Father's Letter of July 2004,
re: Taking the Message to the Bishops
Dear Friend of Our Lady,
I have now spent more than 25 years of my priesthood working for Our Lady and doing almost anything I could to bring Her Fatima Message to you and millions of other Catholics.
The work has been long and hard and, at times, it has been very painful. But by God's grace and with the help of many friends and benefactors, we've been able to achieve tremendous and wonderful things.
Almost single-handedly (and in the face of powerful opposition) this little Apostolate of Our Lady's has kept the torch of Her Fatima Message burning ever more brightly in the world.
In a time of darkness, doubt and widespread disbelief, with Our Lady's help, you and others like you have managed to bring Her words to millions of people. In effect, we have kept the Message alive and, by doing so, helped Our Lady to awaken new faith and new hope for countless numbers of souls.
Again, almost single-handedly (and again, facing fierce and violent opposition), Our Lady and this Apostolate have succeeded in putting Fatima back on the Church's agenda. For those who would consign Our Lady's words to the dustbin of history, we've answered "OVER OUR DEAD BODIES!"
These are no small accomplishments. When you think where Fatima was 25 years ago and where it would have been today without our efforts, our success seems almost miraculous!
And indeed, perhaps it is. But whether miraculous or not, the fact remains that with Our Lady's help, we've beaten all the odds.
We have kept Our Lady's words reaching out to millions through the darkness and confusion. We have withstood the wickedness and snares of our enemies. We have kept our faith and we have stayed the course.
IF ONLY I COULD TELL YOU...
If only I could write to you today and say that our work was done. If only I could tell you that Russia has been consecrated as Our Lady asked. And, yes, that it has finally been converted.
If only I could tell you that peace -- real, lasting peace -- was assured in our nation, in the Church, in the world. If only I could say to you that no more young soldiers must die, that no more babies would be murdered in their own mother's womb.
If only -- oh, IF ONLY -- I could tell you that the scandals in the Church were over and that millions were returning to the faith of their fathers, and that vocations to the priesthood and religious life were at all-time highs.
But as you well know, I cannot tell you any of this. Alas, the situation in both the world and the Church is, if anything, worse than it was a year ago.
Everywhere we turn, everywhere we look, the dangers to our lives, our families, our nation and our Church are multiplying!
Terrifying Signs of the Times
Only a few weeks ago, Russia and China announced that they would be holding joint military maneuvers which the Russian defense minister declared was part of a plan to "bolster the already burgeoning military ties" between the two countries.
This comes only months after Russia held its largest military exercise in many years, in which hundreds of thousands of troops, ships, planes and nuclear weapons were mobilized.
As reported in the New York Times, Russian military leaders made no secret that this exercise was the first of many aimed at re-establishing Russian military power throughout the world.
This, from the supposedly "consecrated" and "converted" and "peaceful" and "democratic" Russia!
And yes, even as we face a newly resurgent and re-armed totalitarian Russia, the situation in the Church grows increasingly desperate.
The newest statistics on Catholicism around the world are not just sobering, they are FRIGHTENING!
According to a recently released report, attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in many European nations has dropped to less than 10%. In some countries, like Holland, less than 3 Catholics out of 100 attend Mass.
And it's not much better here in North America! In five years, Church attendance has fallen nearly 10 percent. Now only around 3.5 out of every ten Catholics regularly assist at Mass.
With the continuing scandals in the clergy, we can only expect those numbers to fall even further, but, sadly, that's not the worst news...
In an article published in Seattle Catholic last year, mathematician David Sonnier demonstrated with terrifying logic that, if current trends continue, the Catholic priesthood in the U.S. could virtually cease to exist!
According to the models studied by Dr. Sonnier, there could be as few as 10 seminarians left in all the United States in the year 2065. You read that right:ten seminarians for all the U.S.
A Mother's Solemn Promise
Perhaps because we've done so much, prayed so much, given so much, it's tempting to say that enough is enough. To say let others take up the burden, let others carry the cross.
And I can tell you that I've had thoughts like these. Not once, not twice, but many, many times.
But we must never forget that it is Our Lady Herself who has called us to this work. It is the Queen of Heaven who has told us through the child seers:
"Do not lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
If there is any meaning whatsoever to Our Lady's appearances at Fatima, if Her Message means anything, it is that we must not fear. We must not give in to despair, hopelessness and passivity.
Even as She is God's Mother, She is ours as well, and She has promised solemnly to protect us and to bring us to victory. And not some minor, temporary victory, but the greatest triumph of peace, faith and serenity the world has ever known.
But we must remain true to Her and to the promises of our baptism. We must not falter or fail. We must persevere to the final victory. This and nothing less is what She is asking of us.
Now at this point you may be thinking to yourself: "Fine words, Father Gruner, and very pious too, but let's get practical. How are we going to get Russia consecrated as Our Lady asks? How are we going to bring about the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart as She promised?"
And those are good questions, and the right ones, too!
Face-to-Face with the Bishops
We've spent 25 years building a powerful movement to promote Our Lady's Message and to protect it against those who would suppress or mutilate it beyond recognition.
We've succeeded despite our powerful enemies. As we saw last year in the historic struggle to save Our Lady's Shrine at Fatima, anything is possible when people of faith work together.
As you know, Heaven has entrusted Russia's consecration to the Pope and to our bishops. Despite what some would have you believe, this is not some oversight on God's part, or a mere whim.
It is His will because only in such an important public act can devotion be firmly established, in the world, to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Not a private devotion, but a huge public one!
The Consecration of Russia is the "golden key" that will unlock a new era of peace in the world. As we've learned, getting it done is no easy matter, but it is worth almost any sacrifice.
We've tried many ways to reach the bishops in the past, but none have succeeded as we hoped they would. We've tried letters, books, conferences. We've sent magazines and made phone calls.
Today, it seems ever more clear that our best and strongest hope is to go and meet with the bishops face-to-face. Only in such a direct, personal way can we convince them to do what God and His Blessed Mother have asked.
This is obviously a difficult, time-consuming and expensive effort. We're talking about over 4,500 different bishops spread out across the face of the earth.
But think for a moment what it would mean if we could convince a third or even a quarter of our bishops to actively promote the Consecration, especially at a time when the Holy Father is approaching the end of his pontificate.
THE NEXT POPE
The next conclave to elect a new Pope will probably be the most important in Church history. The future of the Church may well depend on the choice that the Cardinals make in Rome.
It goes without saying that the next Pope will come from the ranks of our Catholic bishops. Maybe he's in South America or Asia, or even here in North America. No one can predict with certainty.
We need to get Our Lady's case to each and every one of our Church leaders before the next conclave. Whether they will be in Rome for the conclave or not, their opinions will matter.
If we can build a large contingent of bishops who are truly committed to Our Lady's cause -- whether they are from America or Africa or Asia or Australia or Eastern Europe or the Middle East -- their voices will be heard and be a powerful influence on the conclave.
Yes, it's a gamble. It's possible that no matter what we say or do, many bishops will not respond or will continue to pretend that the Fatima requests are not binding on them.
But we must try something, anything to convince them that Russia's consecration is the only means possible to bring peace to the world and to the Church.
If that means that I and other members of the Apostolate must travel to the ends of the earth and spend long days and nights knocking on chancellery doors, that is a small price to pay for the victory that Our Lady has solemnly promised us!
Help Us Visit the Bishops
I'm sure you know I do not relish the idea of us spending the next year or two traveling hundreds of thousands of miles and living in hostels and inexpensive hotels.
There are many other things I'd prefer us to do, but I am convinced that theonly way we are going to make a breakthrough with the bishops is with this kind of one-on-one contact.
There simply is no substitute for personal contact. That's just the long and the short of it.
As I told you, this is no easy or cheap project. Even with the least expensive airfare and accommodations, it will still cost many tens of thousands of dollars (and a lot of time) for me and for other Apostolate representatives to visit all 4,600 Catholic bishops.
As always, I am turning to you to ask for both your prayers and your help to make this project possible. Only with both can this extraordinary, important effort have any hope of success.
Please remember this intention in all your prayers and at Holy Mass. I continue to remember you and all Our Lady’s friends in all my Masses. May God bless you.
Yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Nicholas Gruner
- Other Letters
For more information about Father Gruner,
visit the Fatima Priest web site