Dr. Celcio Dias of Goa India spoke on Vatican Radio on 3rd May 2017, on how the Indian Catholic Church is preparing to celebrate the Fatima Centenary.
Dr. Celcio Dias, a medical doctor by profession, is the International Secretary and Vice Chairman of the Indian centre and Goa Unit of the World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF). He spoke at length on WAF association, its purpose, the relevance of the Message at Fatima and the elaborate programmes designed by the Indian Board for a fruitful celebration of the Fatima Centenary in the Parishes, Chapels, Institutions and Houses.
Dr Celcio, before we begin the interview can you tell us something about yourself, your name, your designation and how you got appointed to this post.
I am Dr Celcio Dias, a Medical Doctor by profession from Assolna, South Goa India. I am also International Secretary, Vice Chairman of the Indian Center and Goa unit of the World Apostolate of Fatima.
Elections are held after a term of 3 or 4 years 1) At Fatima, organised by our International Secretariat and International Ex bd, under Bishop Antonio Marto of Leiria-Fatima who is our International moderator at the International level 2) under Bishop Peter Machado appointed by the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ of India at National level and 3) under our diocesan Spiritual Adviser Fr Conceicao D’Silva appointed by our local Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao at Diocesan level.
Thank you Dr. First of all, why do you think Our Lady of Fatima appeared at Fatima?
The First World War claimed over 40 million lives; Pope Benedict the XV appealed to the Blessed Mother to end the War and a new invocation was added to the litany of Our Lady –Queen of Peace, Pray for us- dated 5th May 1917. Within 8 days, Our Blessed Mother personally appeared to three poor shepherds Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia aged 8, 6 and 9 years old.
We were familiar with the Blue Army of Fatima years ago. Is this association same as that?
The name given to the movement was initially Blue Army,a private association of the faithful, devoted to piety and the promotion of the Message of Fatima. A new foundation was needed as per the request of the Holy See, to become an ecclesial apostolate. This is how it became an international apostolate with millions of members and national centres in many countries, and some presence in 110 countries throughout the world adopting the name World Apostolate of Fatima with the international headquarters in Fatima, Portugal, in the beautiful pilgrim guest’s house, Domus Pacis (“House of Peace”).
Prof. Américo Pablo López Ortiz, our International President, is responsible for the renewal and re-founding of the Apostolate with the principal mission of the New Evangelization using as instrument the authentic Message of Fatima and the formation of our families, inspired by Saint John Paul II, who personally requested the new foundation. Priests and Religious are also included. The World Apostolate of Fatima is a PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE FAITHFUL, approved by the Holy See, whose DECREE OF ERECTION was signed on October, 7, 2005, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
‘The World Apostolate of Fatima’, what is its purpose?
The World Apostolate of Fatima has, as its general purpose, the promotion of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church and the strict adherence to the tenets of the Gospel; the personal sanctification of adherents through faithful adherence to the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima - Portugal, in 1917, to three little shepherds, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta Marto and the promotion of the common good by the spreading of this same message.
Its mission is the New Evangelization using as the ideal instrument the authentic Message of Fatima, a true “echo” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “an evangelical message of prayer and penance” as the Blessed Pope Paul VI said, of conversion and “metanoia”.
The minimum required to become a member is the making of a PLEDGE, known as the “Heaven’s Peace Plan” promising: (1) to offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by one’s daily duty to the faithful observance of God’s law; (2) to say five decades of the Rosary daily while meditating on the mysteries; (3) to wear the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a sign and reminder of personal consecration to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, soul of the Message of Fatima. (4) On the first Saturday of five consecutive months, with the intention of making REPARATION to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, confess and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep company with Our Lady for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.
In her book “Calls from the Message of Fatima” Sr Lucia mentions: “The entire Message of Fatima is a great call for the Church of our time. It is a Message which reveals the DESIRE of the Maternal Immaculate Heart of Mary: an URGENT and universal call for Holiness for the Peace of the World and for Salvation of all in Christ”
Tell us about the history and organization of WAF in India
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Karjat, Bombay Archdiocese is the first in Asia and in India, to have a wooden statue here was brought from Portugal in 1920.Jesuit Fr Julian Henry Spiritual Father of St Teresa of Calcutta founded the Apostolate in1931. St Teresa was a great source of encouragement. Her Sisters, the Missionaries of Charity have a deep spirituality to the Immaculate Herat of Mary. She later became a member of our Apostolate by signing the Pledge in public, signifying the importance and urgency of this Charism. Earlier Calcutta was the National Center and in 1997, Goa became the National Center. Fr. Servulo de Piedade founded the Apostolate in Goa in 1954.
Every 3 years National Council meetings are held. The 9th National Council of the World Apostolate of Fatima was held on 18th November 2015. 3 Bishops, 39 delegates 12 observers, including 34 priests from 22 dioceses, 5 Sisters of different congregations and 112 local WAF members attended.
The Statutes of the Indian National Council and the Goa Archdiocesan are approved.
About 40 dioceses have Priests appointed by their local Bishops as Spiritual Advisors, who carry out the mission in their Diocese. Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is definitely present in almost all Dioceses in India.
4. What are the different pastoral activities and devotional programmes organised at the national level for this centenary?
We are privileged to be in the centenary of the Fatima Apparitions.
At the end of his homily of May, 13, 2010 at Fatima, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI mentioned: "May the seven years which separate us from the Centenary of the Apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
We simply try to fulfill the desires of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, made almost 100 years ago by sending handouts, whattsapp messages, videos and emails to all Indian Bishops and many Priests, religious and lay focusing on these 8 points. Also our Bishop Peter Machado made a special mention during the Bishops’ Conference:-
1] Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays which is the forgotten message.
2] Act of Consecration / Entrustment to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary using the Brown Scapular as a sign of this consecration.
3] Public meditation of the Holy Rosary and Procession with the Most Blessed Sacrament or with the Statue of Our Lady on Feast days. Also included here is the Statue Visitation to Dioceses and Parishes.
4] Reparatory Adoration taught to the shepherd children, for the triumph of good over evil in groups especially children and youth or anyone.
5] Fatima Centenary Year Mini Congress / Presentation in Parish / Deanery / Community / Diocese consisting of Holy Mass, Fatima Reparatory Adoration, Rosary and short presentations on the Fatima story, the Centenary celebrations and the Divine Mercy (a total of around 4 hours). We send material to help organize. Totally, last year I have personally been to 10 Dioceses.
6] Diocesan Celebration of the Fatima Apparitions on 13th May / 13 Oct 2017, at the Cathedral / Central place with Reparatory Adoration and Presentations, Movie, Holy Mass and Procession with Rosary, to be presided by Bishop, etc.
7] Plenary Indulgence is granted by the mandate of Pope Francis, to be gained during this Jubilee Year, under the usual conditions.
7] Plenary Indulgence is granted by the mandate of Pope Francis, to be gained during this Jubilee Year, under the usual conditions.
8] Online Fatima Formation Platforms: Here we send on social media like email and whattsapp Fatima presentations on various topics like the Fatima Story, First Saturdays, etc.
The target is youth. The WhatsApp number is +91 9822981418 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. This is our website:WorldFatimaTv.org
Many say that the miracle of the sun is only an imagination, what would you say about it?
Our Lady was given all Power by God to work the miracle of Fatima that all might believe, confirming God’s seal. Mainly because of this, the Church approved the Fatima Apparitions and Message. This quote is from late Fr Luis Kondor, who served as Postulator for the Beatification of the Shepherd children for many years. This miracle would have been more prominent but was diminished due to the sins of mankind. The physical changes occurred demonstrates that it was something real, not imagined: That is after three days of rainfall, the clothes, streams and dirt roads were dried with the “dance of the sun”, a cosmological miracle unique in history since the days of the Old Covenant and the victory of Israel over the Philistines.
How relevant do you think that the message of Fatima today and especially for the Church in India?
In May 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the Message of Fatima will be “increasingly accepted, understood and lived in every community. The Good Lord of history, has chosen messengers like Our Blessed Mother to actualize the measures of faith and morals needed to succeed over the powers of evil
The Charisma of the World Apostolate of Fatima is the New Evangelization and formation of the laity, especially families, through the authentic Message of Fatima. Priests and Religious are also included. This is the most important ecclesiastical pastoral mission of the Catholic Church, to proclaim the Good News of salvation to all:
On 13 May 1917, Our Lady asked the shepherd children, which is also for us: "Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners? Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the Grace of God will be your comfort."
INNER CONVERSION (METANOIA), MEDITATIVE PRAYER ESPECIALLY THE MOST HOLY ROSARY, PENANCE, EUCHARISTIC ADORATION AND REPARATION, ENTRUSTMENT TO GOD THROUGH THE CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY are the tools needed here in India where we are facing persecutions. At times, persecutions are permitted for purification of the Church.
By proclaiming the primacy of God in today’s world, the WAF contributes to build the Kingdom of God on earth, “a new civilization of love” through a “new Marian Pentecost” that will constitute the authentic TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY announced at Fatima.
Pope Francis blessed 6 statues on Jan 11, for the 6 continents. Has the statue arrived in India too?
The Alliance of the Holy Family International and Human Life International Austria are organizing this, not our Apostolate, so I have no idea.
But, we have 2 statues gifted by Bishop Emeritus Serafim Sousa of Leiria Fatima. These statues go out to those Dioceses who request. On the fiftieth anniversary of the Fatima apparitions on May 13th, 1967, Pope Paul VI blessed twenty – five National Pilgrim Virgin Statues of Our Lady of Fatima to be presented to individual countries around the world. The Indian one from Calcutta is now in Raiganj Diocese from where the Fatima spirituality is spreading to the Eastern states. Many Dioceses and Parishes have their own statues.
When must remember that when one venerates images of Mary; the believer’s act is ultimately intended as a tribute to the person of the Mother of Jesus.
Have you anything more to share with us?
One year prior, i.e. in 1916, God prepared the 3 shepherd children by sending them a celestial messenger, the Angel of Peace, Catechist of Fatima. This Angel taught them prayers, the sense of reverence before God’s presence, the value of time: make good use of it, offering of one’s life, the Sanctification of our daily duties, the supernatural value of suffering and its fruits of peace. Finally, the Angel focused on the most profound esteem for the Eucharist, how to make Reparation to the Most Holy Trinity through the Eucharist and Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist and the fruit of reparation: the conversion of poor sinners. Based on this, we have a program called Children-of-the-Eucharist One World Praying for Peace and Life, which is on our website WorldFatimaTv.org
I wish you Grace, Mercy and Peace in this Great Jubilee Year of the Fatima Centenary! My gratitude goes to Prof. Américo Pablo Lopez-Ortiz, International President of the WAF, whose publications and articles written have served as sources for responding to your questions in the interview. Thank you and God Bless!