Bud Sr. is perhaps the most recognized speaker on the subject of Marian Apparitions in the western hemisphere. He has held Catholic audiences spellbound at countless Catholic parishes, conferences, radio shows, as well as appearing on television for nearly twenty years. The seeds of this fervent drive to reach others and evangelize his Faith were planted long ago and nourished with care by various Godincidences in his and his family's life and by the Blessed Mother Mary. Bud Sr. was born in Montclair, New Jersey on June 11, 1933. A life-long Catholic, his entire schooling was Catholic education from parochial school to Our Lady Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington to his college years at Seton Hall where he obtained his degree in English/Philosophy in 1961. After serving in the Marine Corps for three years including time in Korea during that conflict, he returned home and found his niche in sales and promotions. Having met the person he would share the rest of his life with Patricia, they were wed on June 14, 1968. Today the couple have nine daughters and two sons with one son Jude Thaddeus in Heaven.
Like so many Catholics of his time, especially the men, he was weaned on the faith but didn't really know and practice it to the fullest. Patricia, like so many women, was the heart of the family and the one who never gave up praying, realizing in God's time Bud would join her at the same level of spirituality. That transformation began as the eighties dawned when, after a charismatic conference in 1979 he attended a Cursillo in 1980. He found, just like riding a bicycle, it is something you never forget and soon he was back in the rhythm of daily Mass like his days in grade school. His life began to change, as he and Patricia became involved with the Blue Army and a year later on May 13, 1982 they were at the Fatima Shrine in Lewiston, New York at the same time the Holy Father was in Fatima, Portugal - a year to the date that the Pope had been shot and he was returning to Fatima to thank the Blessed Mother for interceding for his life. It was there he purchased a book on Fatima and as Bud says, that book changed his life. A year later he became a Knight of the Immaculata and the following year a Knight of Columbus. He was now thoroughly entrenched in parish work and living his faith to its fullest. But he felt he could do more and so he and Patricia passed on a vacation to Hawaii, opting instead for a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes and Rome and never looked back. Upon their return Bud began speaking extemporaneously at various KC Council meetings in the area and various parishes. This soon spread to the high schools as he spoke on the power of the Rosary, the importance of living a Eucharistic life and how Marian apparitions were leading others to the faith. It became a great tool for vocations and Bud contacted the new shepherd of the Newark Archdiocese Archbishop Theodore McCarrick who had been installed in July of 1986. The archbishop gave Bud his blessing and he began speaking throughout the archdiocese.
It was on May 8, 1991 that signaled the beginning of a tremendous apostolate that would spread worldwide in less than a decade. He was giving a talk at St. Leo's in Elmwood which was a Franciscan parish. He had just completed a nine day novena to Saint Anthony, a beloved Franciscan and great preacher and lover of the scriptures, and had dedicated his talk to the Padre of Padua as well as Saint Maximilian Kolbe who worked so closely in evangelizing through the media, and Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the quintessential role model for speakers. Unbeknownst to him someone videotaped Bud's talk and presented it to him afterwards. Bud and Patricia were touched and copied several, sending copies to friends and especially his children who are all practicing Catholics. That was the beginning.
Since that time he has edited several books on the subject, and sent hundreds of thousands of his audio tapes "Marian Apparitions Explained" all over the world, being translated into French, Spanish, and even Mandarin Chinese so millions can experience it. This same talk he gave at St. Leo's is considered the the most popular Catholic audio tape of all time. Hard-hitting, factual, and meticulously researched, it was the first trustworthy, orthodox summary of the relationship among the many Marian apparitions during the past two centuries. Last year he issued another tape entitled "The Secret to Happy Families" wherein he emphasized the evils of artificial contraception, and how this practice is corrupting and destroying Catholic families, parishes, and the proper functioning of the priesthood. The personal theme of his talks are personal holiness and family togetherness through prayer and cooperation. He based his talks on Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968), Pope Pius XII's Mystici Corporis Christi (June 29, 1943), and various encyclicals by Pope John Paul II including Redemptoris Mater (March 25, 1987), Redemptoris missio (January 22, 1991), Veritatis Splendor (August 6, 1993) and Evangelium Vitae (March 25, 1995).
Bud stays active on weekends going wherever he's needed around the country to speak while still maintaining a career as a general manager for Innovative Plastics, a packaging corporation in New Jersey. Those are his roots. He still attends and is active at both parishes where he grew up - Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. His sense of humor has not only sustained him throughout his 66 years, but has been part and parcel of his presentations for he is an entertainer with talent that puts many in Hollywood to shame. He longs for a return of today's comedians to the clean, funny days of yesteryear and if there's any movie star or someone famous and worthy to be impersonated who you'd like to hear, just name him and chances are Bud will go into an exacting rendition of that person that will not only impress but leave you laughing. His devotion to Our Lady and his country? Anyone who knows him knows he does not carry emotion on his sleeve. It comes from his heart. He takes very seriously the words "In God we trust" and proudly points to America as being the only nation in history who has helped so many countries throughout the world. Yes, America is in trouble morally, and that is all the more reason to fight to save her and few are as committed to this cause as Bud Macfarlane Sr., whose recreation consists of playing on the New Jersey Senior Olympics softball team. For "team" is what it's all about, especially when it comes to God and family.
But that's only half of it. For Bud's oldest son Bud Jr. has picked up the ball and provided the vehicle for not only Bud Sr.'s tapes to be promulgated globally, but established other ministries that have made the organizations founded by Bud Jr. in Northern Ohio the benchmark for evangelization efforts that others should strive to emulate.
Bud Jr. was born on October 1, 1962 in Montclair, New Jersey, making today his 37th birthday. After following in his father's footsteps at Catholic grade school, attended Verona High School in New Jersey. In 1980 he matriculated to the University of Notre Dame and it was in his senior year that he struck up a friendship with a fellow Catholic, a young sophomore lass attending the South Bend campus - Christine TePas. She was very active in pro-life efforts and the two worked on various projects in 1983. As Bud recalls, "it was just a friendship, nothing romantic." They both made their Consecration to Immaculate Mary on December 8, 1983, starting a Militia Immaculata group at Notre Dame. He graduated with a bachelor's in History the following spring in 1984 and returned home to begin his career as a mechanical engineer. He attributes any success in his Catholicism and participation in the New Evangelization to growing up in a large, loving, creative and fun Catholic family, to his total consecration to Immaculate Mary while a student at Notre Dame and to adapting the principles of his hero Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
Seven years after graduating from Notre Dame, he was going through an old index card file and found a clipping from his senior year in which Christine had been asked by a reporter for the campus paper what kind of Valentines present would touch her the most? She had replied if someone sent her a dozen roses that would be so special. He chuckled and didn't think too much about it as he continued through the index file. Three weeks later he had a very vivid dream of her and he knew he had to do something. He called her mother in Ohio to make sure she wasn't married and her mother assured him she was too busy in the pro-life movement to settle down yet. He got her address at work and sent her a dozen roses anonymously - signed "A dozen roses from an old friend" with a poem that only Christine, or Bai as she's known by so many, would know who sent the bouquet. When she received the flowers at work she knew immediately and called Bud, inviting him to come up to Ohio to meet Operation Rescue's Randall Terry who was in Cleveland that weekend. Bud hopped a plane and, as he tells it, they fell in love praying the Rosary together that weekend in front of the abortion clinic. Bud and Bai were married seven years from the day they made their first consecration together - December 8, 1990 and they settled down in Bedford, Ohio just outside of Cleveland to raise a family.
Remember that tape they made of Bud Sr. at St. Leo's? Well his dad sent Bud Jr. a copy and the son was so moved that he and Bai reproduced 500 copies to give them out at a Regional Family Conference for Human Life International in Cleveland in September 1991. They gave out about 300 and had nearly 200 left over so they left word that if anyone wanted a copy to write them. Bai was so touched that she was inspired with the name the Mary Foundation and the movement was on. The response was overwhelming as they gave away 50,000 in 1992 and distributed over 200,000 in 1993. It became an amazing tool of evangelization and catapulted Bud Sr. into the national limelight, in demand at conferences, parish retreats, talks all over the country and Bud Jr. and Bai were only too happy to help. Little did Bud Jr. realize this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Young Bud had been a "jack of all trades" working such various jobs as teacher to UPS driver, from short order cook to sales, from pizza delivery driver to national marketing director, but not a master of none until God deigned him to be. When that happened, he became a master of evangelization tools for Holy Mother Church. In the fall of 1994 a fellow Knight of the Immaculata, who Bud Jr. had been in school with at South Bend, called him and was grilling Bud on the chronology of events in Church history for a novel he was working on. Bud gave him ideas and told him how the characters needed to be flesh-and-blood people, fallen-away Catholics who are struggling and how they find their Faith again. But his buddy's goals were vague and he didn't really have his heart in it. When Bud hung up Bai asked him if his friend was going to write it and Bud, off the cuff, blurted, "Naw, he's lost, he doesn't have a clue what he's doing and I doubt he'll ever do it." That's when Bai challenged her husband with, "Why not give it a shot yourself." It was early on a Sunday afternoon and so Bud started to write an outline and create some characters, "just killing time on a Sunday" is how Bud explained it. He had always been a wiz at marketing and a gifted writer. "Putting words on paper came easily," Bud asserted, "but I never had a desire to be a novelist." But God did.
One thing led to another and on December 8, 1994, the occasion of their third wedding anniversary and ten year renewal of their consecration, his wife read the manuscript and was thrilled. She encouraged him to send it to friends for their take on it and he was more than willing to be a "guinea pig writer." They loved it and the reality of it grew through the power of prayer and countless letters to nuns and priests throughout Cleveland and New Jersey all praying for its success. Within a short amount of time they had received $35,000. in unsolicited donations, enough to publish the book and St. Jude Media was born in 1994. "We established St. Jude Media because there were so few publishing houses for Catholic fiction around and we thought we could produce other titles and authors as well, " Bud relates. Little did he know at the time that St. Jude's Media would become the largest publisher of Catholic fiction in the United States. His first book, Pierced by a Sword was published in 1995 with 300,000 printed since. Two years later Conceived Without Sin was released with 115,000 printed so far and this past June readers were rewarded with the third in the series House of Gold, 85,000 in the first printing. Bud Jr. was recognized as one of the CPA Best New Authors in 1996. It is Bud's hopes that he can write one new novel a year and if that is the case, readers are in for a treat plus many, many souls will be prompted to return to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith which his novels show so clearly as the answer. These novels and the tapes of his father have become tremendous evangelizing tools whose results can only be truly tallied in Heaven.
There was still one piece of the puzzle missing and that was communicating and evangelizing over the airwaves. At first Bud and Bai toyed with the idea of starting a radio program but Catholic radio was a tough sell and it was during the time that the internet was just starting to take off. A donor had offered $100,000 to get a radio station going but Bud saw too many obstacles to make that a reality and called the donor to return the money, but the donor was sure Bud could use it for something worthwhile and refused. Bud asked the donor what did he think if he used the money for launching an interactive internet site. The donor wasn't too thrilled about the idea since the web was a virtual non-existent identity at the time, but he said "do what you want with the money." The next day that same donor called and told Bud that the night before he been enlisted to help his son with his studies and got his first taste of searching the net for information. He was sold and sent Bud $50,000. more to get done what he needed to accomplish. It was enough for Bud, a neophyte on the web scene, to hire the right people including Tom Deliduka, an expert webmaster who designed and organized the highly successful CatholiCity site providing an interactive network where Catholics could get on chat rooms and interactive e-mail discussion groups. He realized it was a full-time job monitoring the tons of messages and e-mails and, because of generous benefactors, had the wherewithal to hire the right people to make CatholiCity a success. In October 1995 Bud co-founded the Catholic Marketing Network, a trade association for Catholic suppliers, bookstores, publishers and apostolates, and this past August co-founded the Joseph Foundation, a Catholic men's network apostolate.
Neither Bud Sr. or Bud Jr. take credit for their success. They are merely the instruments God has chosen as Bud Jr. asserts, "Most of our success in calling fallen-away Catholics back to the sacraments can be attributed to three things. First, the graces merited by the tens of thousands lay men and women who are part of the Mary Foundation and CatholiCity.com, and second, to the day-to-day, in-the-trenches work of those same lay people who distribute our books, audio tapes and communicate on our internet site. Finally, our materials are never luke warm. They all overflow with unabashed enthusiasm and love for Our Lady, the Catholic Church, and a thirst for souls."
Probably the most astonishing fact to all of this is that even today, through the generosity of anonymous benefactors, they are able to give out their tapes and books free of charge to everyone. That's unheard of in this day and age when there is supposedly no such thing as a "free lunch." But the Holy Spirit has been guiding them and with God on their side, who's to say something can't be done! The latest mountain to overcome is the fact Bud Jr. has just been served notice to vacate their Fairview Park, Ohio offices all because the new landlords are putting greed before anything else, even though those landlords are Catholic. Can you believe it? Keep them in your prayers in being able to overcome this obstacle. But we have a feeling God will not let them down for the Macfarlane family has proved time and again, without a shadow of a doubt, that faith can move mountains!
That's quite a week! And quite a month ahead - all kicked off with a festive celebration in St. Peter's Square this weekend. Sunday there will be a beatification ceremony and before that on Friday night there'll be fireworks as the Holy Father blesses and officially unveils the new look St. Peter's. We are now three months from the Jubilee Year 2000, in the double digits in the countdown. Big things are in store at the Vatican for the coming year as we all know and probably the biggest surprise for anyone who has seen St. Peter's magnificent basilica is the brown, graying, sometimes black facade of the centuries-old edifice and center of Catholicism. Well, get that picture out of your mind because what you'll see is a brand new look. You might call it the "White House on Vatican Hill" from recent pictures that illustrates a bright, light almost white exterior after the scaffolding was peeled away in time for today's celebration by the Pope who will bless the new look. Gone are the dark colors caused by smog, pollution from car, bus and truck exhaust, soot in the air and hundreds and hundreds of years of the faithful holding candles where wax buildup and smoke-crusted pillars turned the original look to a dull, dark, dirty look. It was about time St. Peter's got a face-lift and it is now finished just in time for the new millennium.
Some who have seen the "new look" decry the stark contrast and accuse restoration artists of making it too much like a Disney cell while forgetting history. Few realize the original design by Baroque master Donato Bramante in 1607 was bright with hues of pink and yellow. With the two-year restoration completed this week, it has now been restored to near its original look when it was completed during the reign of Pope Paul V in 1612. It has to shock many that the balcony frame where the Holy Father often addresses the massive crowds in St. Peter is actually highlighted with a different color. It is now very distinctive, showing light shades of green and red. Who knew? Also completed this month was the great square and the sweeping Bernini columns named for the architect Gianlorenzo Bernini who completed this immense project in 1666 during the pontificates of Pope Alexander VII and Pope Clement IX. These also were light and bright to match Bramante's color scheme and today we can see the blend and similarities. Many forget that marble came in colors, mostly pastels and whites, but definitely colorful.
The Vatican is not alone in its transition back to a more Renaissance look color-wise. All of Rome, in preparation for the millennium celebrations when millions are expected to descend on the eternal city, is undergoing a series of restorations from the Trevi Fountain to the Collisseum colors are finding their way in, replacing the dull terra cotta, ocher and other earth tones that were produced more from years of pollution than the original color they were. Now artists, who have meticulously studied the Baroque and Renaissance period, realize color was part and parcel of the architecture and art of those times. This became more than evident a few years ago when they completed restoration and cleaning of Michelangelo's brilliant frescoes in the Sistine Chapel - most notably the ceiling. Many accused the restorers of enhancing the colors and, in effect, making a travesty of the master's work. But they failed to realize that is how Michelangelo intended it to be - bright and colorful pastels that merely faded over the years.
The costs for this project were enormous and this editor is proud to say the Knights of Columbus played an important part in all of this. But then this great fraternity is an expert at this. Working with the Architectural Prefect of the Fabric of Saint Peter as early as 1984, they undertook the reality of a complete restoration of the facade of St. Peter's. Working in installments, most of this work has now been completed and the Knights have contributed greatly in financing this massive decade-long project. The Knights got involved because the structures of the Holy See on Vatican Hill represent and symbolize the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We can all be proud of our faith and proud also of the main church of our faith - St. Peter's in Rome. Some are appalled at the post-modern look, but it's really post-Renaissance and a shining example of true Baroque architecture - what the building was meant to convey in its lines and design by Bramante. Even St. Peter himself would be proud of the results.
Now the St. Peter's Square and Basilica have been transformed back to their original lustre and, like Cinderella, are dressed to the nines for the big celebration tonight when for the first time since anyone can remember a fireworks display will accompany the Pope's blessing as thousands will flock into the square and do a double take at the new look. If you're planning on a pilgrimage to Rome this year or next. We want to prepare you for the shock, a pleasant shock, but nevertheless a shock to the system so used to the old, gray/earthy look. You won't believe your eyes. Regardless of what some critics say, it's truly stunning and beautiful and a fitting tribute to a Church nearing its 2000th birthday. After all she isn't getting older, only better! One can see so much more detail and appreciate the intricate art and lettering on the facade of the magnificent, sacred edifice. Saint Peter and Saint Paul, both standing sentinel on either side facing out into St. Peter's Square, never looked better. As one tourist remarked the other day when he saw the new look, "For a Church about to turn 2000, she looks great!"