This issue is of IMMACULATE
HEART MESSENGER magazine arriving late to your doors.
330 page book is greatly needed by the laity. It is for all the
faithful. It will inspire
young men to consider the priesthood and parents to encourage their
sons to consider a priestly vocation.
profound meaning of the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament, with
strong scriptural basis, is presented. The faithful who read this book
prayerfully will come to a deeper faith understanding of the Holy
Eucharist and the Priesthood, of the Church itself.
is seldom we can read the story of the life of a priest for 50 years
and in true story form gain at the same time a much deeper
understanding of the mysteries of our Catholic faith. Fr. Robert J. Fox
has accomplished this feat while giving a true account of his life from
childhood, to seminary life and through 50 years of the holy
priesthood. After reading this autobiography you will want to present
copies to priests and seminarians.
A truely enjoyable book, easy to read much like a novel. Father
fox bears his soul on these pages, it provides insite on the formation
of a young boy who is small but does big things for God.
Priest is a Priest
Forever click HERE
An Articles from
April - June 2005
IMMACULATE HEART MESSENGER magazine
- One of Suffering
By Fr. Robert J. Fox
It is perhaps unlike any other. There are various reasons: the
death of Sister Lucia whose life deeply touched my own; my 50th
anniversary as a priest of Jesus Christ; my close brush with
death two times, just a week apart, as the result of a near fatal car
accident last November 15.
And finally, as I continue to recuperate from several major surgeries
of the past year, radiation treatments for some months, and the
injuries of the near fatal car accident, all this has hindered my
ability to work until recently.
The death of Sister Lucia prompts us to feature her
in this issue. Never in the 2000-year history of the Catholic
Church has a humble nun, with but a few years of formal primary
education, been called by heaven for a mission touching the universal
Church, the Pope and all the bishops of the world, and even governments
Her messages have proven accurate. Her mission has proven vital
for the future of the world and the Church. She has contributed
to the salvation of souls and the veneration of the Immaculate Heart of
God's Mother throughout the
Sister Lucia's death, just short of 98 years, was
the fulfillment of another Fatima prophecy. She would remains
long upon the earth to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of God's
During the week of her funeral I was
interviewed twice on Catholic radio concerning Sister Lucia and
her death. The hour
interview on EWTN radio,
and also one on EWTN
television, regarding the book INTIMATE LIFE
OF SISTER LUCIA, brought countless calls for the book. It is
a book which I was originally not to publish until her death.
It contains documents previously not available at Fatima until I
presented the book to Fr. Cristino, in charge of the archives at the
Fatima sanctuary. He requested it. See more about this book
in this issue.
In this issue I give a brief
meditation after 50
years in Christ's holy priesthood. These years of great joy,
assisted by the "Cause of our joy," have passed so quickly. When one is
busy and happy, time flies.
I finally gave in
the suggestion to write an autobiography and
titled the book,
Priest is a
I must say that my 50th year has been for me a
the greatest physical sufferings, as can be noted in the first
paragraph of this editorial. And yet, this 50th year has been
like the other 49. I've been more happy each year in living
Christ's priesthood, more happy than the previous year.
In many ways it is a great grace to brush death so
closely but continue on. I had never had a car accident
before. They were always something that happened to other
people. I hesitated to share with you some of the experiences
I've been through the past 5 months as I've been returning gradually to
physical normalcy with the help of
therapy. But the joy of being alive, able to continue to serve
the Lord, souls, His Church, is too great to retain within myself.
After some years of repeated encouragement from
respected people to write a book on my life, I finally started an
autobiography. I had started it some months before the serious
accident. Then I could not think about that during the first
months of recovery. Realizing my 50th anniversary as a priest was
coming up April 24th, 2005, I finally was able to get back to
writing. I continued writing the book, hoping to get it out by
the time of the 50th Anniversary.
Park Press gave special
considerations to get the book printed quickly.
Sanislo of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, who
painted the beautiful cover of our Blessed
Mother for the book, Messages
from the Heart of Our Mother, volunteered to do a painting. [ for
[Mark Sanislo used a
took while on a pilgrimage with Fr.
Fox at Fatima: a Kodak moment, while leading us pilgrims in the
Rosary, rays of light showered him as he prayed. Thus this photo
was used for inspiration for the cover "A Priest
is a Priest forever." ]
As I write this editorial I've seen no samples of what he is coming up
with. He's only told me he'll have it at Park Press when they are
ready to print the book. Perhaps you'll see it on the page
advertising the book.
I wish to thank the readers of the Immaculate Heart
Messenger and members of the Fatima
Family Apostolate for their countless letters and prayers during
the months of my sufferings and rehabilitation. RJF
About the IMMACULATE HEART
Mother Vicar, Sister Catherine, (left) of
the Monastery of the Holy Angels and Shrine of the Most
Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama, came with Sister Marie
Machelle and Brother David came to visit Father Fox during the time of
his recuperation. They found him offering Holy Mass in his home
and afterwards posed for this picture.
A short synopious of
the autobiography by Fr. Fox,
from the Immaculate
on the Priesthood
After 50 Years
I am still learning more and more how a man who is ordained a
must also be a victim as Jesus Christ was both Priest and Victim.
priest, to be true to his vocation, must bear Christ's wounds and walk
the road of Calvary.
St. John Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars, who is the patron saint of
diocesan priests, said: "The priest
continues the work of
redemption on earth.... If we really understood the priest on earth, we
would die not of fright but of love.... The Priesthood is the
the Heart of Jesus."
The Cure de Ars would spend up to 16 hours daily
in the Confessional as people, even Cardinals and bishops, flocked to
him from many countries of the world for Confession.
Years ago when I was in Ars, France, I was able to see the bed and
curtains which the devil had set ablaze in his simple bedroom. The evil
spirits attempted to keep this holy priest from rest since he was
touching multiple thousands of souls with the love of the Hearts of
Jesus and his Mother.
I saw the Cure's simple study as the saintly
priest had left it, his breviary, eye glasses on a small table, even
some blood stains on the wall from his penitential scourging.
the single cooking pot over the fire place where the Cure prepared his
potato or two, which was about all he ate in a day. His rectory was
extremely poor. His parish church of Ars was different.
Nothing was too
good for the house of God. I prayed before his uncorrupt body for
protection in living Christ's priesthood today.
|A saintly priest of
Even closer to our time was St. Padre Pio. He was a holy priest of
Jesus Christ for 58 years. He attracted millions of souls
This saintly priest was an apostle of love of God and
neighbor. For the millions who discovered him, St. Padre Pio was above
all a priest.
He was a priest in the confessional where he spent many
hours each day; in church where he perpetuated Christ's sacrifice; in
his small cell; in the realization of charitable social works. Grown
and mature men became as little children, spiritual children, in his
St. Padre Pio reflected Jesus Christ the Priest, so visibly, that for
50 years he bore in his body the stigmata; the wounds of Christ's
crucifixion in his hands, feet and side.
Padre Pio, often seen as a "living crucifix" was never more in evidence
than at the Sacrifice of the Mass. Perfume would fill the Church as he
offered the Eucharistic Sacrifice. All who assisted at Padre Pio's Mass
could detect the expression of his participation in the sufferings and
death of Jesus Christ. At the same time they sensed his ecstatic
During the Jubilee year 2000 when I went to Rome, a high point of the
pilgrimage was to be able to offer Mass at the tomb of this beloved
priest-saint, now newly canonized. 1 had admired him since I was a
is the chief priest
of every Mass
Much was in evidence in the life of the holy priest, St. Padre Pio of
Pietrelcina. Yet, the reality of what the Sacrifice of the Mass is,
offering it may be, is the same, whoever the priest consecrating and
offering may be, St. Padre Pio, St. John Vianney, Pope John Paul II, a
St. Philip Neri or any ordained priest, the Sacrifice is the same.
Celibacy is for marriage
to the Church
For me the priesthood of
Jesus Christ and celibacy go hand in hand. I
consider holy ordination to be, as it were, a marriage to the Church.
The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is my family.
fatherhood, spiritual fatherhood, in making the sacraments possible and
available. This is true especially by feeding the faithful with the
Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, after having just offered the infinite
act of Eucharistic Sacrifice perpetuating Jesus' Sacrifice of the Cross.
Besides the Holy
Eucharist, for the past 50 years I've experienced
fatherhood at baptisms when souls are born to new life; in a special
way in the Confessional, where souls are restored to grace, made to
live again, or made more perfect and pure from imperfections.
I remember my first year
in college seminary, the Abbot of the
monastery where I attended the seminary called me in for a visit, as he
did all seminarians.
We knew one question which he would ask each young
student was, "Why do you want to be
a priest?" I prepared by
out a two-paragraph answer. I set il to memory. The answer expressed a
young man's thoughts at the end of his teens.
is for marriage
to the Church
It was easy to express why I wanted to be a priest. "To be able to
effect the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ's own Sacrifice of the Cross
and bring about Jesus' Rea! Presence in his Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity so peoplt could adore and receive our divine Lord into their
heart and souls for an increase of grace; to be able to forgive sins in
Jesus' holy name; to be able to preach the Word of God, the Word of
Jesus Christ, "the Way, the Truth
and the Life."
All this was very dear and sacred to/this
man, just off the farm
in South Dakota. As a farm boy when I could go to town, my favorite
place was to go to the church and stay before Jesus in the Tabernacle.
I had never really wanted
to be anything but a priest since young
childhood. Thus I prepared my written answer carefully and set
memory. I mentally repeated the memorized words several times daily,
awaiting each day my turn when I'd be summoned to the Abbot's office.
At that stage in my life, going before the
of the largest
Benedictine monastery in the world, was comparable to a private
audience with the pope. Once before the desk of Father Abbot I was not
at all fearful. He asked me about my life on the farm. We discovered
that this venerable old man and this very young man had much in common.
So I was very relaxed.
Why do you Want
to be a Priest?
Suddenly the venerable Father Abbot turned in his chair, pointed his
finger straight at me, and asked firmly: "Young man, why do you want to
be a priest?"
I could not recall a single word of the memorized answer which was
tucked away on paper in my shirt pocket. So I answered, "There are many
Father Abbot relaxed again, gazed out the window. So did I. The subject
changed. Suddenly he turned again to me, his finger pointing a second
time. "Tell me one of those little
reasons you want to be a priest."
I surprised myself with the answer I gave. It popped into my head in a
sentence which I'd never explicitly thought or heard before. "Because
I've always been fond of sanctity and I'd like to see it in other
"Ah! Very good young man. We don't
become priests for ourselves. One
becomes a priest for others. You don't become a priest to save your own
soul. You can save your soul in the world by living a good Catholic
But a priest is for others. He becomes a priest to give
adoration, glory to God, to work to teach the Word of God and sanctify
others through the Mass and the Sacraments."
desire is greater,
but still the same
Since then my thoughts have matured and
advanced, but not changed. I
love the Church. I love the priesthood. There has never been a moment I
was sad to be a priest of Jesus Christ, even when the Cross has been
To love the Church means for me to love Jesus Christ, to love
the whole Christ. To love the priesthood means to love Jesus Christ,
the God-Man, the Mediator between heaven and earth.
The Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us. Why? "So
that they may have life and
have it more abundantly." The holy priesthood carries on
work of the Heart of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the greatest vocation on earth. It is
eternal. It is of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. The priesthood
is not simply for oneself but to glorify God and work for the salvation
of souls. A Judas here and there does not diminish what Jesus Christ
bestowed on the Apostles.
Priesthood gives eternal indelible Character
An ordained priest has the indelible character
of Jesus Christ the High
Priest on his soul in virtue of ordination by the bishop.
indelible seal of Jesus the Priest empowers the ordained man with the
power to perpetuate Christ's Sacrifice of the Cross as he pronounces
the words of consecration over the bread:
"This is my Body." Over the
wine the priest says, in persona Christi, "This is my Blood."
then the Real Presence of the God-Man, Jesus Christ on the altar. The
very seal of Jesus Christ, the Priest, imprinted on the ordained man,
now characterizes his soul for all eternity.
Mother of Vocations
The priest has the sacred power not possessed by
angels. Not even Mary,
the Mother of God, Mother of the eternal high Priest, can consecrate
bread and wine into Jesus Christ or forgive sins. He has the privilege
and the power of transubstantiation and reconciliation.
the powers of Jesus Christ to change the substance of bread and wine
into the living substance of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Devout Catholics can well understand why
Mary beholds every validly ordained priest as a special beloved Son.
When I celebrated my 25th anniversary as a priest of Jesus Christ it
became very clear in my mind why I had a deep devotion to Mary
I realized then more clearly that every man
called to the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ received his priestly
vocation as the fruit, not only through the choosing of Jesus Christ,
but also, through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God.
believe Mary is involved in the every authentic priestly vocation
whether the man ordained realizes it or not. She is Mediatrix of Grace.
She is Mother of the Church, Mother of Priests. She is Mother of
very young childhood.
|Mary : Messages from the Heart of Our
This book contains messages from
Jesus and the Mother of God.
They are Urgent Messages from Heaven
intended for the priests, bishops and families.
It took Fr. Robert J. Fox three years to assemble the messages and
write the commentaries.
Fr. Fox was in frequent contact with the recipient the past three years
to make this book possible.
A woman known as “Little Mary” has been receiving
these messages since 1995.
Mother of Vocations
How did the world get the first priest, Jesus Christ? The Archangel
Gabriel was sent to Mary. It required Mary's cooperation, her "yes,"
her "Be it done to me according to
your word." And the "Word was
flesh and dwelt among us." Mary is the Mother of Grace. She is
Mediatrix of all grace. Through Mary as Advocate and Mother, thorough
her intercession, grace is bestowed upon souls. The Holy Spirit is the
uncreated divine Advocate. Mary, the Spirit's Spouse is the created
We grow in grace especially through the Sacraments. For the Holy
Eucharist we need the priesthood. Mary will intercede so that we have
priests, so that we have Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The
Catholic Church is the Church of the Eucharist.
Twenty-five years of striving to live the Priesthood of Jesus Christ
convinced me ever more deeply, that my priestly vocation was the fruit
of the intercession of Mary, Mother of Priestly Vocations. It is most
important for the priest to have a personal relationship with the Heart
of Jesus Christ. But it is also important for the priest to have a
knowledge, love and personal relationship with Mary, Mother of the
Church. She was the medium, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that
the Church got its head and formed its Body.
Pope Pius XII in his encylical, Mediator
Dei, wrote: "It is the same
priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly
represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration
which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and
possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of
Christ himself" (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
Mother of Vocations
"Christ is the source of all
priesthood; the priest of the old law was
a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of
For a priest to grant absolution to a
serious sin, and thus
restore one to the state of sanctifying grace, restoring the divine
nature and life in the soul, is a greater act than to raise a dead man
back to natural life.
It is for these reasons that the
formation of seminarians
as potential future priests, must be adequate. To prepare a soul to be
a Victim-Priest cannot be done in an easy lifestyle. The formation in
the Christ-life is every bit as important, if not more important, than
a solid education in philosophy and sound Catholic theology. Unless
seminarians are formed to be victims the formation of future priests is
Light from the East - Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh
A book written by a Fr. Fox who did first-hand research in the
Community of Soufanieh, Damascus, Syria near the site where the Apostle
St. Paul was converted and baptized.
|A Priest is a Priest
The priesthood of Jesus Christ, received through the sacrament
Orders "configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the
Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ's instrument for the
By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of
Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet,
(see Catechism of
the Catholic Church CCC 1581).
"As in the case
of Baptism and Confirmation this share in Christ's
office is granted once for all. The sacrament of Holy Orders, like the
other two, confers an indelible spiritual character and cannot be
repeated or conferred temporarily" (CCC 1582).
"It is true that someone validly ordained can,
for grave reasons, be
discharged from the obligations and functions linked to ordination, or
can be forbidden to exercise them; but he cannot become a layman again
in the strict sense, because the character imprinted by ordination is
for ever. The vocation and mission received on the day of his
ordination marks him permanently (CCC 1583).
|A Priest is a Priest
"Since it is ultimately Christ who acts and effects
the ordained minister, the unworthi-ness of the latter does not prevent
Christ from acting. St. Augustine states this forcefully: 'As for the
proud minister, he is to be ranked with the devil.
Christ's gift is not
thereby profaned: what flows through him keeps its purity, and what
passes through him remains clear and reaches the fertile earth....
spiritual power of the sacrament is indeed comparable to light: those
to be enlightened receive it in its purity, and if it should pass
through defiled beings, it is not itself defiled. (CCC 1584).
"The grace of the Holy Spirit proper to this sacrament is configuration
to Christ as Priest, Teacher, and Pastor, of whom the ordained is made
a minister (CCC
Because of the grandeur of the priestly grace and office, through the
centuries men have worked to conform their lives to Jesus Christ whose
sacrament had made them participate in his own priesthood. St. Gregory
of Nazianzus, while still a very young priest, expressed it this way:
"We must begin by purifying ourselves before
purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become
light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be
sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel prudently. I know
whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive.
I know God's greatness and man's weakness, but also his potential. Who
then is the priest? He is the defender of truth, who stands with
angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the
altar on high, shares Christ's priesthood, refashions creation,
restores it in God's image, recreates it for the world on high and,
even greater, is divinized and divinizes." (Byzantine Liturgy,
The Church teaches that the presence of Jesus Christ as Head of the
Church is made visible in the midst of believers.
St. Ignatius of Antioch said that the bishop is like the living image
of God the Father. Bishops have the fullness of the priesthood of Jesus
Christ and thus are empowered to ordain other priests.
"This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if
the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of
domination, error, even sin. The power of the Holy Spirit does not
guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way.
While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the
minister's sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the
minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to
the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the
Church' (CCC 1550).
to always exercise the Priesthood
these brief reflections I complete 50 years in the holy priesthood
of Jesus Christ. I can only express my great gratitude to Jesus Christ
for having chosen this unworthy individual to be his priest among
thousands of others, more worthy. Since boyhood I've loved the Sacred
Heart of Jesus, even the mention of "the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
time my devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has grown and I've
appreciated ever more the alliance between the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary. Hopefully my heart is bonded into their alliance with the Father
in the union of the Holy Spirit.
Were it possible, and were it the will of Jesus Christ, I would love to
exercise the priesthood of Jesus Christ upon earth until the end of
Since that hardly seems the will of God, I pray that my last day
on earth may be a day when, as every day before, I will be able to
celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which perpetuates the Sacrifice of
the Cross and makes sacramentally present the Resurrected Christ.
And when, God willing, I enter heaven, I
Jesus, my Brother Priest, and Mary, my Mother. For it is these two
primarily who called me to the priesthood.
Then, as I behold the
Blessed Trinity face to face, I hope to meet face to face also my
Guardian Angel who has been ever at my side these long years upon earth
that went all too quickly.
The Guardian Angel is the one who discovers
our vocation in life, long before we do. He works to have us realize
the vocation to which God calls us.
I thank you, Lord Jesus, for sustaining me
50 years in your holy
priesthood. I thank you for holding me close to your Heart when the
cross became heavy and I felt alone. I
thank you Mother Mary for interceding for me, day by day, that as one
of your beloved sons, I may in some small way reflect the image of your
Son, Christ Jesus, the High Priest. rjf
- Fr. Robert Joseph Fox