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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (8)

On August 12 and 13, there was a great downpour, but many people still came to the site of the apparition, hoping to witness the promised miracle there. The mother of the Dos Santos children also came. Although she still did not believe their visions, she wanted to protect them against angry crowds in case no miracle took place. Lucia led the crowds to pray the Rosary, and seeing the Virgin Mary, she asked, “What must I do?” The Virgin Mary replied, “Build a chapel for me here, and pray the Rosary, so that the war will end.” When Lucia brought the needs of the crowd to Mary, Mary replied, “Some I can grant, others I cannot. They must first change their lives. God has already been deeply wronged.” Then, Mary stretched out her arms, and a bright light appeared, showing Jesus and Joseph blessing the world – the Holy Family. At the same time, the crowds saw the Sun dancing in circles across the sky. Many thought that Judgment Day had arrived, but after eight to ten minutes, the sun returned to normal, and the formerly wet ground was dry. Many doubters of the Fatima visions believed that day. Clearly, God performed a miracle to emphasize to humans the importance of praying for peace.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 20


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (7)

The three Dos Santos children were upset at having missed the August 13th Fatima apparition, but Mary appeared to them on August 19th. Mary told them to return to the regular site of the apparitions on September 13th, exhorted them to continue praying the Rosary, and promised them a miracle in October. Mary looked sorrowful and said, “Pray continuously and sacrifice – many souls have entered Hell because there was no one to pray for them.” Remembering their vision of Hell, the children dedicated themselves to prayer and sacrifice. They gave food to poor children, fasted from food and water, bound tight ropes around their waists, and prayed the prayer taught by the angel. On September 13th, Mary told them that Jesus Himself would come in October, and that God was pleased by their sacrifices, but that they ought to wear the ropes only during the day, and not while sleeping. Prayer and sacrifice are two indispensable tools of the faith, and oftentimes, God saves souls through these invisible means. Even though it is sometimes impossible to contact all unbelievers in person, we can contact them spiritually through prayer and sacrifice, and bring them to accept God’s saving grace.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 13


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (6)

After the children were revealed the first two Fatima secrets, an ambitious local official was convinced the hidden third secret concerned him, so on August 13, on the pretext of giving them a ride to the site of the apparitions, he kidnapped them. He brought them to a prison and threatened to boil them alive unless they revealed the third secret. Jacinta began to cry, but Francisco began praying in reparation for sinners. Jacinta hung her religious medal on the wall and the three children began to recite the Rosary. The prisoners also tried to console the children: one of them danced with Jacinta, who loved to dance. Although the children were freed, they endured a martyrdom of sorts, refusing to divulge the third secret on pain of death. Thus, they missed the August Fatima apparition, although some people saw a blue cloud column appear thrice that day. They were very upset, and thought that Mary would not appear to them again.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 6


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (5)

Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 30


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima 4

After Lucia saw the Immaculate Heart of Mary, her mother thought her a liar and her parish priest thought her possessed by demons. Over time, Lucia herself began to suspect a demonic origin to the visions, but Jacinta was adamant, saying, “No, the Mary we saw was beautiful, not ugly like the demons!” But Lucia lost interest in prayer, had nightmares about demons, grew estranged from Francisco and Jacinta, and finally decided not to return to the place of the visions. On July 13th, though, Lucia felt compelled to go to her siblings – seeing them too afraid to go to Mary without her, Lucia relented and went with them. When they arrived, Mary told them she would give a vision in October which would make many believe. To rekindle Lucia’s interest in offering up her sufferings, Mary taught her to pray this with every sacrifice, “O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 22


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima 3

Lucia Dos Santos unwisely revealed the Fatima visions to her disbelieving mother who forced her to confess that she was lying, causing much conflict in the family. The next month, on June 13 , the Dos Santos siblings received a second vision of Mary. Lucia asked, “What do you want me to do?” Mary replied, “I want you to pray the Rosary daily.” Lucia strongly desired to enter Heaven, so Mary continued, “Yes, I will soon take Jacinta and Francisco to Heaven, but you must stay on Earth a while so that others might know and honour my Immaculate Heart.” Hearing this, Lucia was upset, saying, “I must stay here alone?” Mary consoled her, “You mustn’t be afraid, my Immaculate Heart will lead you to God.” Then Mary opened up her arms and revealed her Immaculate Heart, a scene shown in many depictions of the Fatima apparitions today. In 1919, Francisco passed away, followed by his sister Jacinta in 1920, and Lucia lived until she died on February 13, 2005, aged 97. Only by depending on God’s grace were the children able to carry out their God-given missions.
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fatima

In 1916, an angel, the Guardian of Portugal and the Angel of Peace, twice appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal and taught them to offer up their work and sufferings. The angel appeared a third time and, lifting high the Body and Blood of Christ, prostrated himself on the ground thrice and prayed what are now known as the second of the four Fatima Prayers. Then, the angel administered the Body to Lucia, and the Blood to Francisco and Jacinta, and taught them how to receive the Eucharist as an Act of Reparation, saying, “Jesus has been severely offended by ungrateful sinners – you must receive the Eucharist for the reparation of their sins and console your God.” Then, he disappeared, and Mary eventually appeared to the children in 1917. They noticed that, when the angel appeared to them, they felt tired and afraid to confide in him, but when Mary appeared to them, they felt energized and wanted to confide all to her. It was only later, when Lucia was commanded to write memoirs, that the apparitions of the angel were revealed. We too can learn to receive the Eucharist worthily and console God.
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Children can also be saints

Children can also be saints – 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, when Mary appeared to 10-year-old Lucia, 9-year-old Francisco, 7-year-old Jacinta. Francisco and Jacinta died early and were canonized on May 13, 2017. In 1916, an angel told them to pray with him and implore God to forgive the unbelievers; he told the children, “Keep praying. Jesus and Mary will listen to your prayers.” Another time, the children were idle in the shade, and the angel chastised them, telling them to keep praying and offer up their work as sacrifices to God for the sake of the conversion of sinners. The angel continued, “I am the Guardian Angel of Portugal. If you do these, your country will have peace. But you must patiently endure the coming sufferings.” The angel, suspected to be St. Michael, prepared the way for Mary’s apparitions. When we are called to endure things in life, we can also offer these up to God as sacrifices.
Publish date: 2017 - 11 - 25


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (62)

By 1879, St. John Bosco was growing old and began thinking of appointing his successor as superior of the Salesian Order. He frankly consulted Fr. Giovanni Cagliero, saying, “I think there are three probable candidates.” Fr. Cagliero replied, “As of now, there’s only one – Fr. Rua.” Thankful for the advice, Fr. Bosco appointed Fr. Michele Rua his successor. That December, Fr. Cagliero was consecrated in Turin as a bishop to South America, and purposely sought ought Fr. Bosco to be the first to kiss his bishop’s ring. In 1887, Fr. Bosco celebrated Mass at the newly-consecrated Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians in Turin; he cried many tears, saying afterwards that he recalled a childhood vision of Mary. Now, he knew that all his work to save souls was worth it. In September, he became sick, and even as visitors came to comfort him, he would still comfort them in return. When his health declined further, Fr. Cagliero returned from South America to visit, and during their visit, Fr. Bosco told him, “Tell the Salesians to work diligently and joyfully, to love each other like brothers.” In 1888, he said, “Tell my children that I will await them in heaven.” In January 31, he passed away in the company of his spiritual children. But even after death, he continues to work, working miracles and interceding for the living – a true spiritual father.
Publish date: 2017 - 11 - 18


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (60)

Many miracles occurred in St. John Bosco’s life. Once, a 16-year-old boy named Francisco entered the Oratory, but after a few days, tired of the simple food, told his mother he wanted to go home. Then, he witnessed a miracle—with only 15 to 20 loaves of bread, St. John Bosco fed the entire Oratory of 400 boys—and he told his mother, “Mother, I am sorry you had to needlessly come to Turin. But I have witnessed a miracle here, and I cannot leave a place so blessed by God.” He later became a Salesian priest. St. John Bosco had long prayed to the Virgin Mary for the gift of giving guidance to others. Because of this, he would frequently give helpful words of caution to his students. He would tell them to avoid obsessing over worldly things and focus on heavenly things. In doing so, he met their spiritual needs and brought them closer to God.
Publish date: 2017 - 11 - 4


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (58)

Once, St. John Bosco had a dream. In it, the students of his Oratory were dining in three levels: a few students dined miserably on the floor, most of the students dined at tables set with tablecloths and cutlery, and only very few students dined from on high with exquisite food and joyful sharing. He recognized his students and understood that the lowest level were in grave sin, the middle level were those who had repented, and the highest level had never lost their baptismal purity. On awaking, he encouraged those in grave sin, although unable to reach the highest level, to repent and be saved. St. John Bosco had another dream of the Devil ensnaring souls with sins. But beside each trap, God’s providential hand would place helpful weapons. The two biggest were meditation and spiritual reading, the two swords were adoring the Eucharist and venerating Mary, the axe was Confession, and the assorted knives were venerating the saints. He also had a third dream that the Church would face rough seas of sin and conflict but a Pope would guide its ship between the two columns of the Eucharist and Mary.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 21


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio was a holy student of St. John Bosco. When a classmate refused to pray in the cold chapel, he gave him his coat. Another time, a stranger visited the Oratory’s students and interspersed his jokes with criticisms of Catholicism. When Dominic found out, he got the students to walk out, saying, “This sinful man is trying to destroy our souls.” Another time, one of the students shared an impure newspaper, so Dominic angrily ripped it up and said, “Have you forgotten? Jesus said even one impure look can damage our souls!” The boy protested, “We’re just playing.” Dominic said, “We’ll see if you’ll still have fun in hell!” In 1856, John Bosco’s mother Margherita passed away and appeared singing to him in his dreams, saying, “I’m awaiting you, we must be together.” And a year later, Dominic fell sick and died, later appearing to his father asking for prayers.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 7