From the 3rd to the 5th of February 2019, the World Apostolate of Fatima, as part of their formation program, held in Calcutta, India, its third Asian regional congress. The selected theme was “...God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart...” (Our Lady of Fatima, 13 July 1917): “Into the abode of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with St Teresa of Calcutta”. The 10th Indian National Meet of the Apostolate was also celebrated together with this congress.
The majority of the delegates and observers arrived in Calcutta on the 2nd of February, First Saturday of the month and Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In the evening, there was a candlelight procession from Don Bosco’s Nitika, reciting the Holy Rosary and then celebrating the Holy Mass, presided by Msgr. Thomas D’ Souza, the Archbishop of Calcutta. Among the participants, there were Prof. Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz, WAF international President, from Puerto Rico; Mr. Nuno Prazeres, director of the International Secretariat at Fatima, Portugal and other guests from Sri Lanka, Philippines, South Korea and also from Oman. From India, there were 32 delegates, 40 observers, including 17 Priests and 5 nuns, from various dioceses. Four bishops have also attended the congress at different timings.
On Sunday, 3rd of February, after the Morning Prayer, the delegates were transferred by bus to the Basilica of the Most Holy Rosary, in Bandel, for the annual First Sunday of February celebrations. The traditional Rosary procession, joined by many people, was taken out from Bandel railway station with the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the Basilica.
Archbishop Thomas D’ Souza, the main celebrant of Holy Mass in the crowded basilica, said in his homily that Fatima, in Portugal and Bandel, in India are connected by Mary, our Mother, who gives Jesus to us. We are all called for a change of heart from sin to holiness. After the homily, the Apostolate Pledge to Our Lady of Fatima was renewed and the Consecration of the State of Calcutta to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was solemnly performed before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. After lunch, the international President, Prof Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz, spoke on “How we can help Our Lady of Fatima” and Fr M. V. Sunny, the outgoing Chairman of the Indian National Board summarized the talk in Bengali and explained the history of the Bandel Basilica.
On Monday 4th February, the working sessions of the congress started with the invocation of the Holy Spirit. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima was crowned and a Rosary was placed in Her hands by Archbishop Thomas of Calcutta. Fr M. V. Sunny welcomed all and as a sign of hospitality, an Utheron (fine shoulder shawl) was presented to all. Then the traditional lamp was lit, proclaiming Jesus as the light of the world. Then Mr Reynald Andales, Treasurer of the WAF International Board presented the WAF Formation programs and structure in Philippines.
Archbishop Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore and Indian National Ecclesiastical Advisor was the main celebrant at Holy Mass, concelebrated by Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur, Archbishop Thomas D’ Souza and almost 50 Priests.
This was followed by the keynote address by Prof Americo Lopez-Ortiz: “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart” Then the Fatima exhibition was inaugurated and a press brief was given to all the media agents on Our Lady’s message of Peace for all.
After lunch, the Indian Report was presented by Dr Celcio Dias. Then Fr Shelton from Sri Lanka led the Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. At the Indian National Elections, Dr Celcio Dias was elected Chairman, Fr M. V. Sunny as Vice Chairman, Mr Shelton Pyster as Secretary, Mr Julius Fernandes as Treasurer and the Trustee members: Fr Jiss Jose, Mrs Carmeline Vaz, Fr Francis D ‘Souza, Fr Joseph Susainathan and Mr Robin Boidya. This was conducted by Prof. Americo and Mr Nuno by show of hands as accepted by all. Newly elected members spoke and the Chairman expressed the hope of all working as a team with support and prayers of all. He mentioned about the post Fatima Centenary experience of opening of hearts and conversion of many from persecution to Grace and Mercy.
Rev. Sister Mary Prema, Superior General of Missionaries of Charity, then gave an inspiring talk titled: “Into the Abode of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Prof Americo, afterwards, spoke on “Our Lady of Fatima and 100 years of Grace and Mercy.” This was followed by a Cultural program which included a professional Bengali singer and children dances. The cultural program enthralled the crowd.
On Tuesday 4th February, the International Secretariat Fatima Report was presented by Mr. Nuno Prazeres, illustrating it with many photos from Fatima and inviting people to organize pilgrimages to the Shrine of Fatima and a visit to Domus Pacis, the mother house of the Apostolate. This report was followed by the S. Korea and Sri Lanka report by Sr Michaela Kim and Fr Shelton Dias.
The Holy Relic of Saints Francisco and Jacinta were exposed for veneration for all. Then, various workshops were conducted on areas such as Prayer, Membership, Organization, Finances, Formation and Youth & Children, etc.
After this, the participants made a pilgrimage to Saint Mother Teresa’s tomb for prayer. The Holy Mass was celebrated there with the community of the Sisters of Charity. Brown Scapular enrolment was also made at Mass. Before this, there was a talk offered to all Sisters Missionaries of Charity of St. Teresa of Calcutta living in the General House, and to all the other people on “How to enhance the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” by Prof Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz. The conference by Prof. Americo was based on the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Spirituality of Fatima and its role in the foundation of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity by St. Teresa de Calcutta. Afterwards, the group photo was taken at Seva Kendra and the closing of the congress was done.
On Wednesday, 7th February, most people left for home and some for the Goa celebrations, held at Basilica de Bom Jesus, Old Goa, on the 7th of February morning. This program, organized by the World Apostolate of Fatima in Goa, had the active support and participation of the Legion of Mary movement.
Fr. Patricio, the Rector of the Basilica spoke briefly on the history of the place that is also the home of the remains of Saint Francis Xavier. Prof. Américo summarized in a profound conference the Fatima Message, particularly the forgotten message of the First Saturdays, followed by Mr. Nuno’s greeting to all.
The Archbishop Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao, from Goa, attended the program and was the main celebrant of Holy Mass.
Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament followed, led by Fr Peter da Gama and Fr Patricio led the Most Holy Rosary. Then Fr Peter did Brown Scapular and Pledge enrolment or renewal and concluded with sprinkling of holy water. Then was the veneration of the Basilica Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, Relics of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta and St. Francis Xavier. Mention was made of the privileges of veneration of relics of healing and driving away evil spirits. Lunch packet and water bottles were distributed. Special kits containing information on Our Lady of Fatima in leaflets, etc were distributed to Parish in charge of the Legion of Mary to 25 Parishes and other leaflets to all.
The mission was to proclaim the forgotten Message of Our Lady of Fatima and spread through the Parishes in Goa Archdiocese through the Legion of Mary. Later Prof Americo and Mr Nuno were interviewed by Dr Celcio at the CCR TV Studio in Panaji. The interview can be seen on youtube channel at this link: https://youtu.be/O0Ehe3G25Ac
SPIRITUAL FRUITS OF THESE EVENTS
1- Experience of God’s Grace and Mercy through the Holy Mass, Adoration, Veneration, prayers especially Rosary, Holy Relics, talks, procession, pilgrimage and fellowship with others. Months earlier, many were doing the daily Act of Consecration of this Congress to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and so could experience the promptings and moving of the Holy Spirit. A Souvenir will be released shortly. Archbishop Thomas D’ Souza, Archbishop of Calcutta was present at almost all the celebrations. There has been a rekindling of Our Lady’s Message of Peace.
2- Smooth National Board elections
3- National Meeting of all related to Our Lady of Fatima: Parish Priests and Chaplains whose Parish or Chapel is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, nuns, Communities, WAF members and anyone interested.
4- Proclamation of the Fatima Message to all via various social media, TV channel, internet, etc.
5- This was the first National Meeting outside Goa.
6- Some members are ready to travel to Philippines to study in depth their formation programs.
7- Our Lady’s Message proclaimed to many local Priests and MC nuns who were guests for this.
8- 100 decade group Rosary propagated by S. Korea for almost impossible situations.
9- Children and Youngsters Reparatory Adoration for good to triumph over evil.
10- Consecration of Parish or Chapel before visiting to introduce the Fatima Message and WAF as in Sri Lanka.
11- St Teresa of Calcutta was our founding member and now is our powerful intercessor.
12- Interest in Pilgrimages to Fatima.
13- Profound contents of the talks by Prof. Americo Lopez Ortiz, the International President of the WAF, opened new horizons on the Message of Fatima and its pastoral contributions in the life of the Church; better understanding of the theology and spirituality of the Message; offering new developments on the urgency of the Message in our times, taking advantage of his many years as investigator of the Fatima Apparitions and Message and his fourteen books published on these topics.