The World Apostolate of Fatima – “Our Lady’s Blue Army” – is a Public International Association of the Faithful under The Pontifical Council for the Laity. On October 7 2005, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we were granted this honor. We are members of an international Organization of the faithful with the Headquarters located in Fatima Portugal. We serve the Chicago Archdiocese of over two million Catholics..We speak with the authority of the Church about the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 to three little shepherd children, and the message from heaven delivered during those apparitions.
The Chicago Blue Army was formed in 1955. This past May we celebrated our sixty third year anniversary. The work has changed little over time. We have three areas that divide our city.We still maintain three all night vigils of Reparation:2nd & 3rd Friday of the month, Our Lady of Fatima Chapel 3051 North Christiana Avenue Chicago. 4th Friday of the month, St. John Vianney 46 North Wolf Road, Northlake. 4th Friday of the month Benedictine Convent 5900 West 147th Street Oak Forest. An all-night Vigil consists of the Holy Mass, Eucharistic Procession, Adoration, and Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Join us for an hour, evening or stay all night at any of the above sites!!!
We are in the twelfth year of our lease for the Chapel at 3051 North Christiana Avenue. This beautiful chapel is available for retreats, group meetings, Holy Hours ,and Holy Masses. We have room for luncheons, breakfast groups, and dinner facilities to compliment your varied needs.
Each area has a monthly event at a different church where we join the parishioners in a Holy Hour that features the Consecration prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also the Consecration prayer of Pope Pius XII to the Immaculate Heart. We bring our Diocesan Pilgrim Virgin Statue to these parishes if possible.
The following are some of our committees:
We have many prayer cells, a small group that prays together and studies the events of Fatima. A Eucharistic Committee to coordinate Eucharistic endeavors of various kinds, including Perpetual Adoration, weekly and monthly Holy Hours of Adoration, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Processions, all arranged thru local pastors or spiritual advisors. First Saturday committees, at one time there were over 200 hundred Churches praying the first Saturday devotions. A Pilgrim Virgin committee, true devotion committee that develops, coordinates, and teaches classes according to St. Louis De Montfort. We visit the aged and pray rosaries with them, we send material to those in prisons, we have home enthronement of the Sacred Heart, and we have a school program to teach the children.
Rosaries and scapulars are assembled by our members, We purchase the raw material and produce these sacramentals by the thousands to be sent to the four corners of the world.
PLEDGE TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA
1.Offer in Reparation the daily sacrifices that you make.
2.Pray the Rosary
3.Wear the Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
4.Make the first five Saturday Devotions for Reparation .
5. Spread the Message of Fatima to others.
The Motives for the First Saturday Devotion
While Sister Lucia was in the chapel with Our Lord during part of the night of May 29-30, 1930, He explained the motivation for the devotion. This explanation answered the question posed by her confessor about why the number should be 5 Saturdays and not 9 to correspond to the 9 First Fridays, or 7 to correspond with Our Lady’s 7 sorrows.
There are 5 ways in which people offend and blaspheme against The Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. Offenses or blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception – its denial and/or ridicule.
2. Against Her perpetual virginity – that She had relations with Joseph and had other children.
3. Against Her Divine Maternity, refusing at the same time to accept Her as Mother of all Mankind – denying that She is the Mother of God and our Mother.
4. The implantation into children’s hearts of indifference, contempt and even hate against our Immaculate Mother.
5. Insults directed against Her sacred images –displays of indifference or ridicule, and the infliction of damage to them.
The essential elements of the practice of the devotion of the 1st Saturday Communions of Reparation
With the intention of making reparation for offenses committed against The Immaculate Heart of Mary:
Go to Confession.
Receive Holy Communion worthily.
Pray five decades of the Rosary.
Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.
The Great Promise
Our Lady promised to assist all those who would practice the devotion on the first Saturday of five consecutive months with the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of their death.
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Our Founders & History
Harold V. Colgan was born in Elizabeth, NJ on November 27, 1894. He was ordained in 1920 after completing his studies at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. Father Colgan was assigned to a number of parishes in various towns in the Newark Diocese, and he authored three prayer books before 1941. In early 1946 he became Pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Plainfield and started experiencing a serious heart ailment. In the first week of December of that year he was hospitalized and only given a few months to live. On the first Saturday in December he requested a statue of the Blessed Mother to be brought into his room. The next day on Sunday December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, he prayed for “an extension of his life” and in return he promised to spread devotion to Mary. Within a very short time, he was back at St. Mary’s Church fulfilling his duties as Pastor. A doctor from the hospital saw Father Colgan celebrating Mass and spoke to the Bishop. Father Colgan was ordered by the Bishop to go to Johns Hopkins Medical Center for an evaluation that ultimately showed he was cured.
The appearance and messages of Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 were not well known in the United States at this time. Father Colgan read a magazine article about Our Lady’s appearance and was amazed when he read that she stated that “…Russia will be converted…” Since the “Cold War” with the militantly atheistic Communists and their Red Army in the Soviet Union (formerly Russia) was starting to occur after the Second World War, he told his parishioners that he wanted to start devotions specifically to Our Lady of Fatima. He preached from the altar that he wanted to start a “Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima” that would be a spiritual force against the atheistic policies of the Soviet Union and their Red Army. Parishioners were encouraged to wear blue ribbons or blue clothing as a reminder of this devotion.
He heard about another New Jersey resident, John M. Haffert, who had founded a Scapular Apostolate and had developed a Pledge card after conversations in 1946 with Sister Lucia, the sole survivor of the three shepherd children at Fatima, who was given the mission to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He invited John to speak to his parishioners and tell them about Our Lady of Fatima and the pledge. The pledge was to make a morning offering, pray the Rosary daily and wear the Scapular as a sign of consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. At the time, the Five First Saturdays devotion was optional, but has since been added to the pledge. The pledge quickly became known as the Blue Army Pledge and it started to spread from parish to parish, first in New Jersey, then in surrounding states. This was known as the March of Pledges. Soon, it became a worldwide movement known in the USA and some countries as the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima. The numbers were quickly in the millions and the final estimates were anywhere from 30 to 40 MILLION people who had signed the Blue Army Pledge.
On December 8, 1947, John brought the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue, blessed by the Bishop of Fatima in October, to the United States, and it began a coast-to-coast tour of America. It traveled to Canada and has been traveling worldwide since. The message of Fatima was spread throughout the world, largely through the Pilgrim Virgin Statue tours.
John established the Ava Maria Institute on his farm in Washington, NJ which served as an administrative center for sending and receiving the Pledge cards, handling correspondence, and they soon began publishing Soul Magazine in 1950. Numerous programs to spread the Message of Fatima were started and they were both travelling around the world to help spread this message. In 1954, Father Colgan’s title was elevated to Monsignor by Pope Pius XII. Around this same time period, Msgr. Colgan ardently desired to purchase land near the Fatima, Portugal Shrine and even sold his personal automobile to obtain some of the needed funds. Property directly behind the Fatima Shrine was purchased and a hotel with two chapels, a Latin rite and Byzantine rite, was built and was named “Domus Pacis”, meaning House of Peace. John Haffert was a tremendous help with the building of Domus Pacis and also started Blue Army Tours to take pilgrims to Fatima and other religious sites. At one point Blue Army Tours even had their own airplane, named “Queen of the World.”
In 1970, Msgr. Colgan and John Haffert solicited the Blue Army members and, with an initial down payment from John Haffert, they purchased the ancient, miraculous, Russian Icon known as the Icon of Kazan from an English woman. It was displayed in Domus Pacis until the early 1990’s when it was requested by Pope John Paul II who returned it to the Russia Orthodox Church in 2004.
Msgr. Harold V. Colgan passed away in April 1972, living an additional 26 years after praying for an extension of his life and in return, a promise to spread devotion to Mary. As a priest who loved baseball, his extra years in which he founded The Blue Army with its 40 million members and spreading devotion to Mary, was the equivalent of winning the World Series.
In the early 1970s, John Haffert and his wife donated the farm they owned in Washington, NJ to The Blue Army. A large church with a towering roof and 24′ bronze statue of Mary at the peak 130’ above ground was erected on the property. It is known today as the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
John went on to write more than 30 books, including “Dear Bishop,” which is a history of The Blue Army from its founding in 1947 until 1982. He was able to witness the fall of the Communist Soviet Union in 1991 and nine months later, with a few hundred others, returned to Red Square in Moscow openly carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. With the efforts of millions of Blue Army members praying and making sacrifices, he was witnessing the start of the conversion of Russia as promised by Our Lady of Fatima following the Consecration of Russia by Pope John Paul II with the Bishops of the world on March 25, 1984.
With the presence of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue at his bedside, John Haffert passed away on October 31, 2001. Monsignor Colgan had been previously interred in a crypt in the Holy House on the Shrine property. Following John’s death, both Msgr. Harold Colgan and John M. Haffert were buried side by side in the newly built Blue Army Shrine Cemetery on November 10, 2001.
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima officially became The World Apostolate of Fatima and was named a Public International Association of the Faithful “ad experimentum” by Pope Benedict XVI on October 7, 2005. Five years later, on October 7, 2010, the “experimental” period was over. The Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed: 1. The confirmation of the erection of the apostolate as a Public International Association of the Faithful ; and 2. The definitive approbation of the Statutes of the association, duly authenticated and deposited in its Archives.