Exactly 197 days before next year’s 100th-year anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions on May 13th, over 300 friends, supporters and members of the American TFP gathered for its annual national conference. It started on Friday, October 28, 2016 with the customary Friday pizza dinner social where attendees from different parts of the country were able to greet old friends and meet new ones upon their arrival at the American TFP’s headquarters in Spring Grove, Penn. Familiar faces and newcomers can be seen in animated conversations while enjoying the delicious brick-oven pizza prepared and served by TFP members and volunteers.
Welcoming Honored Guests and Attendees
Preparing for the Fatima Centennial and America’s Fatima Future was this year’s theme. The first day of the conference started with an early morning Mass. Attendees were then officially welcomed by Mr. Michael Drake, conference director. This year, the conference was once again graced by the presence of HIRH Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza and four distinguished members of the clergy, some of who kindly provided the Sacraments to those present over the weekend.
What Will America’s Fatima Future Be Like?
American TFP vice president Mr. John Horvat delivered the first talk of the conference. Foreseeing the eventual triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart as she promised at Fatima, Mr. Horvat likened this future era to a grand return to order and then proceeded to visualize for the audience how this Fatima future would look. Relating ideas from his book, Return To Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society, Mr. Horvat explained that when America as a nation eventually converts, her Fatima future will be built upon America’s characteristics perfected by God.
Following Our Lady’s Remedy: Devotion to Her Immaculate Heart
Veteran TFP members Mr. Luiz Solimeo and Mr. Gary Isbell delivered the second talk of the conference. They explained that the core message of Fatima is just what Our Lady requested: to spread the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. Explaining that this devotion necessarily parallels the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Messrs. Solimeo and Isbell carefully described the essence of these twin devotions and how important they are to our Fatima future.
Amoris Laetitia and Catholic Resistance
TFP member spoke about the controversial post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Focusing mostly on papal infallibility, the crisis in the church and the papacy and the promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ that “the gates of hell shall not prevail,” Mr. Pribble carefully explained the conditions of papal infallibility when speaking ex cathedra regarding matters of faith and morals.
The History of the Good Seems Always to End in Defeat—Is This What God Wants?
Starting out his talk with a litany of depressing defeats and miseries throughout history, TFP member Mr. Michael Whitcraft explained that God wants individuals and nations to make sacrifices in order that the beauty and marvels within us and in society will be revealed and eventually lead us to victory. He cited the beautiful story of Saint Monica and Saint Augustine to illustrate his point.
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: Loudspeaker of Our Lady of Fatima
TFP member Mr. Norman Fulkerson had the task of speaking about TFP founder Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and his devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Recognizing that Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima was the most important event of the twentieth century, Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira tirelessly promoted the Fatima message to individuals and to nations, especially the dangers of the spread of atheistic communism throughout the world. He spent most of his life naming and denouncing the details of the errors of Russia.
The Rosary Procession
The end of the first day of the conference was capped with the traditional candle-lit rosary procession with the life-sized statue of Our Lady of Hope, La Macarena. Right after dinner, attendees began the Rosary procession. It culminated in the singing of the Litany of Our Lady.
Battlefield Reports: TFP in Action
The second day of the conference started with a talk by TFP member Mr. Michael Gorre, who reported on the activities of the American TFP during the past year. Using the analogy of an aircraft carrier battle group, Mr. Gorre described the different components of a naval fleet, such as a supply ship, representing the TFP mailings department which provides spiritual and educational ammunition; training ships, representing the TFP Student Action’s Call to Chivalry camps for boys ages 12 to 18-years-old, St. Louis de Montfort Academy and the Sedes Sapientae Institute; electronic warfare, represented by the various web sites such as tfp.org, anf.org, tfpstudentaction.org, rto,org, nobility.org, and so on. Mr. Gorre cited other activities, showed video clips and read repercussions from the field to complete his report.
Our Fatima Future: Can it Be Done?
Mr. John Horvat’s second talk dealt with how our Fatima future can be realized and the means to make it happen. Because of the power of our free will, organic solutions respecting human nature play a key role in realizing our Fatima future. These “organic remedies,” as Mr. Horvat put it, serve as a “brake” that stops the overwhelming power of the modern train that is taking us toward potential disaster. He went on to explain why the Fatima story itself is a perfect example of this organic remedy.
The Woman and the Serpent: Our Place in History
History is replete with victories through the direct intercession of the Mother of God. TFP member Mr. Ben Broussard eloquently narrated just a few examples that surprisingly enough, not many people know about. These exhilarating stories were a welcome complement to the talk by Mr. Michael Whitcraft the previous day. The palpable power of Our Lady’s intervention can be seen in real ways that changed the outcome of situations and events in history.
Catholic Models of Masculinity and Femininity: Our Response to Transgender Tyranny
To contrast the evils of transgenderism from its antithesis, TFP member Mr. Rex Teodosio laid out the criteria for considering the ideal models of masculinity and femininity. By meditating on the mysteries of the holy rosary, Mr. Teodosio suggested that the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Blessed Mother will give us a clear idea of the perfect models that we should follow and imitate.
The Solemn High Mass
The historic Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in nearby Hanover, Penn was the setting of the Solemn High Mass in the traditional rite celebrated especially for the conference. This church (also known as the “Conewago Chapel”), is the oldest Catholic church constructed of stone in the United States and the oldest parish in America dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A solemn procession with Our Lady of Fatima’s statue started the Mass and with the TFP Choir singing the chants, the celebration concluded with the singing of the Papal Hymn, O Rome Eternal!
The Medieval Banquet and Closing Remarks by a Prince
With the conference room transformed into a medieval banquet hall, attendees and guests were treated with a sumptuous dinner amidst the flags and banners of medieval Europe. At a certain point, HIRH Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza made his traditional final remarks to close the 2016 TFP National Conference. A standing ovation erupted and following the final blessings presided by a distinguished member of the clergy, attendees were busy saying their goodbyes and hopes of seeing others again next year, when we mark the centenary of the Fatima apparitions.