May 13, as I write this newsletter is the official Feast day of the Ascension. However here in South Africa we will celebrate the Ascension on Sunday. That leaves us free to celebrate as best we can the other feast day which is so important for this day, that of Our Lady of Fatima.
When she appeared to the three children, Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, on this day in 1917, it was the beginning of a series of appearances which would last up to the 17 October. Among all the messages Our Lady gave was the appeal for prayers for peace. Just to remind us all, 1917 the year in which the Russian Revolution took place and marks the beginning of the reign of Communism in the world. Communism was like a pandemic. Under Communism countless Christians were persecuted over many years in the countries in which a communist government held sway. The Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, in in a sense marked the end of the Cold War and the iron grip of the communist regime in many countries, particularly in the East. In the intervening year between 1917 and 1989 there were a succession of wars. To mention only some, two world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and countless little local outbreaks of violence. No wonder Our Lady appealed for peace. Today especially our televisions are filled with the violence in Israel between the Jews and the Palestinians.
Here is a quote from a sermon by Cardinal Antonio Marto at Fatima on this day last year as he stressed that healing the world’s illnesses, medicine and human techniques are not enough, spiritual health is also necessary. He continues:
I invite everyone to us the medicine of mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation which enables hearts and the world to be detoxified from the burden of aggression, rancor, resentment, and hatred; from the desires and thirst for revenge and from feelings which normally end in violence and even cruelty…. Only forgiveness and reconciliation can overcome these evils, these illnesses, in order to rebuild the bonds of brotherhood and peace.
The least we can do is to pray daily with Our Lady for peace in the world and an end to our present pandemic which is causing havoc worldwide.
Now, to return to our initiative of building a self-sustaining Church. Here is another account of where the Foundation helped out last year.
North of Pretoria in the area of Wintervelt the Sisters of Mercy have a Skills Training Centre. They offer training in Welding, Bricklaying and Construction Carpentry to young men to equip them to earn a living. The Department of Education funds the trainer salaries, Afrox donates gas but the cost of equipment fall to the Sisters and the center. So the Foundation (you) donated R25,000 for the purchase of 2 welding machines with welding rods, 2 cutting machines, 2 electric saws and lots of nails, bolts and screws and measuring tapes. Thank you.
Because of the continued restriction on numbers and Church attendance, I am still unable to get round parishes to promote the Foundation. I appeal again to you to speak to your family and circle of friends to enlist them in this great work. Send me their contact details. Helping others and sharing is at the heart of our catholic faith and lifestyle. Once more for all those who have lapsed in their contributions here are the Foundation Bank details again;
Name of our account SACBC Foundation
Branch Code 160445
Account number 1604879564
Use your cell number as a reference.
Finally, don’t forget the Foundation in your will. That the good you do will live after you.God bless all of you out there who support the Foundation so loyally and regularly.