Fr. Nicholas Gruner ~ May 4, 1942 - April 29, 2015
I would like to offer something in the way of a personal tribute to Fr. Gruner. I never knew him, I heard him speak twice, and actually had a brief but pleasant conversation with him last September over a barbecue of all things. I also had one brief Facebook message exchange with Fr. Gruner when I sent him a simple Facebook "friend" request. Though he didn't know me, he took the time from his busy schedule to exhort me - just a soul who happened across his path to learn and live the message of Fatima. He exhorted me to attend the Fatima Conference in Boston when I mentioned I was thinking of going. It was quite apparent he was a great motivator and had the heart of an Apostle.
I didn't know him, yet his influence over my life has been great. I returned to a belief in the Catholic Church in the late 1970s - a conversion that I entirely attribute to the good graces of Our Lady of Fatima. When I read about Fatima, I was very excited about it, which soon turned to dismay, as I soon realized how universally the words of our Blessed Mother are ignored. There were then, as there are now, various forces at work that seek to suppress the full message of Fatima. Calls for conversions as well are often unpopular with the world. Then Fr. Gruner came along. He, along with others who rallied around this inspirational figure, shone a light on the message of Fatima - all of it. When the Pharisees asked Our Lord to rebuke His disciples for proclaiming the Kingship of Jesus Christ, Jesus told them that if they would be quiet, then the very stones will cry out. So it is today - Fr. Gruner was one of those stones who cry out loud and clear the message of Our Lady of Fatima when the wolves and the hirelings scatter the sheep. Efforts to suppress God's message by the worldly powers and by spiritual forces - principalities and powers - may cause great destruction, but ultimately are doomed to failure. Regarding the message of Fatima, the bell can not now be unrung. Fr. Gruner cooperated with grace and sent out the clarion call. Now it is incumbent on each of us to respond.
The message of Our Lady of Fatima is clear. She is our mother, she does all for us that our natural mother would do and more. She is the faithful advocate for her children before the throne of God, calling down on her children the mercy of God. We have nothing to fear if we seek her motherly assistance. We need to recognize and follow her direction, so as to be guided safely one day to Paradise to reign forever with her and her son. Our world has need as never before for those courageous souls, who have the heart of an apostle, a heart like Fr. Gruner did to zealously live the Catholic life, informed by the message of Our Lady of Fatima to the faithful of our time.
As I reflect on his life, I see that ... up to now ... I know that I have done very little for Our Lady, who has done so much for me. Let me resolve this day to change. As we reflect on his life and pray for the repose of his soul, we realize that we are in need of good holy priests who will encourage and exhort us to follow Our Lady up to Calvary, in the footsteps of her son. Let us pray that Our Blessed Mother will send apostles of her Son to continue his work. Moreover, we especially pray that we may increase our efforts on her behalf, and show ourselves faithful sons and daughters of her Immaculate Heart. May Our Lady, having faithfully guided the soul of Fr. Gruner to the heavenly gates, shower graces on our poor world on his behalf.
In those days: I heard a voice from Heaven, saying to me: Write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, from henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow them. (Apocalypse 14:13)