As the world situation becomes increasingly threatening, the idea of holding a Rosary in a public place has become more popular. As human efforts fail to solve our growing economic, social, moral and spiritual troubles, more people are turning the supernatural solutions: The Fatima message of prayer and penance, and the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Public Square Rosary Crusade has grown ever since 2007, when there were 2,107 rallies. In 2008, 3,500. In 2009, 4,337. In 2010, 5,963.
In 2011, there were 7,515 Public Square Rosary Rallies held across the United States as well as in 22 other countries across the globe.
Rallies with a sense of urgency
This year, the rallies had a great sense of urgency, as people increasingly feel pressured by the economic crisis, by the swift advance of many moral evils such as the legalization of homosexual “marriage,” and by new socialist and anti-life legislation. Every aspect of our lives seems threatened and unstable. A cloud of deep uncertainty hangs over our nation.
This uncertainty highlighted the urgent need to ask Our Lady for the conversion of America, for the end of sins that offend public morality, and for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised at Fatima.
Also, the crusade was a public witness of the Fatima message, which is so contrary to the secular view that religion is a purely personal matter for the weak and old-fashioned that must be kept behind church doors.
Our Lady’s People
In the book, Meet the Witnesses, the Catholic writer John Haffert affirms that an estimated 70,000 people came to Fatima on October 13, 1917 to witness the miracle of the sun, and on October 15, 2011, an estimated 170,000 to 200,000 prayer warriors went out to the Public Square Rosary Rallies in America and 22 countries across the world.
With over 7,515 Rally Captains committed to organizing these events, the mere scope of these rallies was mind-boggling.
With the help of the campaign’s central office near Topeka, Kan., Rally Captains received all that was necessary to organize their own events. From July 5 to Sept 30, 115 volunteers from all over the country, plus five Canadians, gave an average of two weeks of their time to help out. They made and received 163,800 calls and left messages left on 98,280 answering machines and made 728 pots of coffee.
Most importantly, they attended daily Mass and prayed countless rosaries and did many hours of adoration before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Posters and programs were downloaded from the Internet from the Rosary Crusade campaign central.
News of the rallies spread quickly and to such an extent that there were rallies in nearly every major city. And some cities had dozens of rallies. For example, just in the Bronx (NY) alone there were over 50 rallies.
Rally locations were published on America Needs Fatima’s web site so that participants could find the one nearest to them. An impressive network was formed in which local organizers would meet nearby Catholics where they thought none existed. Organizers were also pleasantly surprised to find visitors from other states join their ranks on the streets.
Worldwide clash of ideals
On October 15th, millions of people turned on their televisions to witness thousands of protesters in some 950 cities in 82 countries around the world occupying symbolic places.
What the liberal mass media did not mention was the Public Square Rosary Crusade that opposed the corrosive effects of immorality, abortion, same-sex “marriage,” secularism, sin, intemperance and greed.
In over 7,515 locations throughout the U.S. and in 22 foreign countries, thousands of people honored statues of Our Lady of Fatima, held rosaries, prayed and sang in contrast to the images of protest on Wall Street and elsewhere.
Tragically, at the same time that many statues of Our Lady were being publicly venerated at the 7,515 rosary rallies worldwide, in Rome, a group of anarchists (the Italian version of the Wall Street Occupiers) broke into the church of Santi Marcellino and Pietro, grabbed a statue of Our Lady, took it onto the street, smashed it, kicked it, stomped on it all while shouting and laughing.
This sacrilege highlights the worldwide clash of ideals on October 15.
Historic and Noticeable Places
The public squares chosen by Rally Captains were often some of the most symbolic places across the country. One Public Square Rosary Rally took place on Fifth Avenue in front of Rockefeller Center in New York City, where Catholics bore public witness to the Fatima message and even knelt on the crowded sidewalks of one of the world’s most famous avenues.
However, that rally alone did not represent the huge city. There were an estimated 275 Public Square Rosary Rallies scheduled within a fifty-mile radius of the Fifth Avenue event.
Another symbolic place was Key West, the Southern most point of continental U.S.A., where a Public Square Rosary Rally was carried out under rainy conditions, only 90 miles from Communist Cuba.
Public Square Rosaries were prayed at the state capitol buildings and court houses all across the nation. Often, Our Lady’s prayer warriors faced opposing messages, such as offshoot rallies from the Occupy Wall Street movement. While the rosary rallies offered a supernatural solution to our nation’s troubles, the “occupiers” offered a thinly veiled call for class struggle. (1)
Rallies, rallies everywhere
Reports from Rally Captains from all over the world are flooding the America Needs Fatima website, email inbox, and facebook page. It is evident from these reports that the grace bestowed on souls during the rallies, as well as the enthusiasm and sense of urgency from the 2011 rally captains has reached a new high.
Here are a sampling of reports and e-mails:
“I just completed my first Rosary Rally and it was a success. The wind was blowing up to 25mph throughout the day with a chill in the air. When we prayed the St. Michael prayer the wind became extremely fierce and continued in that manner until the prayer was completed. Satan was not pleased with the Rosary Rally, but the Blessed Mother took care of us.”
“ALOHA! More than 100 people participated in the Public Rosary Rally held earlier today on the lawn of the Historic Kauai County Building in Lihue, Kauai here in Hawaii. Each of the five parishes on our island community were represented. Holy Mary, pray for us!!!”
“This is the rally at Oklahoma State University, with the Knights of Columbus from Stillwater OK and with our parish priest Fr. Stuart Crevcoure. We were small in numbers but mighty in the Spirit! We know Our Lady was smiling.”
“I had some difficulty at the 2011 rosary rally, but felt like our Blessed Mother was there to console and help us triumph all the way to the end of the rosary! I would do this all over again. It is something I always wanted to do for Our Lady and Our Lord. There were people by us making a lot of noise. It was so hard to pray! But somehow we got louder and louder as if other invisible voices helped us triumph over all the noise! All I can say is that my relatives and family and friends finished the rosary with a Big Smile. Thank you dearly for giving me the opportunity to do this Rosary Rally.”
“There were 150+ people at our Rosary Rally in Sonchke Square, Woodside, NY. It was beautiful! PRAISE GOD AND BLESSED BE GOD FOREVER!!!”
“In Magna, Utah, we had almost 100 people show up and pray the Rosary! (That's 94 more than last year!)”
“This was our first Rosary Rally in Westfield, MA. One woman and child were inspired to come and join us. They had not said the Rosary before. Praise God! We had 52 people. What a wonderful experience! Looking forward to next year's Rosary Rally. God's blessings on all who attended and held a Rally!”
“This was our 2nd Annual Union Co, KY Public Square Rosary Rally, in Morganfield, Ky. Our attendance was 175+! A helium balloon rosary was made and released by our confirmation class at St Ann parish in Morganfield.”
“This is our 4th year here in Woodside, Queens New York. Our pastor is very supportive and gave a talk about the importance of the rosary. We gave away rosaries and rosary guides to everyone. It was very windy. One lady knelt behind the statue to prevent it from falling. It was very beautiful. I thank all my friends who helped. We ended the prayers with the song GOD BLESS AMERICA.”
“Our Rosary Rally today took place in East Brunswick, NJ with about 65 people present. It was nice to also see children there praying the rosary. How beautiful! Please keep the prayers going, for our world is in dire need. Let's try our best to heed Our Lady's requests at Fatima, to pray the rosary everyday!”
“Our Rosary Rally was in Tomball, Texas. It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful turnout from St. Anne and Christ The Good Shepherd parishes! Thank you to our Holy Mother for a beautiful day, wonderful weather and great fellowship!”
“I participated in my first Rally and it was very powerful! Even though there were only eight of us and an unrelenting wind (which we likened to the Holy Spirit), we surely got people's attention. We were in a very busy shopping center in Northern Baltimore City in an area which really needs the rosary and so many people slowed down or stopped to read the banner. I didn't realize until yesterday as an actual participant, just how important and effective these rallies really are even if you don't see the immediate result.”
“We had a ‘Miracle on 8th Street.’ When I arrived at the site, which is in front of an Irish pub, the music was so loud. I prayed to the Lord and the Blessed Mother, ‘must I go there and approach the manager and ask him to turn off their music for a couple of hours?’ I did not have to. At 10 minutes to noon, the music stopped. Our group wants to do the rally every First Saturday of the month apart from the Rally in October. Thank you for giving me the opportunity. I am truly blessed!”
Perhaps the graces and the atmosphere at many rosary rallies can best be summarized by one lady’s observation, just as they ended the rally on a very busy highway in Roscoe, IL: “This is like Heaven!”
At times, those who take action for God’s Cause must demand the impossible.
For example, in 1968, during the Sorbonne revolution in France, the agitators posted a slogan on campus that said, “Be realistic: Demand the impossible!”
If revolutionaries with an anti-religious agenda have that much audacity, how much more should the children of Mary have the right to expect the impossible. What appears impossible to the mediocre mind is possible to those whose hearts are on fire.
It takes subtlety to understand this slogan: “Be realistic: demand the impossible!”
At a first glance, to demand the impossible seems a contradiction. But if we dig deeper, we realize that there are a thousand things that are impossible to those with mediocre expectations, but are possible to those who dare.
History abounds with such examples. In Barcelona, Spain, there are replicas of the three ships in which Christopher Columbus sailed for the Americas. They are mere nutshells seemingly incapable of crossing a lake, much less and ocean. Yet an ocean they crossed, and when the faint-hearted on board were about to mutiny, there was the cry of “Land, Ho!” The “impossible” had become a reality because of the daring of a few.
This principle is even more rich and beautiful from the supernatural perspective. Those who look beyond purely natural expectations to supernatural solutions can at times expect the impossible. We know that when Divine Providence wills something, it realizes it against all hopes and natural appearances.
Additionally, we know that Our Lady’s prayer is omnipotent with her Son, and that she obtains from Him everything she asks. Thus, trusting in Our Lady, we must at times demand the impossible from ourselves and from others.
But how do we know Our Lady will grant what we ask?
Confidence: The Voice of God
The Book of Confidence of Fr. Saint Laurent begins with these magnificent words: “O voice of Christ, interior voice of grace that murmurs in the depth of our hearts words of sweetness and peace.” Truly, at times the wordless voice of grace speaks to our hearts by means of a presentiment, an interior movement or a consolation.
We may not be able to put our finger on it, but we know we’ve been touched.
At such moments, thus backed by Our Lady, we are encouraged to take the leap and to trust that we will obtain the impossible thing we are asking. At those moments we must believe the unbelievable, approach the unapproachable and surmount the insurmountable.
Still, how do we know that what we ask is God’s will?
How can we be sure that we are not being motivated by some fantasy or exaggeration of our own making? The answer is simple. If the given thing, presentment or movement of soul leads us to be more united to Holy Mother Church, and does not inflate our vanity, then this presentment is from God. What we ask may not come about in the way we expect but, ultimately, it will come true.
Thus we can expect mountains to move, and doors to open where there are none. Thus with our eyes on Our Lady we can be realistic in demanding the impossible.
Accomplish the impossible in 2013
In 2011, the seemingly impossible was accomplished in the 7515 rosary rallies carried out across America and the world.
In 2013, we can put on even more rallies and touch even more souls. The unstable situation in America and the world demand it. And we can do it, if we keep on our eyes riveted on Our Lady.
We ask Our Lady to take our small actions and present them before the throne of Her Divine Son in Heaven. May She use our humble efforts as leverage with Her Son, to end the predominance of sin in our world, and to usher in the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was promised at Fatima in 1917, when Our Lady said:
“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”
On that day, the impossible will become reality! May it happen soon, and may we be found worthy to be a part of it.
(1) There are many different types of “occupiers.” Not all “occupiers” are hard core leftists. However, the prevailing tone of the “occupy” movement is leftist, its standard bearers are anarchists, and its goals contradict Catholic social teaching on many levels.) [back to text]