Saint Ambrose Cures Blind Father of Famous Catholic Singer
ROBERTO LEAL BRINGS MILLIONS BACK TO FAITH
In the Diocese of Branganca a Shrine was erected following a Church approved miracle, worked by Saint Ambrose during a dream, resulting in the cure of Armando Fernandes who had become incurably blind. His son, António Joaquim Fernandes, was just a little boy at the time. They had moved to Brazil from Branganca in Portugal to make a better life, but as the father became blind the family was in great poverty. Back in the parish of Branganca, Portugal, the pastor had often preached about Saint Ambrose, the great Doctor of the Church and the teacher of Saint Augustine. Saint Ambrose wrote on the qualifications to become a priest, which was used in the seminaries for the next 1000 years. He wrote that a priest is higher in honor and dignity to even the Emperor of the World, and he once kept the Emperor from coming into Church because of his sins. He also refused to allow the Emperor from sitting in the altar chairs with the priest as was the custom, saying, "On this holy ground beyond that Altar Rail, only priests and servers are allowed." The Emperor had to sit with the common people and did.
Fernandes' son, António used to sing songs about his father's cure when just a little boy of six to ten years of age. He sang in the Churches and began to write songs. In time his fame as a singer spread throughout Brazil and he began to make money for the family through singing. He would sing about nothing but God, His Mother and Saint Ambrose and the people loved him. As he gathered a professional band and manager he changed his name to a simple Roberto Leal. For the next 50 years he preached God through music and toured both Brazil and Portugal, coming back to his home town shrine every year for the feast of Saint Ambrose. He donates almost all his profits to the poor and to religious causes.
AGAINST MY WILL
I got involved in Roberto Leal against my will. An Ambassador came to Portugal to prepare for Roberto's trip and to connect it to the celebration of Brazil's discovery and immigration day. I spent enough time with this man to realize he was a crook and was trying to take my friend for a lot of money. Convincing him to back off, I confronted this man at a meeting of the Ourem Foundation. We were able to same the town a lot of money, and have him kicked out of Portugal, and later fired. In the mean time, my friend wanted no more to do with Roberto Leal and I said I would take care of that. It turned out though that this man left a large bill at a hotel, and Carlos had promised to pay for it. To save Carlos, I paid the bill out of my pocket, almost $900.00. He had also promised to pay for the flight tickets of Roberto Leal, but I said this was out of the question. My friend wanted nothing to do with these people and I had a bad taste in my mouth about this singer. The Foundation, the Duke and Carlos were in trouble though as Roberto Leal was waiting for the tickets promised to him. I paid the bill out of my pocket and said that that was all I would do and now wanted no more to do with these people. I was a little angry at myself for giving in to this and did not say any more about it. I told Carlos that I would not even show up. But Carlos arranged that they meet at my home, and told Roberto that I was the one who made it all possible.
When Roberto Leal came he was not what I expected. He came first to our home where he and Dom Duarte were to go in horse and carriage from Fatima to Ourém Castle. There in our chapel he prayed by himself for over an hour.
He then came over with Carlos and hugged me with prayerful tears still in his eyes. I do not know what Carlos told him but after that he kept taking me from the back (where I like to be) up to the front by his side. At Ourém Castle he was honored at Ourém Castle (near Fátima) as "King of Luso" (Brazilian music).
BRAZIL AND IMMIGRATION
The official inauguration of the Our Lady of Conception, Queen of the Americaís Cultural Center was televised, and he continued to call me to be at his side as he talked on TV. I still did not know if I even liked him. We all had a guided tour of Ourém by Ourém Mayor Dr. David Catarino.
At the Ourém cinema Roberto Leal received the Grand Cross of the Order of Pedro Álvares Cabral awarded by the House of Brazil in Santarém and presented by Municipal President Prof. Mário Albuquerque. Again I was called to be on the stage with Leal but did not know why.
The Concert was in the parking lot of City Hall in Ourém. I dined with Roberto Leal and his band in a special room and during the concert I was given a special chair next to the stage and the Vice-Mayor kept bringing me wine. The celebration, organized by City Hallís culture office "VerOurém", was the last of the events marking the close of the 500th anniversary of Brazilís discovery and the 30th anniversary of Roberto Lealís own singing career as King of Brazilian Music.
Over 10,000 people were present at a free concert with free sardines, steaks and wine at an open picnic. This was the first time I could see who this man really was. I watched him and the people's reaction to him. He preached Christ and His Mother and he did it in song and real tears. He sang nothing but God, and he preached nothing but God. Even the lukewarm were moved to tears of happiness at his love of his faith. At this point he looked over at me, and I put my thumb up, and he new that finally I approved. Roberto Leal represented the Catholic faith, Catholic Family values, Patriotism and Catholic brotherly Love.
The night ended with Roberto Leal inviting me and my friend on stage to sing the last song. I do not sing, but after he asked me to say a few words and handed me a mike. I do not yet speak Portuguese so I said in the mike, "In English?" But the crowds answered "Yes!" by the thousands and I realized that a great many of them spoke good English. I had not idea what to say as until then I did not even want to come to this concert but now I knew why Our Lady had led me to this event, and forced me against my will to help pay for it. I guess She knew what She wanted me to say because later many came to me asking to help me in my cause, a cause She gave me on the stage.
"I am from America, but I am not American. I am Catholic. I am here in Portugal now, but I will never be Portuguese. I will be Catholic. Catholic means Universal. We (you and I) are all brothers because we share the Body and Blood of Christ. We are all one family. A thousand years ago the whole world was Catholic and it will be again. I came to Portugal because I believe we will have a Catholic World again and it will start here with the Portuguese people, who have not and will not loose the faith. I found a man, Roberto Leal, who believes this and works towards it. I will help him to bring this about, will you?"
ROBERTO LEAL & RICK SALBATO BEFORE 50,000
THE FINAL CONCERT
Five hours from Fatima is the Shrine of Saint Ambrose in Macedo de Cavaleiros, Bragança a short distance from Lealís home town of Vale da Porca. Don Duarte, Duke of Bragnaca (King of Portugal), my friend and I booked a room at the Hotel in the town, but Carlos and his wife were going to return that same day. However, we all came up together and as is always the case with Carlos, we were late. It was Sunday and the Mass was held on the large stage of the grounds with over 50,000 people at attendance, but I knew we would not make the Mass. All the way on the five hour trip I kept asking where we would attend Holy Mass. Carlos kept saying not to worry, but I knew this was not so important to him as the concert. By now I loved Roberto Leal and Don Duarte, but not as much as the Holy Mass. My friend knew not to say anything to me when it came to my faith. As we passed Roberto's town I asked that I be let off, and I would not attend the concert because it was almost 12:00 and I knew there would be no more Holy Masses that day. He would not stop but said not to worry. At the grounds of the Shrine of Saint Ambrose were over 50,000 people and we were now over a mile from town. I asked about Holy Mass, but it was over. I told Carlos that I was going to walk to town and find a Mass, and to tell Roberto Leal that I would miss this concert. I started to walk. Carols found me and said to see Roberto. Roberto talked to the priest but he has already said three Masses that day and had to call his bishop. A few minutes later he came back saying that the bishop gave him special permission to say a private Mass that evening for just our group.
Roberto Leal hid is a room behind the stage from the 50,000 people who all wanted a peace of him, his autograph, or just to touch him. I was invited in this room for food and wine and to pray with him. But I wanted to see what the reaction to the people was. I watched as they marched a statue of Saint Ambrose around the grounds praying the Rosary and singing songs to Our Lord and Lady. Booths were set up everywhere selling food and religious items. This was out in the middle of nowhere but the buildings were new and clean and the grounds were manicured like a rich cemetery. I thought about the faith of these people and about Saint Ambrose, who set governments straight as to who ruled who. When the concert started the people when wild like any rock star, but all with love and dignity. They loved God and Roberto Leal, their most famous son. 50,000 people with complete order, not one problem, and nothing you could say was not holy. Don Duarte gave a talk and Roberto invited Don Duarte, me and my friend to sing the last song with him, "Jesus Christ Ė I am here to do your will" and I pretended to do so.
After the concert Roberto Leal, Dom Duarte, Carlos, Margarita, my friend and I attended a private Holy Mass at the local Church where Leal was born and raised, Vale da Porca Village. The priest was so impressed with our love of the Holy Mass, he gave a long sermon on the Mass, and news of this went all over the town for months after.
That evening we dined at the home of the Fernandes family (relatives of Roberto Leal) and they put on the best dinner I ever had in my entire life.
THE MIRACLE OF JACINTA
The King wanted to stop and see Arminda, a mystic who was cured by the intercession of Jacinta. To do so we had to drive back the long way and saw the most beautiful country. We stopped at all the castles along the way visiting great restaurants and sites. Everyone knew the Duke by site and we were welcomed like old friends wherever we went. Where we arrived at the mystics home, I was for the first time told of her life. As a child she was crippled and could not walk. She and her mother made a novina to Jacinta of Fatima, and she was instantly cured. It was her cure that was given to beatify Jacinta and Francisco Blessed by Pope Pius XII. At the beatification Arminda asked Pope Pius XII what she should do now. "Offer yourself as a sacrifice for sinners." Said the Pope. She did, and soon became bedridden again. This time, however, people from all over the world came to her to ask for her prayers and sacrifice, and she became known as someone who's prayers were always answered. We spent an hour with her, and she was wonderful. She was taken care of by relatives but received money from the government and the Duke.
Months later I found out that the relatives were not taking good care of her, and the Duke went and took her to a hospital. He wanted us to take her into our home in Fatima, and he would find a full time nurse for her to live with us. I loved the idea, as our home would become holy and thousands of people would come to see her every week. I could live with one of the saints of the 20th Century. For some reason this never happened and I am still trying to find out why. She was forced to go back to the home where she was not being treated well, and she died.
MY FUTURE WITH ROBERTO LEAL
As I said in my talk, I am going to work with this great man towards the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He and I met many times after this concert and once dined with the Duke. He is doing four TV programs on the restoration of Catholic Governments and Catholic Unity. I am going to help all I can. Soon he will be living in Portugal and I will be able to work with him full time. We will light a candle and others will light candles and together we will light the world.