Flanders: Hello Christopher. It’s been a joy getting to know you via correspondence, and I’m grateful for the official partnership between OnePeterFive and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima in promoting the Icon of the Theotokos of Fatima (“In Thee Unity”). Can you tell me and our readers a little bit more about yourself and your personal devotion to Fatima? I understand you were Eastern Catholic for many years.
Wendt: I am married and a father of 9 children that range in ages from 29 down to 10. I started a digital agency called Midstream Marketing back in 2002 to help financial advisors get more leads. Our company has about 18 employees with about 10 or so in the Philippines. Our company is a close family even though we span two continents.
I also am the international director of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima, an apostolate that I co-founded in 2020 with His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider. I started it in response to the Crisis in the Church and in the world as I saw us climb deeper into the Chastisement that Our Lady warned about 106 years ago.
My role as the international director is to help build the Reign of Mary as fast as possible. I am just a simple layman and lay no claims to being a learned scholar or theologian; I am not. I also really don’t like the limelight but I will subject myself to it for the sake of Our Lady.
I first heard of Our Lady of Fatima when I was about 10 years old when my parents attended a session in downtown Phoenix a long time ago. At that time I was not into the Faith and was really too young to grasp it.
When I was a student at Franciscan University and later when we attended Holy Mass with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Maine, NY, my devotion to Our Lady became “real” and heartfelt. I first consecrated myself to Our Lady according to St. Louis de Montfort while a student at Franciscan University when I was heavily involved in peacefully blocking abortion clinics all across the United States back in the early 90s. At that time, I did not realize the full power and unique efficacy of the Consecration according to St. Louis de Montfort. It was more of a devotion among others. Now I know the Consecration to be more like an “8th Sacrament.” What makes True Devotion and the Consecration unique, unlike anything else, lies in the fact of whom you are consecrating yourself to – Our Lady. It really is life changing.
With the Friars of the Immaculate, I learned to truly love Our Lady and to be in relationship with Her as a son. I really thank Fr. Maximilian Dean and the other friars for their witness of that love. The order was all but destroyed by the Holy Father, but I already see it rising again and in a way that is victorious and this time insurmountable. Our Lady wants Her friars to continue and to anticipate Her Reign during this Chastisement that we are in. In fact this is true for all of us. We are really called to let Her be Queen of Hearts and thus reign in our hearts and thus anticipate Her future Reign, which will come soon, within our hearts.
As for Fatima, I cannot remember when I took such a great interest in it, but I have always had a passion for ideas, philosophy, current events, news, and the geo-political order. I think what attracted me to Her message at Fatima is that it contains within itself the answer and the antidote to the crisis that we live in. As I probed deeper into it, I found myself loving Our Lady more and wanting to do the penance that She asks for. I also found that the darkness that we currently see within the Church and the world is known by Her and will be ended by Her. I could speak for hours on this topic, again not as a professional scholar but as an international director whose mission it is to help promote the Reign of Mary.
You also asked about me being an Eastern Catholic. It is true I and my family are canonically Ruthenian Catholics. My wife and I were raised in the Roman Rite, but I remember attending the Divine Liturgy even when I was 16 years old at St. Thomas the Apostle Mission in Gilbert, AZ when it was held in the Seton Catholic high school back in the late 80s. I can still remember hearing the old cantor in the old style seeing “So Great is God” and I am still so moved emotionally by it. We became canonically Reuthenians around 2000. It was the culmination of 7 years of wandering in the chaos of the Erie Diocese with all of its liturgical revolution especially under at least the permissive will of Bishop Trautman. He had after all Fr. Conrad Kraus as the director of the Sacraments and Worship. That priest, God rest his soul (and we must pray for him constantly), was a real Cranmer, a real destroyer of churches. I remember going to a Chrism Mass when they still did it on Thursdays, where he had a bunch of skimpily dressed 20-year-olds dancing around in leotards and holding some kind of flags for the entrance procession. Our final straw for the status quo of the Novus Ordo though was when the priest brought in a TV during Mass so that we could watch Bishop Trautman do his annual appeal during the homily time. The sacredness of the Liturgy really broke down, people were commenting on how they knew this priest and that priest in the video and then they all clapped at the end. For us it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. For us that was a permanent red line of demarcation where we never went back.
It was at this point, having a background in attending the Divine Liturgy, that we started going to St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Hermitage, PA with Fr. Frank Firko as the pastor. Those were great days. He was and still is a holy priest; one you can count on. A silent operator who day after day lives out his priesthood with true and admirable faithfulness. It was the beginning of a 20 year journey for us as Byzantine Catholics. We truly loved our time in that Rite, and we are still canonical Ruthenian Catholics.
But we now attend the Latin Mass at St. Peter’s in Steubenville, OH, our new spiritual home, because of the oppressive Covid restrictions that happened in 2020.
That’s a heartbreaking story my friend. But thanks be to God for a parish home at St. Peter’s. And thanks for sharing about the consecration to Our Lady. I did this consecration years ago actually when I was Eastern Orthodox, and I can heartily agree with what you said: it’s not just any other devotion. But turning back to the Confraternity, let me ask you more about that. First, does the Confraternity take a position on the various controversial points about Fatima, Russia, Sr. Lucia, and the various Consecration attempts?
The Confraternity takes whatever position His Excellency Bishop Schneider has. I say that in humility and great peace and joy. Other people have dabbled into sedevacantism, for example, and call Pope Francis “Bergoglio.” We say with His Excellency that Pope Francis is the pope, and we must pray for him at every Holy Mass, whether public or clandestine, and we must also pray for him in our Rosaries. He is the pope, albeit a heretical one and one that is actively seeking to destroy the Church from within, there is absolutely no doubt about that at this point. As we all know, we are going through very difficult time in the Church, a very unique and unprecedented time. Yet our time is illustrated at least by the end of the fourth century, when we had a semi-Arian pope, Liberius, still in the line of the papacy today despite his heresy and tolerant persecution of St. Athanasius. And we also have an Athanasius, don’t we, and a very strong Church militant that fights the good fight of Faith under the banner of Christ the King.
As for other controversies, like the consecration attempts, we are very clear, His Excellency is very clear, that the consecrations of Pope John Paul II were not as Our Lady had asked. He took a stand on that. Then when Pope Francis made the Consecration two years ago, His Excellency was clear to say that that Consecration was what Our Lady had asked for: with the words and the coordination with the bishops of the world. We have several videos on his Gloriadei.io website that go into that. You can reach out to our customer service if you cannot find it. There are certainly undesirable extra things, but one has to admit that the words, the intention, and the manner with all the world’s bishops being invited is there.
But His Excellency is also quick to say that this is not a Sacrament; we still need the fundamental turning of the world away from sin and also the requested First Saturday devotion to be recognized by the Pope. His prayer, that he wrote to Hasten the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart Mary, at the bottom of the homepage of the GloriaDei.io website really features the promotion of the First Saturday devotion as integral for Russia to convert. We are just not there yet. The Pope has made the Consecration but he has not officially promulgated the First Saturday Devotion, as Bishop Schneider’s prayer suggests. The fact of the matter is that Russia will be a great chastiser of all the nations until it converts, as Our Lady of Fatima prophesied 106 years ago and in other subsequent private revelation given to Sr. Lucia. Once she does convert, Russia will be a great instrument of the world’s sanctification, and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Coming Reign of Mary and the Great Restoration of the Church. Despite being private revelation, this is in my mind a solid fact of future history that I will gladly live and die for. The Reign of Mary will be so joyous that if we somehow survive the apex of the chastisement, with the annihilation of nations, we will marvel at the work of God and Our Lady and see a true rebirth of the Church.
For the controversy concerning the double of Sr. Lucia or impostor Sr. Lucia, we really don’t get into that discussion. Not that it is not important, but the Confraternity has only so much capital to spend to teach. It’s message must be focused on what is solid, so we really stay out of things like that publicly because the message that really must pertain to us is a message of reparation to atone for the sins of men that are leading them to hell. “So many men go to hell because there are so few people praying for them.” It is the same with unapproved private revelation. We will not enter into any discussion regarding that because we must focus on what Our Lady wants. We leave it to the theologians and historians for them to discuss it among themselves but not really trouble the lay faithful with it who are simply seeking real solid hope at this time in world history with the crisis in the Church and the World. We also really focus on catechesis, from the Roman Catechism; the Confraternity is not about debates about undefined truths of the Faith and will not waste time on it. I am not a theologian and don’t pretend to be; I sacrificed that path a long time ago in 2002 so I could provide for my family. You will never see me debate with a Salza or sit on a panel with Mr. Fradd or anyone else. That is not the point for the Confraternity we are trying to form a race of saints that are totally devoted to Our Lady as St. Louis de Montfort speaks of in True Devotion. We will let others more capable fight the liturgical wars, and fight we must. But we have a very simple mission that could easily get distracted and that mission is to build the Reign of Mary as soon as possible. For me it is the only thing that makes sense.
We are headed into an absurd Church of Darkness that will seek to teach and promote even more heresy and heterodoxy from the blessed Chair of St. Peter itself. People need their Catechism lesson, and they need to consecrate themselves to Our Lady as soon as possible,
You co-founded this apostolate with Bishop Schneider. At OnePeterFive, we promote a restoration of the traditional “Two Swords” cooperation between clergy and laity. Our lay apostolate, the Crusade of Eucharistic Reparation was called by him, but since it’s a crusade, it is run and managed by lay people only with his advisement. It has clerical support, but not leadership. What is the role of His Excellency in your apostolate, and what is your role distinct from that?
The role of His Excellency is the same, one of advisement. This is a lay apostolate under his blessing, advisement, and intercession.
We have a Board that meets three or four times per year in Steubenville, Ohio, and we really try to be open to what Our Lady is doing. It is only three years old, the Confraternity, and yet it has grown very fast because of its simplicity and because of its radical focus on the Message of Fatima and the building up of the coming Reign of Mary.
Here is an example, there is a layman in Cebu, Philippines who wanted to build a wayside chapel. We sponsored it, and it was opened on May 13th of this year. He told them to make the Consecration and to pray and we will see if some Donors will take on the project. Sure enough it did, and now in a really less fortunate place, the people there have a chapel where they pray the Rosary every night, have Holy Mass once per week, and also Baptisms and Holy Matrimony. If this is not extending the Reign of Mary, I don’t know what is and it just grew up organically from the concrete desires and aspirations of people locally there.
I will be traveling there in August and can’t wait to see it with my own eyes and to pray to Our Lady there.
What is the Reign of Mary according to Fatima?
The Reign of Mary is very simple in the Message of Fatima. It is in two places. One, Our Lady of Fatima says, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” This is a promise. We can count on it, and what does it mean? It means that Our Lady will triumph geo-politically. I say geo-politically because Her whole message is about world history. It is also a triumph where someone wins completely and someone loses completely. It means also that a majority of the world will be Catholic and will have devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Outside of Fatima, there is a great body of approved Catholic prophecy about the Reign of Mary that I have researched and have given talks on. I also hope to write a book soon on it so that people will have great encouragement in the future.
There is also another passage from Fatima, which Sr. Lucia heard immediately prior to writing down the first part of the Third Secret of Fatima. I am not taking space here to explain it all, but Sr. Lucia was consoled in a vision right before writing down the first part of the Third Secret. She saw the annihilation of nations but then she heard a voice inside of her: “Afterward I felt in the increased beating of my heart and in my spirit a quiet voice which said: ‘in time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. Heaven in eternity!’ This word, ‘Heaven,’ filled my heart with peace and happiness, so much so that, almost without realizing it, I continued to repeat for some time: ‘Heaven, Heaven!’”
Here we see from Fatima that the Reign of Mary will also mean the triumph and restoration of the Church, and that heresy and error will fall back into the shadows for a time. This again is not only the message of Fatima, it is also the message of countless approved Catholic prophecies, as I mentioned earlier.
I was looking at the requirements for the Confraternity and noticed it is more than the Fatima requirements. Are these offered up in reparation for those who have not done the First Saturdays?
We had a lot of discussion about the requirements and wanted to keep it simple and also be requirements for someone who is living the message of Fatima which incidentally does include the Brown Scapular.
Why do you think we are still under the chastisement and what is necessary to turn away the wrath of God?
It is very obvious that we are still under the chastisement, a chastisement a punishment that started with Pope Pius XI ignoring the Consecration of Russia and the people not repenting and turning away from sin and doing the First Saturday devotion of Reparation. The chastisement was always conditional; it is why Our Lady came. She came as a Mother to warn us of our imminent destruction if we don’t stop sinning because “Our Lord is already so much offended.”
Thus World War II was a consequence of the chastisement and did not need to have happened. Also Russia spreading Her errors throughout the world came and went to where we are today with the neo-Marxism in the United States, particularly of the gender ideology movement. This was conditional and did not need to happen but it has and we are in deep with it.
Finally Our Lady says that many nations will be annihilated. She said it 106 years ago and also reaffirmed it in 1944 when Sr. Lucia wrote down the first part of the Third Secret as mentioned above. It is conditional – we don’t have to have two thirds of humanity destroyed and yet we are indeed on this path and are probably very close to it (though I could be wrong and am just speculating). Why is this important? Because the Confraternity can build an army of people making reparation and it is possible for the nations of the world to repent. There is obvious historical precedent for nations to turn back to the Lord and to stop sinning, the evil, the wickedness, the blasphemies. We have the power to really influence world history and can make the reparation Our Lady is asking for at Fatima. We just have to take action and imitate the Fatima children in their simplicity and do penance for poor sinners.
We will be under the chastisement as long as you can see a man dressed like a woman parading himself around publicly and seeking to groom children. We will be under the chastisement as long as babies are murdered through abortion all throughout the world. We are under the chastisement as long as a Pope advances the agenda of the synod, married priests, women deacons, and the blessings of homosexual so-called “unions” with a quasi-marriage rite.
God will punish us and Our Lady will not be able to do anything about it because She has been given to us in this time and this is the time to heed Her call at Fatima and act on Her call to penance and reparation.
What is the significance of the Theotokos Icon for the Confraternity and the Reign of Mary?
The Theotokos icon that OnePeterFive is promoting is absolutely beautiful. We must remember that world history and the geo-political order hinges upon the conversion of Russia. The icon was written by an Orthodox monk and it represents Our Lady of Fatima using the imagery particular to an Eastern Catholic expression of the Faith.
We must not be afraid that it was painted by an orthodox monk because in time the Russian Orthodox will become Catholic. I am a canonical Byzantine Catholic and can vouch for its beauty and symbolism as a real expression of what an Icon of Our Lady of Fatima should be like.
It was a mistake for Fatima devotees in the past to suggest that the Russian orthodox will convert and become better Orthodox faithful. Absolutely not. Orthodox are schismatics they are not Catholics; we must shed the false ecumenism, with all due respect, of Pope John Paul II. No. In the Reign of Mary, the Russian nation will become Catholic. This is what the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart means. And so promoting an icon like this really anticipates the devotion of a praying people of Russians, in particular Russian families, people in their first days and hours of conversion into the unity of the Catholic Church. It is the newfound Catholic Faith of the Russian people that will actually launch the Reign of Mary and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It is exciting to think about.
Yes it is! One last question: does the Confraternity take a position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine in light of Fatima?
We do not take a position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many Catholics weigh in on it. Our position is that we are watching it closely and watching it in light of approved Catholic prophecy. Yet that is not our focus. We are more focused on promoting the Consecration of St. Louis de Montfort, the penance of Fatima, the daily Rosary. This is something we can do to help shape the geo-political order and anticipate the Reign of Mary.
Christopher P. Wendt is a serial entrepreneur who has founded two digital marketing agencies, one online retail website, and now a remote staffing solutions business that taps into global talent. He earned his Master of Arts degree from Gannon University’s Pontifical Center for Catechetical Studies and calls Franciscan University of Steubenville his “loving mother.” He and his wife Veronica, of 25 years, have nine children so far, and they live outside Steubenville, Ohio. He raises beef cattle on his farm, loves to hike new trails, and to run. His favorite historical non-fiction book is Revolution and Counter-Revolution. He co-founded the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima with Bishop Schneider. He can be reached at midstreammarketing.com.