In our Provincial House, here in Melbourne, where I am stationed now, there is a precious relict we treasure; it is a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1950 the statue was sent to the Oblates by Sister Lucia who spoke with Our Lady at Fatima. The statue was carved and painted by Jose Thedim who carved the statue in the Chapel of Apparitions, and also, under the personal direction of Sister Lucia, the statue of the Pilgrim Virgin of which this is a small replica. I have a devotion to Sister Lucia who not simply heard Mary but who listened to what Mary said. Of course the Apparitions in Fatima are classified as private apparitions and one doesn’t need to follow them. However I find it very humbling that Our Blessed Mother came in such humility that she doesn’t force anyone to accept her message. I do accept it out of love for her who loves Jesus so much.
I was doing my second year of studies when Fr Joseph died at the age of 47 and was buried at the Oblate cemetery attached to our Scholasticate. When I was attending his funeral and later when every Sunday our whole community would go to pray for the deceased Oblates at the seminary, I didn’t know yet how closely Fr Joseph's path and mine would cross. Literally speaking our paths have been joined in the Oblate cross he received at his final vows in 1974 and carried it until his death in 1998 and the same cross I was given in 2000. When I put the cross on I think of Fr Joseph and the many graces given to the people through his ministry which the cross was a silent witness and a powerful contributor. For me it is an expression of what they Church teaches on “the communion of Saints”.