Dear Virgin Mary: We need another visit | From the editor

Hi neighbor,

Really? Did an unnamed ex-president of the United States really say that Vladimir Putin was “very shrewd” and his plan “brilliant” in the way the madman of Moscow orchestrated his barbaric and unprovoked attack on Ukraine?

The attack in which he no doubt thought Russian troops would land and crush Ukraine in a day, but instead unified the Western world, strengthened NATO, left Russia isolated and even convinced the Peace-loving Switzerland to sanction Russia, making Ukrainian President Zelenskyy a hero and the Ukrainian people brave warriors?


Trump and Putin

The attack where this “genius” feels obliged to dangle nuclear war before the world?


Meanwhile, America rallies behind Ukraine with more than a dozen New York landmarks, including Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, and the Wildwood Ferris Wheels in Seaside Heights along the Jersey Shore – glow blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Where members of Congress held Ukrainian flags during Tuesday’s State of the Union.



House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, wears a Ukrainian flag lapel pin and Ukraine-colored pocket square as he speaks in the House before President Joe Biden arrives for deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Win McNamee, Pool via AP) PA

Of course, he-who-must-remain-nameless, seeing where the wind is blowing on the globe, must have changed course the other day. “It’s a holocaust. It’s a horrible thing happening, you witness it. I mean, you see it on TV every night.

Anyone of a certain age – read this, old baby boomers – must think back to the Cold War era of the 50s and later 60s when JFK was watching Nikita Khrushchev on Cuba.

Among the countless comments and analyzes being talked about, there is one that I have yet to hear, but one that anyone from a Catholic school should remember from the days of daily Baltimore catechism classes.

The story involves the Virgin Mary. Or in today’s lesson, Our Lady of Fatima.

Press Photo Thomas Tedesco at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto, Rosebank

Grotto of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Amity Place, Rosebank. Thomas Tedesco is working on a statute of Our Lady of Fatima. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

If you were in Sister Lillian Cravinho’s St. Dorothy Academy class in Grasmere, or one of the “Cravinho Sisters” around Staten Island – or Brooklyn, for our neighbors from After-The-Bridge – You know what I’m talking about.

Between catechism lessons and bomb shelter drills when we hid under our desks, we learned about the Soviet Union – the Evil Empire.

Young people might think the “under the desk” thing is an urban legend. It’s not. Every day at noon, air raid sirens, attached to power poles on Hylan Boulevard, went off – they were located all over Staten Island – and we dived for cover in hopes of Avoid any nuclear fallout, or the classroom ceiling will fall on our heads.

I don’t claim to be a theologian, but if I understand the story of Our Lady of Fatima correctly, about 40 years earlier, God was upset with the way his people were behaving, so he sent Mary to a place called Fatima in Portugal on May 13, 1917. There she found three small children – Lucia, 12, and her cousins ​​Jacinta, 9, and Francisco, 7 – herding sheep.


Ukrainian servicemen carry a stroller after crossing the Irpin River on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while assisting people fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)PA

She spoke with them and there were several visits afterwards. But the result was that Mary told the children that if people didn’t stop offending God, he would punish us with war, hunger and persecution from the church and the pope – and Russia would be his way. to do.

Mary told the children that the only way out was for Russia to accept her “Immaculate Heart” and if it did, Russia would be converted and peace would reign over the world.

So every day at school we prayed for the “conversion of Russia”. And every Sunday at church, the priest led the congregation in doing the same.

It took a while, but it looked like we had solved the Russia problem when the Soviet Union finally collapsed in the early 1990s, a few years after Ronald Reagan told the then Soviet leader , “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

Although I doubt Mr. Gorbachev kissed the “Immaculate Heart” of the Virgin Mary, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin and Russia looked more like a democracy.

Until Vladimir Putin.


Ukrainian soldiers accompanied by civilians transport a woman after crossing the Irpin River. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) PA

I don’t know where we will be by the time you read this. The situation changes every hour. But it won’t surprise anyone if Putin wins the battle. And although everyone calls it “war”, it really is a battle because you can be sure it’s Putin’s first step into all-out war as he tries to take more.

But will he win this war?

Somehow, in hindsight, I trust Putin much less than I trust Khrushchev — even with Nikita’s tirade slamming shoes at the United Nations 50 years ago. There are a variety of versions of the story, but the most popular is that Nikita was so upset by a comment from a delegate from the Philippines that he stood on his podium and screamed, took his shoe and kicked it. struck to accentuate it.


Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro.

Khrushchev was said to be proud of his performance, but the Soviet Union’s allies were not and called it a “shameful episode”. There was growing disillusionment with his policies and his handling of the Cuban missile crises and Khrushchev was eventually ousted from power.

We can only hope that history repeats itself. Putin could win the battle for Ukraine. Let us pray in an isolated Russia, he loses the support of his henchmen – and the war.


Oh by the way: wow! What’s going on in Staten Island? Once the darling of borough Republicans — and many Democrats, too — Rudy Giuliani no longer feels the love. This is reported by Paul Liotta from our Town Hall. Rudy showed up in Annadale with his son, gubernatorial candidate Andrew, as well as failed mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa to get petitions signed in the borough that might have elected Rudy at the time, but didn’t. not support his son for governor. At least the party isn’t. Rudy was the right guy at the right time for New York and Staten Island at the time. Today? Not really. Will be interesting to see how Andrew fares with the mainstream Republican electorate. May be . . . just maybe. . . that old Trump magic is wearing thin.