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- A group of two or more people;
- consisting of either current or prospective members of the apostolate;
- who gather under the direction of a Certified Leader;
- either in parish churches or in the homes of its members;
- on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis;
- for the purpose of partially honoring Our Lady’s Fatima requests for prayer, penance and sacrifice in reparation for sin and in supplication for the conversion of sinners, the salvation of souls and world peace.
- In addition to praying the Fatima Prayers together, participants engage in a structured formation program which aids them in learning more about Fatima, gaining deeper insight into Our Lady’s message, thereby growing in appreciation for it, building enthusiasm for sharing her message with others, and, most importantly, conforming their individual daily lives in accord with Our Lady’s Fatima requests.
- Universal WAF/BAPC prayer intentions are a new addition to the Prayer Cell Program booklets which were added to connect and unite WAF/BAPC’s throughout the world with one another.
- WAF/BAPC’s used to grow apostolate membership by division modeled after the growth of the human body by the division of cells. While this method of growth remains valid, multiplication is now the more common means of growth in apostolate membership.
- WAF/BAPC members frequently become members of the WAF Diocesan Division Parish Chapter.
- Some WAF/BAPC’s decide to help spread Our Lady’s Fatima Message by either sponsoring or staffing various apostolate
other programs in their parishes.
- There are a few cautions WAF/BAPC’s need to be aware of.
- Responding positively to the Universal Call to Holiness of all the baptized so beautifully explained by Vatican II.
- Making a significant contribution to the New Evangelization initiated by Blessed Pope John Paul II and entrusted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Fatima at the turn of the century.
- Establishing relationships with kindred spirits which frequently endure for the duration of their lives.
- Spreading the Message of Fatima by inviting others to either join them, or suggesting they begin a WAF/BAPC among some of their family, friends and relatives and aiding them in doing so.
- Members may be Full-fledged members of the WAF who have signed the 2006 WAF Pledge,
- Associate Members who have signed any one of the various commitment forms provided by the WAF through one of its programs or through initiatives of its Divisions from time to time, or
- newcomers who are prospective members by virtue of their interest.
- WAF/BAPC Leaders are be certified by the WAF, USA National Coordinator.
- A member should be designated as an Alternate Leader for those times when the Leader is unable to participate.
- The WAF-BAPC Leader must maintain a copy of the WAF/BAPC Formation program. He/she may provide a copy to any members who request it and must be sure that, in the event he/she cannot participate in a gathering, be sure the alternate Leader has a copy.
- The WAF/BAPC Leader reports periodically to the WAF, USA National Coordinator and is always attuned to opportunities for the start-up of other WAF/BAPC’s.
- The ideal gathering place for a WAF/BAPC is the parish church because of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament
- The permission of the pastor should always be obtained before a WAF/BAPC begins to gather in a church
- Permission should also be sought to use an area outside the church proper – a meeting or conference room for example – because this is more appropriate for the study and formation portion of the gathering which involves discussion and for any socializing which may take place afterward.
- The WAF/BAPC Leader reports periodically to the WAF, USA National Coordinator and is always attuned to opportunities for the start-up of other WAF/BAPC’s.
- Gatherings may take place in the homes of members when a church is not available, but should always be a last resort.
- The gatherings in homes can take place at the same home time after time, or may rotate between the homes of those members who are able to make their homes available.
- The format of the WAF/BAPC gathering is the same in a home as it is in churches. It is customary to have a statue of Our Lady of Fatima present during gatherings.
- Weekly gatherings are the ideal, but not always possible for a variety of legitimate reasons. The frequency of a WAF/BAPC’s gatherings will depend on the schedules of its members, but cannot be less frequent than monthly.
- When the daily schedules of members change in a way which precludes their continued participation, the WAF/BAPC Leader should be attuned to the possibility of establishing another WAF/BAPC and willing to prepare the effected members for its leadership.
- WAF/BAPC Leaders should also keep a record of people who would be interested, but must decline invitations to join because of schedule conflict which reflects times at which they could participate. If two or three such people are available at the same time, the possibility of another WAF/BAPC should be suggested to them and their names and contact information given to the National Coordinator.
- The WAF/BAPC fulfills part of Our Lady’s requests for prayer during the prayer portion of each gathering.
- The WAF/BAPC fulfills part of Our Lady’s request for penance by virtue of doing all that one does during the course of traveling to, participating in and traveling home.
- The WAF/BAPC fulfills part of Our Lady’s request for sacrifice by virtue of giving up whatever the participants might otherwise have done had they not participated in the WAF/BAPC gathering.
- The WAF/BAPC fulfills part of Our Lady’s request to spread devotion to her Immaculate Heart by virtue of its member’s attempts to recruit new members and whenever the WAF/BAPC itself sponsors a Pilgrim Virgin Statue Home Visitation Program in the parish.
- The structured Formation Program is the ingredient of a WAF/BAPC gathering which distinguishes it from the myriads of “prayer groups” which abound in the Church today. Learn more about the Formation Program by clicking here or on the “Formation Program” tab.
- The Universal WAF/BAPC Prayer Intentions are a new addition to the WAF-BAPC booklet. Their purpose is to unite all members of WAF/BAPC’s everywhere in praying for the same eternal and temporal intentions.
- This unity of intention achieves unity among WAF/BAPC members throughout the world in much the same way as the praying of the Divine Office unites members of the Church throughout the world in prayer, emphasizing the ”familial” dimension of our prayer.
- Praying these intentions is a genuine act of Christian Charity in that it expresses concern for the well being of all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- At the genesis of the apostolate the purpose of dividing WAF/BAPC’s was to achieve growth in the membership of the overall apostolate analogous to the division of the cells of the human body with respect to the body’s growth. Initially, when a WAF/BAPC reached 8-10 members, or reached a specific level in the formation portion of the program, it divided. While people are still free to function in this manner, it is no longer required, nor is it necessarily even recommended.
- People who participate in WAF/BAPC’s for some length of time today develop bonds of friendship and camaraderie which can last for the rest of their lives. They are, understandably, reluctant to sever them.
- Instead, all are encouraged, when they feel ready, to start another WAF/BAPC or to look for people who might be interested in doing so themselves, and render whatever assistance they can to such people.
- Parish Chapters are the groups of apostolate members who work at the parish level to spread the Message of Fatima among their fellow parishioners.
- It is usually members of a WAF/BAPC who eventually approach their pastor for permission to establish a WAF Division Chapter in their parish and are the pool of people from which the pastor selects two Parish Representatives to the WAF Diocesan Division Council.
- After a pastor has observed his parishioner’s faithfulness and dedication to their WAF/BAPC for a time he is usually open to the idea of having his parish represented in the WAF Diocesan Division Council.
- Frequently the members of the WAF/BAPC all become members of the Parish Chapter and dedicate themselves to spreading Our Lady’s Fatima message among their fellow parishioners.
- A WAF/BAPC is never a Parish Chapter. The two entities are distinctly different. Participation in a WAF/BAPC is not a prerequisite for participation in a Parish Chapter.
- The members of a WAF/BAPC are sometimes instilled with a desire to do something more than participating in the WAF/BAPC gatherings themselves. Other WAF programs can be made available to them such as the Pilgrim Virgin Statue Home Visitation Program. This is an excellent means of spreading the message as well as recruiting WAF/BAPC members and members for the Diocesan WAF Division and the overall apostolate.
- When there is a Division of the WAF in a diocese, all such programs are administered through the Division’s Boart of Trustees.
- When there is no Division of the WAF in a diocese, all such programs are administered through the WAF, USA National Coordinator.
- WAF/BAPC’s are an integral part of the WAF and, as such, are also part of a Public Association of the Faithful under the Pontifical Council for the Laity. This ecclesial status requires that they be governed by the rules and regulations of the apostolate.
- The focus of the formation portion of the WAF/BAPC gathering must be primarily Fatima. While other “Church Approved” apparitions will sometimes be discussed for comparison or other purposes, there must never be discussion about or promotion of apparitions which have not been formally approved by the Church.
- Faithfulness to the magisterial teaching of the Church and loyalty to the Pope and the Bishops and Pastors in communion with the Chair of Peter is an absolute requirement. Any and all discussion of things like defects in the Consecration of Russia performed by Blessed Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984 which made it unacceptable to heaven, and any and all discussion about alleged parts of the Secret of Fatima which are purported in certain corners to have not yet been revealed is strictly prohibited. People who promote either of these two allegations are not welcome in WAF/BAPC’s. In addition to causing great confusion and deep division, and of far greater consequence, they encourage people to pray that the Holy Father will finally perform and consecration properly and reveal the rest of the secret instead of praying for the conversion of sinners, the salvation of souls and world peace.
- The materials used by WAF/BAPC’s must be only those provided or approved by the WAF, USA Board of Trustees.
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call" (Eph. 4:4).
St. Francis de Sales, whose feast we celebrate today, is known for his teaching that all Christians are called to holiness. The teaching of the universal call to holiness did not originate with the Second Vatican Council, but was also taught before. "Universal call," means, quite simply, that all men and women and called to holiness. And in Casti Connubii for example, Pope Pius XI says precisely that: "All men of every condition," in whatever state of life they are, "can and ought to imitate that most perfect example of holiness," Christ himself, "and by God's grace to arrive at the summit of perfection." (n. 23) Nevertheless the universal call to holiness is a particularly special emphasis of the Second Vatican Council; it is taken up expressly in Chapter 5 of Lumen Gentium, which we look at today. The following is an attempt to draw out briefly some of the basic important points made in this chapter on this universal vocation of all Christians.
The Fathers of Vatican II see the call to holiness as deriving from two sources: the mystery of the Church, and more fundamentally, the mystery of Christ himself.
The Church and Holiness
The chapter closes with the summary statement: "all the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state. Indeed they have an obligation to so strive."
"The Church is believed to be indefectibly holy" (n. 39), for Christ gave himself up for her "that he might sanctify her," uniting her to himself as his body and perfecting her by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because the Church is holy, all members of the Church are called to be holy, "to become what they are," and to manifest this holiness in their lives, by faithfulness to the movement of the Spirit, by the practice of charity.
Christ and Holiness
Christ himself preached holiness of life to all. "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." He provided the means for holiness, sending the Spirit, who pours love into men's hearts, that they might love God above all, and love each other as Christ loves them. Moreover, in baptism the faithful put on Christ, becoming sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. Thus they are made holy by the grace of God. They must then hold on to this holiness and live it out in their concrete lives, they must live in a manner that is fitting to those who are holy.
The Council concludes then, that all members of the Church, all Christ's faithful, whatever their rank or status, are called to the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity.
Attainment of Holiness
The concrete way of attaining holiness and the perfection of charity depends on one's situation and duties, yet some things can be said in general:
(1) we should use our strengths and talents as a gift from Christ.
(2) We should follow Christ and become like him, seeking the Father's will in all things, the glory of God and the good of our neighbor.
(3) We should use our personal gifts and fulfill our duties in the spirit of faith working through love.
(4) We should receive all things with faith from the hand of the heavenly Father.
These four means of attaining holiness can be grouped into two basic attitudes: the spirit to accept all things as coming from the loving hand of God, and the aim to do all things in accordance with God's will out of love for him.
The Council in the following paragraphs makes a number of particular remarks on the paths to holiness of bishops, priests, clerics, married persons, and those who suffer. It then returns to the theme of holiness as the common pursuit of all. Holiness is first of all a gift of grace, the gift of love by which we love God above all things and our neighbor for God's sake. But in order for love to grow, we must cooperate with this grace, completing what God has begun in us. (n. 42)
Some actions flowing from grace are common to all Christians: the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, participation in the liturgy, prayer, self-denial, service of our brothers and sisters, and the practice of all the virtues. All such actions are to be ruled by charity, enlivened by charity, and expressions of charity.
Some exceptional expressions of love, which are not actually common to all Christians, are given particular mention by the Council.
The greatest proof of love is martyrdom. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for Christ and one's brethren. Not all will be faced with martyrdom, but all must be prepared to confess Christ, whatever may come, whether it means losing one's job, one's reputation, or even one's life.
Virginity, Poverty, and Obedience
The evangelical counsels of virginity/celibacy, poverty, and obedience are special means for fostering the holiness of the Church, each being in its own way a particular imitation of Christ.
- The mission of the W.A.F. is the New Evangelization proposed by the Holy Father, the Blessed Pope John Paul II and his successor Pope Benedict XVI, through the promotion of the authentic Message of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima asked for a deeper love and reverence for the Most Holy Trinity, leading to amendment of life, for prayer and penance in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners, for a more genuine devotion to the Eucharist, devotion to the Holy Rosary meditated and for the consecration to her Immaculate Heart. The urgent necessity for a response to this message, and for the active promotion of it, in the interest of salvation of souls and of peace, is by God’s grace, the moving force behind the spread of the W.A.F. throughout the world.
“Fatima, in its message and its blessing, is conversion to God. Here, we can sense the testimony of the redemption of mankind, by the intercession of her, who with her foot crushed and will ever crush the head of the old serpent” (Pope John Paul II, Greetings during the Marian Vigil in the Shrine of Fatima, May 12, 1991).
In the words of Pope John Paul II: “The evangelical call to repentance and conversion, uttered in the Mother’s [Fatima] message, remains ever relevant. It is still more relevant than it was 65 years ago. It is still more urgent” (Pope John Paul II, Homily in the Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1982).