Fatima 2000 - A Grand Event
The Fatima Crusader Closes the Millennium
with its Greatest Fatima Conference Ever
by William Fante
Over 350 delegates from around the world attended the Fourth Fatima Peace Conference in Hamilton, Ontario, from October 12 through 18, 1999. By the week’s end, the Fatima Center proclaimed with joy and gratitude that it was its most successful Fatima conference yet.
All the right ingredients were present to make Fatima: World Peace 2000 a huge success. It was held at the Royal Connaught Hotel in Hamilton, Ontario, a handsome, spacious building, designated an historic landmark. Built over 75 years ago, it has lost none of its original charm.
The even-paced, well organized conference offered a daily array of fine speakers who addressed many different aspects of the Fatima Message and related subjects. There was also time for prayer, rosaries, Masses, and splendid Catholic camaraderie amongst the delegates between lectures, during meals, and in the evenings.
The audience was comprised of at least seven bishops, 50 priests, and 300 lay people from all over the world. Countries and cities represented included United States, Canada, Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Fiji Islands, the Philippines, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, England, Sri Lanka, India, Rome and even Siberia.
Many of the delegates attended because they realize the Fatima Message is the most important event of the 20th Century, and the Message must be known, lived, loved and better understood. Others came seeking to learn more of the Fatima Message that they knew little about. All looked to the conference for instruction and inspiration. Fatima: World Peace 2000 delivered on every count.
A first for the Fatima Apostolate was a live broadcast of the entire conference on the World Wide Web. Thanks to the competent computer/sound staff at the Fatima Center, who are adept at wielding cutting edge technology, the Fatima conference was immediately made accessible all over the world. Many supporters who could not attend the conference listened over the Internet as the talks were delivered. This was evident from phone calls at the conference from those who had tuned into Fatima: World Peace 2000 on line. The superb quality of this transmission, one web expert noted, was superior to that of major networks like CNN. All the talks can still be accessed from the Fatima Network web page. (www.fatima.org)
Book rooms set up by the conference contained a wide assortment of Fatima literature and related materials. Conference delegates often packed into these rooms gathering religious books and items for themselves, or usually, to bring home to others. Most of the time, these rooms were staffed by volunteers who came from various cities to lend a hand to The Fatima Crusaders hard-working staff. The Fatima Center Volunteer co-ordinator said that these volunteers were indispensable in helping to run the conference, and their work was greatly appreciated.
Next to the book and literature area, there was a special Volunteer Room for the many volunteers who assist The Fatima Crusader in spreading the Fatima Message. At times, those who entered this room were surprised by the charming sight of young children gathered round a table making Rosaries. And there were no glum faces on these children either, as if performing a disagreeable chore imposed on them by their parents. No, these children were enthusiastic about Rosary-making, and spent many happy hours with each other stringing varieties of brightly colored beads into beautiful Rosaries.
Of course, the lecture roster contained some of the world’s finest speakers on Fatima and its profound importance. Speakers included Father Nicholas Gruner, Father Paul Kramer, Christopher Ferrara, Esq., Cornelia Ferreira, Joseph Kung (Cardinal Kung Foundation), Gerry Matatics (Biblical Foundations), Michael Matt (The Remnant), Christopher Storey (Soviet Analyst), and John Vennari (Catholic Family News) who also chaired the conference. Fatima: World Peace 2000 was also privileged to have Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo from the Vatican as a special guest speaker.
Each speaker addressed a certain aspect of Fatima, or Church and world events that relate to the Fatima Message. A wide array of subjects was covered including the Brown Scapular, the Five First Saturdays, Our Lady of Fatima’s fidelity to Catholic Tradition, the falsehood of evolution, the errors of Teilhard de Chardin, the Collegial Consecration of Russia, Lenin’s World Revolution, the persecution of the Church in China, the Godless United Nations, the New Age “United Religions” initiative, Biblical foundations of Our Lady’s Queenship, the dangers of Rock music, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Third Secret, the Liturgical Revolution and much more.
On tour at The Fatima Center small chapel. A hole was cut in the ceiling to fit the beautiful crucifix presented to Father Gruner at the Second Bishps Conference for World Peace that we held in Mexico near Guadalupe. You must visit to see how the artist intricately painted crystal tears down Jesus' cheek.
Touring the warehouse at the Operational building of The Fatima Center.
Father Gruner shows Delegates the TV setting of Fatima: "The Moment Has Come".
Members of the Clergy and young Volunteer Delegates on a tour outside The Fatima Center with Anthony Sebastian, manager of our Immaculate Heart Orphanage in India.
Processions and Excursions
Outdoor processions where the Faithful express publicly their love and devotion to Our Blessed Mother are part of the glories of our Holy Catholic Faith and are most pleasing to Heaven. Did not Our Lady at Lourdes implore “let procession come hither”? In keeping with this sublime Catholic tradition, the conference included a procession on the streets of Hamilton on October 13 to mark the 82nd anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. Neither clouds nor threat of rain deterred the procession for one moment, and bishops, priests and laity from all over the world wove through the streets of this Ontario city reciting together the rosary, and singing hymns in honor of Christ the King, and Mary Our Queen.
Three days later, on Saturday, a line of chartered buses rolled up to the front of the hotel to drive the delegates across the border into the U.S. for a visit to Our Lady of Victory shrine and basilica in south Buffalo, New York. This ornate and majestic Basilica was built by Father Nelson Baker in 1925 as an act of homage to Our Lady of Victory, to whom Father Baker had an intense, life-long devotion. After receiving a brief presentation about Father Baker and the basilica, the delegates had time to prayerfully make their way through the church and admire the outstanding craftsmanship of the statues, coves, columns, artwork, mosaics and stained glass. Of course, each took his turn kneeling at the marble tomb of Father Baker (d. 1935) who was recently interred from the cemetery into the church.
One of the most comical episodes of the basilica excursion was trying to tear conference delegates away from the Shrine gift-shop. Even the threat of “the bus is leaving in two minutes, better get on board now!” did not pry the delegates, with religious items in their grip, from the long cashier line. The guide finally instructed all but one bus to leave, so that those who were steadfast in their resolve would not miss their transportation back to Canada.
From Our Lady of Victory Shrine, the delegates were driven to Fort Erie, Ontario, for a tour of the Fatima Center where The Fatima Crusader magazine and FATIMA: “The Moment Has Come” television program is produced, and where this remarkable worldwide Fatima apostolate carries on its daily work. Many who have been reading The Crusader for years were pleased to finally see the operation where it all takes place. That evening, a special dinner overlooking Niagara Falls crowned the days events. The delegates arrived back at the Royal Connaught Hotel after 10:30 p.m., a bit tired, but happy.
Eye Opening and Urgent
To say that those who attended were delighted with the conference would be an understatement. Laity, priests and bishops were constantly heard exclaiming how enjoyable and beneficial the conference had been. One kind bishop from Africa commented about Joseph Kung’s outstanding presentation on the true state of the persecuted underground Catholic Church in China. The bishop said, “According to the information that I receive in my diocese, I was under the impression that the Catholic Church was flourishing in China. I did not know that this persecution was still going on.”
After the conference, a priest from Sri Lanka who had attended wrote “I must say the Conference was very good and fruitful. The speeches were very impressive and we profited a lot about Our Lady of Fatima. ... I distributed the Rosaries, medals, Fatima literature etc. you so kindly gave me, to my parishioners.”
Fatima: World Peace 2000 was the last, and certainly one of the grandest Fatima conferences of this century. But the end of the century, and the end of the millennium, does not mark the end of the Fatima story. The necessity of living the Fatima Message of daily Rosary and reparation is more vital than ever. The importance of promoting the full Fatima Message has never been more acute. And the need for the Collegial Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is more crucial than ever as the Church and the world plunge further and further into chaos, confusion and ultimate catastrophe.
The goal of this conference was to make the Fatima Message known, loved and lived by reminding the Church and the world of the beauty, profundity and urgency of Our Lady’s loving words at Fatima. The Fatima Crusader thanks all those who made this conference possible, and prays that Fatima: World Peace 2000 will be another milestone toward the Consecration of Russia and the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.
Meal time was highlighted by animated exchange of ideas, making new friends and renewing old acquaintances.
Bishop Lopez of Brazil leads the attending Bishops and clergy in extending a farewell blessing at the end of the Conference.
At every event, time is always set aside for enrollment in the Brown Scapular.
Some Delegates brought their own flags to display at this International Conference. Pictured with Father Gruner are delegates from the Philippines.
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