatima), to God.

This feeling reminds me of something my BFF (Brother G) shared with me a few months back that he believes his deceased mother said to him in a dream, ”Tell Carlos not to worry, he is on the right path” … or was it ”… doing the right thing?” I cannot recall exactly what the message was, however, I do believe that. Absolutely.

Actually, I do not want to make this about me, but about Christ and His mother. After all, it is He and not me who ”invited” not ”demanded” that I turn from sin (idolatry and the flesh, among others), and embrace the gift of ”chastity.”

That was late March/early April of this year.

Here I am eight (8) months later and I am beginning to feel as Ebenezer Scrooge did at the end of Charles Dicken’s ”A Christmas Carol.” If the three spirits could do for Scrooge and Christmas in one night, Jesus and Mary can certainly do for me in eight months.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go. I am by no means out of the woods yet. Like a fawn who is always on the run, the wolves are never too far behind. Prayer, Mass, Confession and the Eucharist are to me what the cover of the bushes and trees are to the fawn — they provide cover whenever it seems the wolves are close to nipping at my heels.

20170625_220455000_iOSAs long as I take advantage of the cover provided by God, I stand a chance of making it to full growth (heaven). Jesus is right to respond to my question in 2014 after losing my dream job with the following, ”Who said this is about YOU!” 

It was never about me. It has always been about Him!

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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Friday, December 8, 2017, is a Holy Day of Obligation for all Roman Catholics. It is the day set aside when the Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States and several other countries.

Below are some resources I located to help explain this wonderful holy day of obligation:

8 Things You Need To Know About The Immaculate Conception, (2012, Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register)

Immaculate Conception And Assumption, (1996-2017, Catholic Answers)

The Immaculate Conception in Scripture, (2014, Tim Staples, Catholic Answers)

How To Defend The Immaculate Conception(2016, Jimmy Akin, Catholic Answers)

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“Ad Jesum Per Mariam!”

White Lady of Peace

Hello Friends:

150758970318271I apologize that it has been almost one month since my last post on the Cova. I pray this post finds you doing well and that you are finding hope, comfort, blessing, and prosperity through the intercession of our heavenly mother.

The last few weeks have been a bit challenging for me. I have been wrestling with some pesky demons (figuratively, not literally), who have been hard at work (mentally) trying to convince me that I am beyond the redemption of Jesus Christ because of my past sins regardless of my visits to the confessional.

Glory to God! Through the intercession of our Lady and the prayers of loved ones, I have found a semblance of peace. My soul is not as agitated as it has been as of late.

I understand this journey, although by no comparison to the children of Fatima in the degree of suffering they endured, will not be easy. It never is when one chooses to reject the world and follow Christ. I have a long road ahead of me filled with challenges, diversions, potholes, etc., each doing its best to prevent me from reaching the periphery of the gates of heaven.

However, as we often say each time we recite the act of contrition, ”… I firmly resolve through the help of Thy grace ….” As long as the grace of Christ is available to me and the intercession of our dear Blessed Mother, I will find my way home.

I understand how the world appears on the outside. I also understand the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, as she foretold at Fatima has yet to come (and it will). Until such time, if that triumph should occur in my lifetime, I will continue this journey beginning with acknowledging the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each morning upon my waking hour and loving each of them through our Lady and His church.

Believe in the White Lady of Peace! She is the path that leads us to God.

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IPVS Visits Holy Family Cathedral

636049904134238883-2016-0724-bb-LadyFatima020TIn my October 21, 2017 post, I expressed excitement about the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima visiting Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Tulsa for two (2) days: Friday, October 20th (9:00 P.M. to Midnight), and Saturday, October 21st (8:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.).  I opted to see her during the latter session.

Not only was this a once-in-a-lifetime event (for me) to visit the ”world-famous” statue that was sculpted by Portuguese artist Jose Ferreira Thedim (1892-1971), who had the privileged honor to work with and receive the approval of his sculpture from Sister Lucia (1907-2005), the oldest of the three visionaries of Fatima — it was also my first visit to Holy Family Cathedral.

I arrived early, as I am often known to do, in order to secure a good seat from which to observe this remarkable event. Unfortunately, not having been in a state of grace at the time of my visit I opted not to allow myself the privilege of sitting close to or walking up to Our Lady — the exception being when I received my Brown Scapular following my enrollment into the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular. I had to pass the statue on my return to my pew. If only I had the opportunity to go to confession prior to my visit. God be praised, I did receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation later that afternoon.

Holy Family Cathedral, as far as cathedrals go, is magnificent. The architecture, stained glass windows, statuary, etc. are breathtaking and a visual testament to the faith of Tulsa’s Roman Catholics.

20171021_073108Upon entering the main entrance to the cathedral I had to pass through a small lobby or foyer before entering into the main area of the church. In this area, I saw a table to my right and a banner and stand-up cardboard cutouts to my left. Information and other forms were available on the table. The banner and cutouts were of the three visionaries of Fatima: Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins, now official saints of the Church, Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

After stopping for a few minutes to snap a photo of the banner and cardboard cutouts, I proceeded into the Cathedral. The main lights had not yet been turned on as it was still early. However, just ahead of me to my left as I am facing the main altar was the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady. A light was shining directly down upon the statue which made her quite easy to view. Even from my vantage point (I was positioned about 8-10 pews back from the first few located just in front of the statue), I could see the sculptured image of our Heavenly Mother quite clearly.

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The photo above was taken while the main lights of the cathedral were still turned off.

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The photo above was taken after the main lights in the cathedral had been turned on.

If this statue was as radiant and beautiful to my eyes Saturday morning in the Cathedral, I cannot even begin to imagine how profoundly beautiful Our Lady must have appeared to the three children. I believe Lucia described Our Lady as being transparent (they could see through her), and more brilliant than the sun. Imagine both the privileged honor and enormous responsibility it was for the children to witness and speak to the Mother of God! I imagine one could not survive such a visit without receiving special graces from God. Please note that I am no expert on heavenly visits and that these are my thoughts and opinions only, not those of the Church or of a duly designated entity of the Church.

The event began with Mass which I believe was celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Edward J. Slattery. Immediately following Mass, a verbal presentation was provided by the custodian of the pilgrim virgin, whose first name is Thomas. I apologize for failing to obtain his last name. Thomas’ presentation was informative, engaging, and provided hope, despite the current conditions in the world for those of us who were actually listening, in the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Following the verbal presentation, anyone who had not been enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular was enrolled (to my joyful delight). This was then followed by the recitation of the Holy Rosary which closed out this remarkable event.

I had an opportunity to chat briefly with Thomas, the custodian of the pilgrim statue before leaving. I wanted to personally thank him for his presentation and service to Christ through the Lady of the Rosary. I also filled out a card offering my services to the World Apostolate of Fatima which I will follow up with letters and emails (just like my prayers), until WAF says, ”We need to bring this guy on board. He truly desires to serve Christ through the Lady of the Rosary and His Church!” However, that I leave in the hands of Our Lady.

If I had any disappointment(s) with this event it was 1) I went alone without the benefit of family or a friend to join me, and 2) that the cathedral was not filled to capacity. You can get thousands to attend a college football game, but at a time when the Church needs us most, we cannot fill the pews to capacity. There is something wrong with that picture. Just another bullet item to add to our prayer list — to fill our churches to capacity on days of worship and special events.

Below are additional images I photographed with my cell phone at Holy Family Cathedral.

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”Pray the Rosary every day for peace!”

International Pilgrim Virgin Statue

I am quite excited this morning!

150758970318271.pngThe International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is at Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Tulsa. She arrived yesterday (Friday, October 20, 2017). Two presentations have been scheduled for the faithful:  8:00 PM to Midnight on Friday evening and 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Saturday, October 21, 2017. I opted for the latter.

It is my understanding the session/presentation will include the following:

  • Procession of the statue into the Cathedral
  • Holy Mass
  • Talk about the Fatima message
  • Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Rosary
  • Consecration

What a great two-hour lineup!

Later this afternoon/early evening, I will travel to St. Patrick’s Parish in Sand Springs for confession and Mass. What a great day today will be spent adoring and loving my risen Savior through His holy Mother.

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