CATHOLIC FAMILY NEWS EDITOR AND PUBLISHER
On Tuesday, April 4, the day of the week dedicated to the Holy Face and in the month dedicated to the Holy Face, John Vennari died. There is no way that this date was incidental as there is no coincidence with God and Our Lady. Mr. Vennari had a great devotion to the Holy Face and made a point to publish articles regularly on the practice of the devotion to Our Lord's Holy Face and the efficacy of such a devotion.
I only met this extraordinary man once, long ago at a Catholic conference in New Jersey. I had become a wanderer of sorts, lost in the deluge of the new orientation spawned by Vatican II enthusiasts and did not know where to turn. A Traditionalist met me at a pro-life meeting and befriended me as did his friends. His first act of kindness after that was to take me to that conference. It re-introduced the Catholic Faith to me and I was never the same again.
I remembered John Vennari, then Brother Vennari as I did the conference.
Later someone gave me a copy of Catholic Family News. One of the articles was on the Holy Face Devotion, one which I had not been that familiar with and my life has not been the same once again. I became a faithful subscriber. And as it sometimes happens Mr. Vennari himself became an inspiration, a guide and a friend of sorts because of his great love of the Catholic Faith, and the Catholic in the pew who was struggling against the dismantling of the Faith through the Mass and bad catechetics. I remembered how let down I was when the Third Secret of Fatima was not revealed as it should have been in 1960. I had developed a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and one of the joys of "knowing" John Vennari from afar, so to speak, yet very near, was that he, too loved Our Lady of Fatima and worked tirelessly with his friend, Fr. Nicholas Gruner of the Fatima Center to promote the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Countless Catholics like me, around the country and even the world were educated, not just informed, by John Vennari, at great sacrifice to himself and his family, wife Susan and three children. But it was really so much more than this, for he kept us filled with hope, not the pie in the sky kind, but Catholic hope, with our feet on the ground and our hearts and eyes on Heaven.
When I think of John Vennari, and I will do so and often, I always see him with an image of Our Lady of Fatima and the Holy Face of Jesus. And in the background will be Fr. Gruner, too. I pray they have already met in Heaven, two old friends reunited at last in eternity. Still, my husband and I pray for his Holy Soul anyway, because we are Catholics, just Catholics. We have to call ourselves Traditional Catholics, not because we want to but because of the conditions in the Church the last two generations.
But I believe he will soon be in Heaven if not already because of Our Lady of Fatima's promises about the brown scapular and the Five Saturdays' devotion. I am certain he died with that beautiful scapular around his shoulders and since he was so faithful, She promised to take from Purgatory that soul on the first Saturday - the day dedicated to this devotion - after the death of that person.
In every way one measures a man, to me he was a saint, first and foremost because he was so humble and so thoroughly Catholic, that if I had been a non-Catholic I think he would have converted me, but then he did actually, because he re-invigorated my Catholic Faith, a priceless gift I could never repay.
There is so much more I could write, but I don't think I need to. He was perfectly one with the will of God, as perfect as a man can be, and so I must be also.
I praise and thank Almighty God for letting us have him with us on earth for this brief sojourn, in this country we both loved and fought for, that is, the Social Reign of Christ the King. He considered himself an ordinary man and as such he was like all the good and holy men we meet, but because God set him aside for his unique work for the salvation of souls, he was truly extraordinary, thus, like no other. When he announced he was ill, I was without words. I could not even write him because I felt so inadequate compared to his actual friends, but I never stopped praying. Even now I have gained an attachment to the Martyr, St. Philomena. In death as in life, John Vennari is saving souls.
Thank you Mrs. Vennari and children, for sharing him with us. May God bless you with an abundance of graces.
Thank you John Vennari, for being faithful ....