Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Father Robert Joseph Fox, retired priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls and founder of the Fatima Family Apostolate, who died in Hanceville, Alabama at the age of 81 on Thanksgving Day after a courageous battle with cancer:
O God, Thou didst raise Thy servant, Robert, to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, according to the Order of Melchisedech, giving him the sublime power to offer the Eternal Sacrifice, to bring the Body and Blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ down upon the altar, and to absolve the sins of men in Thine own Holy Name. We beseech Thee to reward his faithfulness and to forget his faults, admitting him speedily into Thy Holy Presence, there to enjoy forever the recompense of his labors. This we ask through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
The Reverend Robert J. Fox (December 24, 1927 – November 26, 2009) was a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD and a prolific author. Father Fox ministered in a number of rural parishes in South Dakota, including the parishes of Millbank, Hoven, Bristol, Waubay, Redfield, and Alexandria. He was the Founder and Director of the national Fatima Family Apostolate and Youth for Fatima Pilgrimages as well as the editor of the Immaculate Heart Messenger.
He was born in Watertown, South Dakota in 1927. His father, Aloysius Fox, was a farmer. Fox was raised in a religious family and developed a vocation at an early age. After graduating from Watertown High School, Fox studied at St John’s University, a Benedictine liberal arts college in rural Minnesota, between 1947 and 1950. Fox graduated from the St Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1955.
After priestly ordination, Fox served as a parochial vicar in several parishes where some of his superiors suggested that he start working as a writer. He started sending in letters and articles to Catholic publications and they were published. He eventually became a weekly columnist for the National Catholic Register.
Fox became the pastor of St Anthony’s parish in Bristol, South Dakota in 1962. He was the pastor in a number of parishes in South Dakota between 1961 and 1971. He became the pastor at St Bernard’s Church in Redfield, South Dakota in 1971.
In 1971, Cardinal John Wright, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy asked him to write six books as part of the General Catechetical Directory. Fox did so and started a prolific career with well over 50 books to his credit. In 2005, he published an autobiography entitled: A Priest is a Priest Forever.
In thanksgiving for his work for the General Catechetical Directory, Fox built his first shrine to Our Lady of Fatima in Redfield in 1972. He took his first pilgrimage group to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal in 1974 and continued to do so for almost 30 years.
Fr. Fox gave talks at many conferences across the globe, appeared often on television, and produced a quarterly magazine, The Immaculate Heart Messenger. He was also a frequent visitor to Russia for the purpose of evangelization, bringing message of Fatima to many Christians in that country.
Among Fr. Fox’s numerous television and radio appearances are several Mother Angelica Live Shows; an appearance on Johnette Benkovic’s The Abundant Life; EWTN Doug Keck’s Bookmark; Daily Mass; WEWN shortwave radio and Sirius Satellite Radio and Relevant Radio.
Prayer had always been first and foremost in his life and often he faithfully fulfilled the 81-day novena which is composed of nine nine-day novenas, in which one prays the Rosary Novena three times (27 days) in request, three times (another 27 days) in adoration, and three more times (final 27 days) in thanksgiving. It was a novena from ancient Catholic traditions he learned while a teenager.
Fr. Fox was responsible for having built four shrines to the Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of Fatima since 1972: the second at Immaculate Conception Church in Waubay, SD, the third at St. Mary of Mercy Church in Alexandria, SD, and the fourth at the new headquarters of the Fatima Family Apostolate in Hanceville, Alabama.
He began the Fatima Family Apostolate in 1986 and has been the director of the apostolate since then, as well as the editor of its newsletter. In 1987, he began the first National Marian Congress in Alexandria, South Dakota. In June of each year the conference would attract an average attendance of 8,000. The last Marian Congress in Alexandria was held the weekend of June 13, 2003. Fr. Fox celebrated his Golden Anniversary of Priesthood (50 years) in 2005.
After his retirement, Fr. Fox moved to Hanceville, Alabama, where he celebrated daily Mass at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which is part of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. He took with him the Fatima Family Apostolate he founded in Alexandria, SD, firmly reestablishing it in Hanceville, Alabama, only 8 miles from the now famous Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Father Fox died in the early afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FR. FOX (funeral arrangements, etc.) AND THE FATIMA FAMILY APOSTOLATE, go to: www.fatimafamily.org.
Books published/authored by the Rev. Robert J. Fox:
- Religious Education: Its Effects, Its Challenges Today, Daughters of St. Paul, 1972.
- The Catholic Prayerbook, Our Sunday Visitor, 1974.
- Renewal for All God’s People, Our Sunday Visitor, 1975.
- Charity, Morality, Sex and Young People, Our Sunday Visitor, 1975.
- The Marian Catechism, Our Sunday Visitor, 1976.
- Saints and Heroes Speak, Our Sunday Visitor, 1977.
- A Prayer Book for Young Catholics, Our Sunday Visitor, 1977.
- Principles of spiritual growth]: Phase 2 : module on guilt (Genesis 2 bridges the gap between the old and the new), Intermedia Foundation – 1978
- Teenagers and Purity; Teenagers and Going Steady; Teenagers Looking toward Marriage, St. Paul Editions, 1978.
- Ten sermons on the Mother of God,: In light of Vatican II and Our Lady of Fatima, with addendum: Four articles on Communism and the Church, AMI Press – 1978
- Catholic Truth for Youth, Ave Maria Press, 1978.
- A World at Prayer, Our Sunday Visitor, 1979.
- A Catechism of the Catholic Church: Two Thousand Years of Faith and Tradition, Franciscan Herald, 1980.
- A Catholic Prayer Book, Our Sunday Visitor, 1980
- Rediscovering Fatima, Our Sunday Visitor, 1982.
- Prayerbook for Catholics, Christendom Press 1982
- The Call of Heaven: Life of Stigmatist of San Vittorino, Father Gino, Christendom Publications, 1982.
- The Mary Book, Mother of Evangelism, Fatima Family Apostolate
- The call of heaven: Bro. Gino, stigmatist, Christendom Publications, 1982.
- A Prayer Book for Young Catholics, Our Sunday Visitor, 2nd ed., 1982.
- Jacinta of Fatima: Her Life As She Might Tell It, Ami Intl Pr, 1982
- St. Therese of Lisieux: Her Life As She Might Tell It, Ami Intl Pr, 1982
- St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort: His Life As He Might Tell It, A M I Press, 1983
- Fatima Today, Christendom Publications, 1983.
- The Catholic Faith, Our Sunday Visitor, 1983.
- Opus Sanctorum Angelorum:, AMI Press – 1983
- The Work of the Holy Angels, AMI International, 1984.
- Family Bonding Through Discipline, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1987.
- Families, Seedbeds for Vocations, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1987.
- Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1987.
- Immaculate Heart of Mary: True Devotion, Our Sunday Visitor, 1986.
- Guidance for Future Priests, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1988.
- A Handbook on Guadalupe, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1988.
- Until Death Do Us Part, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1988.
- National Children’s Day to Honor Our Lady: Second Sunday of October : a handbook for parents, teachers and pastors, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1988.
- St. Joseph Promise, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1989.
- True Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1989.
- Marian Manual, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1989.
- First Saturdays, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1989.
- To Russia with Love, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1989.
- The Gift of Sexuality: A Guide for Young People, Our Sunday Visitor, 1989.
- Fox-Sight: Telling the vision of Robert J. Fox, Our Sunday Visitor, 1989.
- Mary’s White League for Children, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1990.
- Illustrated Rosary Meditations for Children, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1990.
- Protestant Fundamentalism and Born Again Catholic, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1990.
- Fatima Today – The Third Millennium, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1990,2002.
- Mary Book: Mother of Evangelism, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1991.
- Only Heroic Catholic Families Will Survive, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1991.
- Catechism of Church History, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1991.
- The World and Work of the Holy Angels, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1991.
- Covenant With Jesus, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1992.
- Kolbe St. of the Immaculata, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1993.
- A Man Called Francis, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1996.
- Mary Through the Ages, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1996.
- A Young Catholic’s Apology for the Faith, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1995.
- Jesus – Light of the World, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1997.
- Catechism on Mary and the Pope Who Changed the World, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1998.
- Manual of Prayers, Our Sunday Visitor 1998
- Fundamentals of Faith, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1999.
- Mary in Mid-America Shrine Book, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1999.
- Documents on Fatima & Memoirs of Sister Lucia, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2000.
- The Intimate Life of Sister Lucia, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2001.
- Light from the East – Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2002.
- Reclaiming Your Children for the Faith , Fatima Family Apostolate, 2003.
- Catechism in Poetry , Fatima Family Apostolate, 2003.
- Messages from the Heart of Your Mother, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2004.
- A Priest is a Priest Forever – Autobiography, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2005.
- Ray Likes to Pray, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2006.
- Fatima is Forever, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2006.
- Masculinity: The Gentle Man , Fatima Family Apostolate, 2007.
- Eucharist: Heaven and Earth Unite , Fatima Family Apostolate, 2008.
- Mary Teaches the Faith at Fatima, Fatima Family Apostolate, 2009.