Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith. A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida.
Upon arrival at the home, an elderly grandmother with a group of young children and teens met me at the door. The group was sullen as I brought in the statue, set up the projector and began the introduction. Unknown to me, I was speaking to a Muslim family.
At a certain point, one of the teens vehemently objected to the phrase “Mother of God” and accused me of blasphemy since Jesus was not God. Quickly the visit became an interesting defense of the Catholic faith. After answering several more objections to the best of my ability, my Islamic hosts allowed me to explain the Rosary, with an attentive audience, I proceeded to pray alone.
After reciting the Rosary, the attendants and I listened to the hostess, who explained why she had assembled the family for the visit.
Several weeks ago, she was hospitalized for a serious illness. She felt alone and abandoned until one day a stranger walked in with a bouquet of flowers, placed it by the bedside and stayed to listen to all of her concerns. The stranger returned repeatedly to renew her flowers, fix her pillows and talk to her. Then the Muslim mother questioned the stranger’s motives, explaining that her own family wasn’t visiting her. The stranger replied that she was a Catholic and Catholics are encouraged to visit the sick.
Requesting more information about the Catholic faith, the mother was told that it was against hospital policy to discuss religion and therefore she would have to search for information on her own.
Upon her release from the hospital, my hostess entered a nearby Catholic church and encountered an America Needs Fatima flier about Our Lady of Fatima. She called the number and set up a home visit to which she then invited her family.
I may never know what has happened to the family, but I regularly pray that their interest in Catholicism has brought them into the folds of the Catholic Church. Of one thing I am certain: Our Lady will never abandon those who invite her into their homes.
By Michael Chad Shibler