Our Lady's Fatima Apostolate

The International Fatima Rosary Crusade (IFRC) is a Roman Catholic Apostolate formed in 1978 in response to the urgent Message of Our Lady of Fatima. It is a grass-roots association of Catholic priests and laypeople of the type specifically sanctioned by the New Code of Canon Law. The founder and International Director is Father Nicholas Gruner. For nearly two decades, Father Gruner has dedicated his life and career to promoting interest in and devotion to the Message of Our Lady of Fatima see "Father Nicholas Gruner: The Facts Behind the Controversy").

Shortly following the formation of Our Lady's Apostolate, Father Gruner began publishing The Fatima Crusader magazine . In 1980, Pope John Paul II directly encouraged Father Gruner in his Fatima work and the periodical has grown from eight black-and-white pages to a 64-page full-color magazine dedicated to promoting the full Message of Our Lady of Fatima. In the eighteen years since its first issue, the magazine has grown from a modest circulation of 20,000 to an estimated readership today of more than 1,000,000. It is by far the largest and most influential publication on Fatima in the world.

In response to Pope John Paul II's statement that "the Message of Fatima is addressed to every human being," the IFRC began broadcasting "Heaven's Peace Plan," a worldwide radio program featuring Father Gruner and guests, in the Spring of 1987. A year later, the Apostolate began a further expansion of its radio ministry to include regular daily short-wave broadcasts of the program which now reaches more than 190 nations overseas.

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Fr. Marcel Nault, Fr. Nicholas Gruner and Fr. Victor Soroka in the vestibule of the Fatima Center, IFRC's headquarters on the U.S.-Canadian border near Buffalo, New York.

Also in 1988, the IFRC expanded its outreach even further through various television and film projects. An hour-long Fatima documentary video hosted by noted actor Ricardo Montalban and featuring Father Gruner, was completed in May of that year. In September, 1989, "Fatima: The Moment has Come," Our Lady of Fatima's half-hour weekly nationwide television series was launched, featuring prominent guests from around the world. Since 1992, a number of communities across North America have received Our Lady's TV program daily.

In 1989, Immaculate Heart Press, the IFRC's book publishing arm was formed and Father Gruner's first book "World Enslavement or Peace" was published in an edition exceeding 100,000 copies. Since that time, Immaculate Heart has published more than two-dozen other books on Fatima-related subjects, including the first English-language version of the monumental 3-volume study The Whole Truth about Fatima by Frère Michel.

In October 1992, in Fatima, Portugal, over 100 Bishops from around the world accepted the invitation of the IFRC and The Fatima Crusader to attend a five-day Fatima Peace Conference. Two years later, in Mexico City, a second Bishops' Conference was held and attracted prelates from five continents. At the Mexico City Conference, a series of 14 Resolutions were unanimously adopted which have since been published both in Rome and across the United States and Canada.

In June 1995, in response to continuing efforts by radical modernist forces within the Vatican bureaucracy to restrict its work and pastoral outreach, the IFRC published "An Open Letter to the Pope" in Rome's largest newspaper, Il Messaggero. This two-page letter carefully chronicled a long history of harassment and persecution by a small clique of liberal bureaucrats determined to suppress the Fatima Message, and forcefully appealed to the Holy Father for his protection and help. It is estimated that this Open Letter has now been read by more than 5,000,000 souls worldwide and has elicited thousands of letters and calls of support.

In the summer of 1996, the Apostolate once more invited the world's bishops to gather to discuss and celebrate Our Lady's Fatima Message of peace and hope, but this time also extended the invitation to priests, religious and lay people around the world. "Fatima 2000," the third international Fatima Congress took place in Rome between November 18-24, 1996 and brought together nearly 200 international delegates, including leading members of the Catholic episcopacy. The Congress received front-page attention in the Italian press and, like its 1994 predecessor, resulted in the adoption of new Resolutions which were promptly given to the Holy Father during his regular public audience.

Despite the efforts of some within the Vatican bureaucracy to relegate Fatima to a mere footnote in Catholic history, the Apostolate has been successful in putting the Queen of Heaven's Message at the top of the Church's agenda. To date, over 400 Catholic Bishops have signed and sent in their written agreement to the IFRC indicating their willingness to fully comply with Our Lady of Fatima's request for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart as a condition for world peace. The IFRC and Father Gruner continue to keep in contact with all the bishops of the world several times a year by sending letters and current books on Fatima, as well as via phone calls and personal contact. This, like all of the Apostolate's activities, is part of its effort to help bring about the promised triumph of Our Lady of Fatima.

In response to Pope John Paul II's avowal that the "Message of Fatima is more relevant and more urgent today than ever", Father Gruner and other priests of the Apostolate continue to preach in cathedrals, churches and chapels throughout the world (at the invitation of bishops and priests). Father Gruner often travels with the beautiful Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, blessed by Pope Paul VI at Fatima in 1967, bringing Her Message of peace and hope to all Catholics and others of good will everywhere.

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