Chapter I of
Fishers of Men
A short biography of Fr. Robert J. Fox
whose ministry is characterized by deep spirituality, leadership in the
apostolate, and fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.
by John M. Janaro [© Copyright 1986,
sun glimmers on the horizon, shedding its golden hue across the fields
that stretch as far as the eye can see. Birds
begin to sing, fireflies blink, and the shadows of a small town become
long and faded as its skyline melts into silhouette.
The shapes of
farmhouses and grain bins draw into a cluster around a prominent water
tower that announces its identity: Alexandria,
South Dakota. Somewhat removed from the water tower another structure
rises above the landscape -- it is the steeple of St. Mary of Mercy
CELEBRATION WITH FR. FOX & FRIENDS
Fr. Robert Fox as he explains the significance of sanctity and the
universal call to holiness with some our youngest EWTN viewers, who are
dressed like some of the great saints of the Church. AS SEEN ON TV in 2004 30 min
"Blessed are the meek,
for they shall
inherit the earth"
The people of
this place are straightforward and practical; they bring
forth their livelihood each day from what nature -- aided by their own
good sense -- raises out of the ground. They grin and grip your hand
with firmness and warmth; and you feel as though they are honestly glad
to meet you.
Six hundred of these people inhabit Alexandria,
enough to give them their own exit on interstate 90. And on this
particular evening one of them is out for a walk; by his stature and
the length of his stride he is unmistakably a farmer, but his clothes
display that he is a laborer in another harvest.
As he strolls along he
stops to talk to passers-by, or perhaps to wave to someone across the
road. People respond with respect and affection; everyone seems to know
him, indeed to know him as a personal friend. Especially the
your Children for the Faith Video Series
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Robert J. Fox explores the
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how to share these basic truths through Fr. Fox’s practical,
the head of a little girl pokes out from around a doorway. She wears
smile as they exchange some small conversation; she is introducing her
cousins, two small children that Fr. Fox does not yet know. But he will.
The youth of
America are bombarded with things that attempt to make a claim on
their hearts. In the midst of this there is one man who uses his every
ability to offer them his heart. Fr. Robert J. Fox has a mission to
young people, and a message to proclaim: there is another way to live,
God's way. In order to say this, however, he must demonstrate that way
in his own life.
This demonstration has taken many forms, as
journalist, as television
personality, as leader in the World
Apostolate of Fatima. In all, however, he is a priest, and he touches
the lives of his people -- particularly young people -- by living the
life of Jesus, human in its tenderness and intimacy, divine in the fact
that it knows no limit.
Fr. Fox has a truly international
public that includes Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia. Yet they
have not drawn him out of his simplicity of life and its roots in the
fields and farms of South Dakota.
On the contrary he has drawn them
into his simple vision, a vision of the Mystical Body of Christ, the
Christ who has known hard work, suffering, and great love.
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characteristics filled the
household of Aloysius and Susie Emma Fox, who ran a farm near
Watertown, S.D. They were devout people, for whom the truth that Jesus
is the Son of God was as basic as the truth that the ground freezes in
winter. They had five healthy sons -- a bit boisterous in temperament,
but good boys -- and two daughters.
Then, on Christmas Eve of 1927, Susie Emma
brought forth a sixth son. Robert
Joseph they named him, and he
gave them yet another hope for an answer to that special request that
they often brought before God.
The Foxes did not have a great deal of
exterior piety; their devotion, rather, was bound up with the practical
realities of daily living and solidified by a basic and essential
On occasion, however, Aloysius and Susie would ask
God for a gift -- that at least one of their six sons would become His
Robert was still a baby when his
father was called to God. He never knew his father by face, but he knew
him by the tone that he had set in the family; an attitude that his
mother would carry on, and that would pull the family through the
difficult years that lay ahead.
The whole family had to pitch in to keep the farm
going during those
times of the Great Depression, when nature herself seemed to have gone
bankrupt and no rain fell from the sky.
Somehow there was always food
on the table, though not much of it. Clothes came from relatives in
Minnesota, and heat came from the kitchen, rising up from a large wood
Winters were cold, and every day was long. Robert was already
milking cows at the age of six, and as he got older he began to run the
The family survived; in fact their poverty did not
greatly hinder their happiness, for the home was laden with another
kind of wealth.
are the poor in spirit, for
is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:3).
Sunday the Fox family would make the five mile trip into
Watertown for Mass. Fr. O'Meara, the pastor, offered the Eucharist with
a faith and sincerity that left a deep impression on Robert.
in the area, it seemed, was Catholic -- and many of them were related.
Most of Robert's playmates were his first cousins and religion was a
regular topic of conversation between families, and a source of unity.
Robert had a sense, from a very early age, that a Catholic -- wherever
he might come from -- was someone he could trust; someone who shared
his beliefs and values, who had the peace of the same God in his heart.
All Catholics are united in some very special way, the boy thought.
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issues of the Immaculate Heart Messenger
See the Development of a Preborn Child
Summary of the Charter of the Fatima Family
Fatima Shrine in Russia
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Life-long Catholics will understand their faith better
excited about all aspects of the faith
sacraments, the Mass as the sacrifice of the cross perpetuated and a
time to “celebrate the New Covenant.”
Before Robert had his first day of
school, his mother took him aside and asked him, "What do you want to
be when you grow up?"
"Nothing," the little boy
you might like to be another Fr. O'Meara," suggested his mother,
recalling her constant prayer for her sons.
A sudden vision burst forth
in the child's mind: How tremendous it would
be to be a priest!
This thought remained with him
through the years at Immaculate Conception school. His teachers were
Franciscan nuns, and their manner and attitude -- as well as what they
spoke to him of the power of humility.
In fifth grade, one of the nuns
taught him that the Mass is the Sacrifice of the Cross.
understanding the theology, Robert thought that Jesus was suffering
pain every time a Mass was said.
But he loved Him all the more.
Sometimes Robert would roll up a towel and wrap it around his neck like
a roman collar in order to see what he would look like as a priest.
Padre Pio; the boy marveled at the power of
Christ's priesthood, marked by the wounds that Padre
Pio suffered in
union with Jesus. The Eucharist began to be a vivid reality in Robert's
experience; he would peek into the church in Watertown and draw near to
the real presence of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament -- a Jesus
who seemed to be calling, beckoning....
High school, however, soon
approached and brought with it the inevitable discovery of girls.
Robert found that girls were really quite nice, and he rather enjoyed
going to dances.
He thought that perhaps he'd like to get married and
have a family; he very much wanted a family, and besides -- he'd have
sons who could be priests, lots of sons. But then there was that
special bond that draws all Catholics together -- like a family.
longed to embrace them all in Jesus. Would a family of 6 or 8 children
be enough? No, he wanted thousands!
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approach is needed in promoting vocations
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Robert Fox and young adults who have found their vocations in various
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was a tugging on his heart
that would not go away, a fire that was the Holy Spirit reaching within
him and casting his longings far beyond the high school, the girls, the
dances, everything that fell short of Jesus.
"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you"
The desire to be a priest,
born of his
had taken firm hold in his heart and it would not be uprooted.
not this the carpenter's son?" (Mt. 26:55).
however, faced another difficulty. It was quite uncommon for South
Dakota farm boys to become priests; the pattern of life was fixed, and
priests and nuns seemed to drop out of the sky rather than come off the
farm. How would he tell his family of this seemingly strange ambition?
A sudden fear took hold of him -- would they take him seriously? Would
they understand what he wanted? and why? Robert needed courage, or
perhaps he would never leave the farm.
An accident with a hay rake, which
broke his leg and even threatened his life, took him away from his farm
duties for several months during his senior year of high school. This
gave him time; time for prayer and reflection, time to develop courage.
Robert Fox, internationally known leader in the apostolate, a light
with the vigor of the earliest disciples -- the clarity of St. Philip,
the zeal of St. Steven, the dedication of St. Barnabas -- began like
them as a man afraid; even more so because his fear was of something
indefinable; it was the fear of being misunderstood.
But the Spirit of the Lord
him up and his heart was filled with fortitude. Robert decided to tell
a married sister, and rely on her to tell the rest of the family.
revelation of his desire came as a joy to the whole family, but
especially to his mother whose special request, unknown to Robert, was
now going to be fulfilled.
John's University in
Collegeville, Minnesota was a center of liturgical development during
the late 40's.
The studies were
formidable, and at first Robert feared that he would be overwhelmed. He
prayed that God and the Blessed Mother might take special charge of his
vocation, because he felt so powerless to do it alone.
The atmosphere gave the sense of a
young Robert, who knew mostly plows, potato fields, and the parish
church at Watertown, was a bit bewildered at first.
"Take courage; it
do not be
afraid" (Mt. 14:27).
From that point
on his grades
improved, and he began to understand the depth of the Mystery that had
called out to him from the tabernacle years ago.
Among the most
beautiful of doctrines that he explored was that of the Mystical Body
of Christ -- the Church as the extension of the Incarnation. Here was
the source of that powerful union that he had always sensed among
Catholics -- their union as members of Christ Jesus;
"the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit . . . one God and
Father of all, who is above all, and throughout all, and in us all"
|Doctrine : Guidance for Future Priests
Intended as an aid for young men
aspiring to the priesthood, even those not yet in the seminary.
chapters on the authentic vocation, choosing a good seminary, a
questions asked by men whom God may be calling.
two years at St. John's,
Robert advanced to St. Paul's Seminary to conclude his studies. Here he
lived an intense and structured prayer life, the form of which he has
maintained to this day.
At the seminary he learned to approach his
priestly duties prayerfully, and how to reflect in those duties the
Priesthood of Christ. Also, he was moved with the desire to preach the
Word of God.
During those days the seminarians would gather
around a television set -- a new piece of technology in 1953 -- and
watch as Fulton Sheen grabbed
hold of a fresh medium and claimed it for
Robert was seized by the zeal that seemed to leap out of the
television screen when Bishop Sheen spoke. "I thirst; I thirst for
souls!" said the bishop. Robert felt this thirst, and longed to
it by proclaiming the Gospel.
Finally ordination came on April 24, 1955.
Robert felt as though the very statues in the Cathedral would come
alive and cry out, "this man is
gave him a greater sense of the power of a God who "can raise up
children of Abraham from these very stones"
Stone though he might be, when the bishop of Sioux Falls laid
hands on him, he was sealed with the mark of the High Priest, who
"because he continues forever, has an
priesthood" (Heb. 7:24).
After the ordination, the priests'
families approached the altar rail for a personal blessing. Susie Emma
Fox shed a tear as she approached her son; a tear in memory of her
husband's prayer -- and hers -- now answered to the Glory of God.
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Fr. Fox speaks for an hour on the Glorious and Holy Sacrifice of the
young Fr. Fox, the priesthood meant
the culmination of his devotion to the
Body of Christ.
He was filled with
awe and wonder at each Mass
he said; the richness of the presence of Christ and the intimacy of the
union of the Mystical Body that was expressed in the liturgy increased
his desire to "live
the Mass" entirely in his priestly life -- to be a victim, always
pouring himself out in service to the members of Christ.
Very early on,
the basic approaches of Fr. Fox's pastoral life were established. This
life centered on preaching, which produces the faith that makes
incorporation into Christ possible and more vital.
As a priest, Fr. Fox
soon saw that all of his actions -- indeed everything about himself --
had a teaching significance. Mindful of this, he never failed to appear
in clerical dress, because his mere identity spoke to people: "this man
represents Jesus Christ."
A book on The Fundamentals
digest of The Catechism Of the Catholic Church.
Fundamentals of the Faith.
It is in a Q & A format.
References to the CCC
the beginning, Fr. Fox saw his
preaching duties as particularly addressed to children. As an assistant
in several rural parishes in South Dakota, he taught catechism
right through the high school
Here he saw the strength and significance of the basics of
the faith, and how important they were to catechetical instruction.
rural people -- modest, reserved, possessed of a natural humility --
opened like blossoms when the young priest spoke of faith and devotion,
and within these parishes he was already finding the "family" he had
it was his dedication to
preaching that brought about the quite accidental series of events that
launched Fr. Fox into his writing apostolate. During the early 1960's,
after Fr. Fox had become pastor in Bristol, S.D., the National
sent a letter to parish priests all across the country asking them not
to neglect the preaching of sermons during the summer.
Fr. Fox wrote a
letter to the editor of the Register in which he
Register's view and expounded at some length his own defense of the
importance of preaching the Word of God at Mass.
This was something
central to his ministry, so the ideas flowed quite easily onto paper,
and Fr. Fox sent the letter off without any difficulty. He was
astonished when he received a reply praising his ideas, and suggesting
that he write an article for The Priest, a magazine for clergy.
Fr. Fox didn't see
a writer, especially one who could be published in a national magazine.
He was, after all, a pastor from the farmland of South Dakota --
journalism was the furthest thing from his mind, and he didn't think
that others would have too much interest in what he had to say.
Therefore the idea of writing for The Priest was quickly forgotten.
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Jesus - Light of the World
advances from simple language, gradually to the more-profound
truths of the faith are presented with references to CCC
This book should prove valuable for home-schoolers, classrooms.
Excellent review of the faith.
months later, Fr. Fox was
leafing through the latest issue of The Priest, and he came across an
article written anonymously; this was not uncommon in the magazine
which listed such articles under the pseudonym of "Sacerdos."
particular article was about sermons. As Fr. Fox read, he was struck by
the fact that "Sacerdos" thought very much like himself about the need
for consistent and fruitful preaching. He read on enthusiastically.
Suddenly his mouth dropped open. "This
is me," he gasped, recognizing
the words and structure to be the very same as the letter he had
written to the Register.
The editor, perhaps suspecting Fr. Fox's own
reluctance, had submitted the letter as an anonymous article to
Fr. Fox was greatly
by this unintentional success. Perhaps there was a way for him to serve
God in the printed medium; at least he saw that it was possible for his
writing to be published.
So he began writing articles, and soon he
found that his work was in great demand. Articles began to appear
frequently in Our Sunday Visitor, Homiletic
& Pastoral Review, and the Register, where Fr. Fox
eventually secured a weekly column.
Fox viewed writing as a
"prolongation and extension" of his preaching task, directed to those
whom he could not reach personally. Meanwhile his primary focus
continued to be personal contact in parish life.
While he was busy
attending to the needs of his parish community in Bristol, his bishop
was participating in the sessions of the Second Vatican Council.
Shortly after the promulgation of the Decree on Ecumenism, Fr. Fox --
with the authorization of his bishop -- conducted an ecumenical Advent
prayer service along with three Protestant denominations.
was attended by over six hundred people, and Bristol gained national
attention with some observers calling the young and enthusiastic pastor
a "new breed" priest.
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A small book
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in the style of a young person with testimony.
assist Catholic youth who are confronted by Protestant
however, was conscious that
God is "ever Ancient, ever New," and with a sense of tradition and
continuity he set out to perform the work of Vatican II.
revitalized his own commitment to catechesis, and he went about with
even greater zeal in teaching the faith to God's smallest children.
"Let the little ones come to me"
At the same
time Fr. Fox became keenly aware of
difficulties arising in modern catechetics; people who claimed to be
responding to the mandate of the council were actually watering down
Catholic doctrine in the interests of some false sense of ecumenism or
the dubious applications of certain fashionable trends in child
Fox's observance of these
difficulties led to a book: Religious Education: Its Effects, Its
Challenges Today. As the 1960's wore on, the atmosphere in
catechetics became increasingly confused, and Fr. Fox's book was
greeted enthusiastically by many as an answer to the rising problems, a
light in the fog. Others, however, were determined to resist his
As pastor in Milbank he sought to implement his vision of
catechetics in the Catholic school. The principal and the school board
opposed him, and tension gripped the entire parish.
"I come to bring not peace, but the sword"
Fr. Fox found that his commitment was being put to the
test. Always desiring the welfare of his parish first, he now found
himself the center of a controversy that was cutting a deep wound in
Perhaps it was his fault -- perhaps he needed more
patience in the situation? Or was he pushing his own view too far?
Fox felt the sword within his own heart, driving him to seek a closer
union with the suffering heart of Jesus. He wanted to know that he was
doing God's will, so he asked for a sign relating to his life as a
priest and catechist:
"Is my work pleasing to
you, O God?"
The answer came
through the Church: a few days before Christmas, Fr.
Fox received a letter from Cardinal Wright, then secretary of the
Congregation for the Clergy.
"Keep writing, you
needed in America," the letter proclaimed as Cardinal Wright
requested six copies of Fr. Fox's book.
By the grace of God, Fr. Fox
had found new confidence and courage -- he stood with the Church.
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|Family : Education for Marriage
by Fr. Fox.
Side 1: “Married Love-giving and Life-giving.”
Side 2: “The Pill", Responsible Parenthood and the Church.”
Couples married who desire to know what the Church teaches about
artificial birth control and the responsible use of human sexuality and
why it so teaches will find much help in this tape.
|Doctrine : Protestant
Fundamentalism and the Born Again Catholic
converts to Catholicism.
the faith of practicing Catholics.
Catholic truth in a way that readers discover a deeper
personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
the midst of the crisis in the
Church, Fr. Fox found his faith growing stronger. Important aspects of
the priesthood were being called into question in the public forum, and
Fr. Fox met these challenges in his preaching and in the deepening of
interior life and commitment that resulted from it.
The response to
criticism of the priestly life -- particularly celibacy -- required a
greater understanding of who the priest is and the nature of his
Fr. Fox was drawn to reflect more and more on celibacy, the
priesthood, and the Mystical Body in order to appreciate the Church and
his own role in the troubled times following Vatican II.
are they who hear
the Word of God
and keep it" (Lk.
In Fr. Fox's reflection, the Holy Spirit drew him toward the answer to
today's crisis of faith. Modern man has forgotten how to believe; how
to go beyond himself and find his true identity in the richness of God
whom he is called to glorify in a unique fashion.
All throughout his
priestly life, Fr. Fox had dedicated himself to showing people how to
live in faith. From his own work he realized the profound need for a
model of the Christian life; the response to God lived perfectly, full
of power and love.
|AS SEEN ON TV
Devotion: To Jesus Through Mary
Living His Life Abundantly
interview by Johnnette Benkovic
Robert Fox and Rosalind Moss
Both proclaim that Mary is the perfect Jewish mother, who leads
children to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Role of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the third Millennium
Mary by religious people of all persuasions.
What is true devotion to Mary?
Fatima : Abundant Life Program - Johnette
Our Lady of Fatima and the Third Secret
Guest Father Robert Fox, talks about the apparitions of Fatima,
The messages Our Lady gave to the children, and the "third secret"
which recently has been made public.
AS SEEN ON TV
his childhood, Fr. Fox had
always had a generous devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Knowing that Mary
her Son to all men and all men to her Son because of her unique and
preeminent role in the salvation of the world.
Fr. Fox had totally
consecrated his priesthood to her at his ordination, so that he might
be an instrument of her fundamental mission.
When Mary was proclaimed Mother of the Church at the Second Vatican
Council, Fr. Fox saw her role as source of that mystical Christian
unity that is the Body of Christ her Son.
Now, as faith was becoming
more difficult and the minds of so many were becoming troubled and
confused, Fr. Fox was drawn to Mary not only as the means -- the
mystery of her divine maternity -- but also as the model of Christian
Mary is the
Woman of Faith; she is the Gospel lived in all its fullness, and union
with her means a complete dedication to that Gospel.
Living totally in
the presence of God, and sharing and expressing in a unique way the
fullness of God's life and love, Mary's
identity is intimately linked with the personal vocation of each and
every human being.
Fr. Fox sought a deeper and more
formative union with the Mother of God, one that would infuse every
detail of his ministry and priestly life.
When the Pilgrim Virgin of
Fatima statue came to the diocese of Sioux Falls in 1974, Fr. Fox
decided to go to Fatima himself in order to find God's -- and Mary's --
will for him.
message of Fatima meant above
all devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, embodying the fullness of
Mary's response to God, and channeling Christ's life to each of the
As he knelt in the chapel of the Apparitions at Cova da Iria,
he asked Mary "what
do you want of me?"
There was no dramatic answer,
no brilliant manifestation, no sudden flash of clarity. The prayer,
however, took root as a new attitude within him.
As the days wore on,
an answer impressed itself upon his mind -- consistent with all of his
past work, yet representing a definite enrichment, a greater awareness:
"Teach the fullness of Catholic faith
to young people everywhere
possible using Fatima as a vehicle."
from that hour the disciple
took her into
|A poem for Fr.
An adaptation of Kate
Watkins Furman poem
Our Lady and the
on a moon lit night
fell a gentle glow,
sat, alone, to rest and write,
the Cova da Iria,
Our Lady appeared long ago.
where Our Lady stands upon this
white marble column at bay,
he walked into the capelina
priest who came to pray.
long black cassock was
trimmed with blue interlace.
His face was
sweet and fair,
love, he asked for her grace
holy was his prayer.
gazed into his Mother's face
prayed the longest while,
There, receiving from, she
Full of Grace
blessing of her smile.
in my heart I surely knew
that gazing stare
true, as truth could be,
holy prayer he whispered there,
“What do you
want of me?”
|For Children : To
Teach as Mary Did at Fatima
stories from the apparitions at Fatima as an exciting
Fr. Fox here
gives 6 half-hour lessons on the basics of Catholicism for
children and teens.
Catechism on Mary
appeared after 2nd Vatican Council, when many mistakenly
had downplayed Mary.
Marian Catechism will be welcomed by individuals, families and
Visitor Press then invited Father Fox to prepare this special
Now it has
been revised and enlarged to include the Marian Pope, John Paul II, his
life and role as Mary’s Pope in changing the world headed toward
atheism under Communism.
Catechism has a Q & A format
accurate information on the role of Mary from her place in the Bible.
Her place in
the Church and the modern world.
role in heaven.
Fox returned to South Dakota with renewed zeal, and became involved
with the World Apostolate of Fatima.
He produced a tape series -- To Teach
as Mary Did at Fatima -- as an immediate application of his
commitment to preach the Gospel through the Fatima message of
conversion, penance, and the love of God.
Then, as chairman of a Fatima
Seminar in Detroit, Fr. Fox introduced his ideas for making outreach to
young people a vital part of the Fatima apostolate.
He founded a youth
division of the World Apostolate of Fatima, and wrote Catholic Truth
for Youth. At this time, however, the specifics of the task with youth
remained undefined -- how could he preach the Gospel anew to young
people by means of the message of Fatima?
I not promise that you would see the glory of God displayed?"
While leading a group of adults in a Holy Year Pilgrimage through
Fatima to Rome in 1975, Fr. Fox had an inspiration: What better way to
bring the Fatima message to young people than by bringing young people
A Youth Pilgrimage, run like a retreat, would provide an
opportunity for young people to meet the Lord Jesus through the
conversion of heart called for by Fatima and the Gospel it reflects.
This inspiration was the beginning of the Youth for Fatima Pilgrimages
which Fr. Fox has led each year since 1975. To this day the youth
pilgrimages -- one for boys and one for girls aged 15-22 -- are the
high point of Fr. Fox's year, filled with tremendous spiritual fruits.
On these trips many young people come to grips for the first time with
the sins that this difficult age so strongly encourages, and these
young people -- filled with a newfound hope in the merciful and
transforming love of Christ -- approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation
in great numbers.
Fr. Fox recalls how some young people -- touched by
the Holy Spirit and delivered from so much unhappiness and confusion --
will proclaim with tears in their eyes, "Thank God a priest finally
told me the truth about my sins."
This truth, which because of its
difficulty is so often neglected, can only be presented with the
ever-present invitation to God's mercy, and the result is a
transformation of heart which for so many young people is the first
step to their own interior union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the
perfect Christian life.
the most recent pilgrimages
in the Summer of 1986, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Alberto Cosme do
Amaral, greeted the young people at the Cova da Iria -- the site of the
apparitions -- and said: "You are an
example to the youth of Portugal.
You are an example to the youth of the whole world. Because Fatima is
difficult, it is especially for youth."
Bishop Amaral also blessed a
replica of the statue of Our Lady at Fatima for Fr. Fox, announcing,
"Wherever this statue is, there the
message of Fatima will be."
Fr. Fox sees the youth pilgrimages as a particular expression of his
vocation as a catechist and minister of God's Word and the highlight of
his own call to serve God among "the little children."
It was during that same Holy Year
tour in 1975 that Fr. Fox met a man who was to have an important
influence on his more recent activities.
Gino Burresi of the Oblates of
the Virgin Mary -- possessor of the miraculous charism of the stigmata
(the wounds of Christ) -- greeted Fr. Fox and some of his pilgrims at
San Vittorino, Italy.
The two men found a deep spiritual rapport. Fr.
Fox visited then-Brother Gino several times over the next few years. He
was inspired by Br. Gino's intensity of life, his singular dedication
to the Gospel, and the dramatic physical character of his witness of
As this inspiration developed, Fr. Fox conceived the notion
of writing a book on Br. Gino's life in order to communicate his
witness and charism to a wider audience. Call
of Heaven, now in its
second edition (which includes the ordination of Gino Burresi to the
priesthood), has strengthened the faith of many who have read it, and
has drawn some of these into the religious life.
The book on Fr. Gino, as well as the
constant work with youth, brought about for Fr. Fox an increasing
involvement with vocations.
Many young men looked up to him as a strong
defender of truth as well as a man of evangelical compassion and zeal.
His preaching and writing had placed the desire for the priesthood
within the hearts of many of these young men, who often sought him out
|For Children : Catholic Faith for Youth
Fox covers 24 topics on the Catholic Faith for teens and young adults in this album of 12 audio cassettes.
Wide use of
classroom or home study programs.
will discover how to listen to and communicate with Jesus, their Lord,
God, and Savior.
|Fatima : Rediscovering Fatima
Visitor book department requested another Fatima book from Fr. Fox
Best seller for
a new approach, Fr. Fox drew on his interviews since 1974 with
surviving and living witnesses to the Fatima events in 1917 when Our
AS SEEN on TV
Catholic Voice of America.
lessons giving the basics of the Catholic Faith.
existence of God, Truth, Grace, Liturgy and Sacraments,
|Doctrine : Instructions in
the Catholic Faith
the Catholic faith for adults 24 half-hour lessons.
study, adult inquiry,
CCD and convert instructions.
think that it is you who have chosen me, rather it is I who have chosen
vocations of young men became an increasingly prominent
feature of Fr. Fox's work. This prompted him to found a priestly
formation program with a specific orientation to the apostolate of the
media -- the priesthood and the media were, after all, the two areas
most familiar to him.
He called his program the Sons of the Immaculate
Heart. In the fall of 1982 with the encouragement of his bishop and a
personal expression of support from Cardinal Pironio, head of the
Congregation for Religious, Fr. Fox began his program, and soon he had
seven candidates living with him at his parish in Redfield, S.D.
At this time all the "signs"
indicated that the Sons of the Immaculate Heart would be a great
success, and inquiries and support poured in from all across the
During this time Fr. Fox also produced a video
cassette catechism course, Sharing the Faith
in the Catholic Faith"), in which he revived the style
and potential of Catholic television
maintained parish work, consistent writing, and the Fatima pilgrimages.
His work schedule reflected a rich harvest, but perhaps too rich for
one man. In time the demands on his energy began to take their toll,
and his health began to decline.
are the sorrowful,
they shall be
Fr. Fox trusted
that God would not allow his own limitations to hinder
the ministry of salvation that was entrusted to him.
But he did not
realize that now -- when it seemed that his active apostolate was so
necessary -- God was calling him instead to a ministry of suffering.
His health suddenly collapsed; at Fatima he was
struck with pneumonia
so severe that he lost the
pattern of his voice, the very tool with
which he had brought God's word to so many.
The bishop ordered the Sons
of the Immaculate Heart to disband; Fr. Fox had to retreat to a rural
environment, regain his strength, and learn to speak all over again.
Rendered dumb and helpless by the
mystery of God's providence, Fr. Fox entered into the immense darkness
and smallness of "thy will be done."
He experienced a new dimension of conformity to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary, one that goes beyond particular plans and ambitions -- even holy
ambitions -- and embraces the "fiat" simply for the sake of "magnifying
Fr. Fox did not understand why God had taken away his
strength, or why the Sons had failed. He only knew that this was what
God wanted, and that his very helplessness was now a vehicle for God's
he has regarded the
of his handmaid"
A Man Called Francis
One hour video filmed recently in
Focus Studios in New Orleans and at a Church is in such demand
producers are busy filling orders
shown at a healing service and his wounded hands are clearly visable as
he prays over thousands of people.
undergoes passion and suffering 365 days of the year,
Family : Francis
book relates the life of a married man in the United States who bears
the wound marks of Jesus Christ on his hands.
undergoes the events surrounding the Suffering and Death of Jesus
Christ each night of the year.
pronounced on all the Fridays of the year and during Lent, and with
greater intensity during Holy Week.
|Mary : Immaculate
Heart of Mary: True Devotion
concept of total consecration according to St.
is dear to Pope John Paul II, but also St. Louis’ work is brought up to
date with Vatican II without com-pro-mise
and uplifting as the theological and scriptural.
Family Shrine -
that inspired Russia’s first Fatima Shrine
considered one of the most
Marian Shrines in America.
Pope John Paul and Martyrs of the 20th Century
Secret of Fatima fully revealed by Rome?
Fatima Family Apostolate International
constructed the first United States Shrine to Pope John Paul II and
Martyrs of the 20th Century.
Sr. Lucia's reaction to those who claim the entire secret is not yet
time Fr. Fox grew well and regained his speech. He wrote a new book, Immaculate Heart of Mary, True Devotion,
in which he enriches the spirituality of St. Louis de Montfort by
casting it in the context of devotion to the Immaculate Heart, a
devotion that has become the very core and substance of his own life.
In 1985 he came to St. Mary of Mercy parish in Alexandria, where he is building a shrine to Our
Lady of Fatima in a spot that is very near to the center of the
North American continent.
Here Fr. Fox will host the first Marian
Congress in America in September of 1987. The Bishop of Leiria-Fatima
will visit the United States for the first time to attend the Congress
and dedicate the new shrine. He will also crown the replica statue with
a crown like that on the original statue at Fatima.
Fr. Fox will also launch a new
quarterly magazine in January of 1986. Called Youth for Fatima, the new
publication is intended primarily for young people between the ages of
16 and 25, and will use the Fatima message to inspire its readers with
greater devotion to the Church and renewed zeal for her mission in the
Youth for Fatima will be published by Trinity Communications at
$6.00 per year. Meanwhile Fr. Fox continues his writing, preaching, and
spiritual guidance to youth all over the country. And, as always, he
remains dedicated to his parish, especially the children, all of whom
he continues to teach just as he has in every parish he has ever served.
you have hidden from the
learned and the clever you have revealed to merest children"
Fr. Robert J. Fox "knows the Father" because he enters with
childlike simplicity into the mystery of the Trinity.
In 1979, Pope
John Paul II spoke with Fr. Fox, and encouraged him to pattern
after the Sermon on the Mount.
The Pope's advice points to the message
of the Kingdom of God, fully revealed as the Mystical Body of Christ
and lived in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of that
Body, source of the deep and personal union of all its members, and of
the members to the Head.
This message of unity has been the strength
and essence of Fr. Fox's priesthood, its motivation and driving force.
With and through Mary, he is present to the Person of Jesus Christ and
receives a share in the work of building the Kingdom.
In this way Fr.
Fox stands as an instrument of God's power, drawing those he encounters
into the unity of love that God wills for all men; that unity which is
Jesus Christ -- the Christ that his soul proclaims, the Christ in whom
Relevant Radio - Fr.
Robert J. Fox