Autobiography of Fr. Robert J. Fox

 A Priest is a Priest Forever 
 
This 330 page book is greatly needed by the laity. It is for all the faithful. It will inspireA Priest is a Priest Forever New book, autobiography by  Fr. Fox young men to consider the priesthood and parents to encourage their sons to consider a priestly vocation.


The 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.


It 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.


Table of contents   Sample Chapters  2   3   4 
Back Cover



 To order the autobiography
Priest is a Priest Forever click HERE


Mark Sanilo Portrait Artist


An Articles from April - June 2005
IMMACULATE HEART MESSENGER magazine
by Father Fox






50th Year - One of Suffering
By Fr. Robert J. Fox


fr. robert j fox IMMACULATE HEART MESSENGER magazineThis issue is of IMMACULATE HEART MESSENGER magazine  arriving late to your doors.

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 of
Virgin Mary nations. 

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 world.                                                    

    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 Mother.

    During the week of her funeral I was interviewed  twice on Catholic radio concerning Sister Lucia and her death.  The
BOOK OF INTIMATE LIFE OF SISTER LUCIAhour 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.

lFr. Robert J Fox celebrate 50 years as a priest next to painting by Mark Sanislo  I finally gave in to the suggestion to write an autobiography and titled the book,

"A Priest is a
 Priest Forever."

I must say that my 50th year has been for me a year of 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.
Artist Mark Sanislo of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, painted the beautiful cover of our Blessed Mother for the book, Messages from the Heart of Our Mother
Artist Mark 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 my autobiography]


[Mark Sanislo used a photograph he 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." ]

Father writes:
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 MESSENGER magazine cover:  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 Heart Messenger



Fr. Fox A Priest is a Priest Forever autobiography book cover of Fr. Robert J FoxMeditating on the Priesthood
 After 50 Years

 I am still learning more and more how a man who is ordained a priest must also be a victim as Jesus Christ was both Priest and Victim.

A 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 love of 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.

There was 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 our time

Even closer to our time was St. Padre Pio. He was a holy priest of Jesus Christ for 58 years. He attracted millions of sPadre Pio by Artist Mark Sanisloouls throughout the world.

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 presence.

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 rapture.

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 small boy.

 
Jesus 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.

I experience 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 writing out a two-paragraph answer. I set il to memory. The answer expressed a young man's thoughts at the end of his teens.


Celibacy 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 young 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 it to 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 Abbot 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 little reasons."

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 people."

"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 Christian life.

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
."

My 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 heavy.

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 this work of the Heart of Jesus.

The p
Vocations Holy Cardriesthood of 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.

That 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."

This is 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.


 
   
Mary,
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.

He possesses 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.

I 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 Vocations. from very young childhood.





Mary : Messages from the Heart of Our Mother

Messages from the Heart of Our Mother

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
.







Mary,
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 made flesh and dwelt among us." Mary is the Mother of Grace. She is the 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 human Advocate.

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).


Mary,
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 Christ."

For a priest to grant absolution to a penitent in 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 education and 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 incomplete.


        






Mary : Light from the East - Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh
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 forever

The priesthood of Jesus Christ, received through the sacrame
Holy Sacifice of the Massnt of Holy 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 Church.

By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king

(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 forever

"Since it is ultimately Christ who acts and effects salvation, through 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....

The 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 1585).

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, Euchologion).

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).

  

     
    
Desire to always exercise the Priesthood

With 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."

In 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 time.

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 pray I immediately recognize 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 these 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



     







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