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by Ben Broussard


October 12, 2019 was no ordinary Saturday. Across the country as Americans went about their business, people saw the unexpected. The radiant face of Our Lady of Fatima could be seen in thousands of public places.

Was this an apparition? No, but it was a great manifestation. Mary’s faithful children came out to honor their heavenly mother. They came to pray. They came to sing. They came to manifest their faith in God’s power.

There were Catholics praying in public in every state. Catholic Americans stepped out and prayed in big cities: Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York. They could be seen in the remote Pacific Islands: Guam, Saipan, American Samoa. They prayed in English, in Spanish, and other languages. On the side of highways in rural areas, at busy intersections with honks in support—in so many places, public life was met with public prayers.

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Coxsackie NY Rally

Puerto Rico Rally

Baytown TX Rally

Carson CA Rally

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Centralia IL Rally

Downingtown PA Rally

Escondido CA Rally

Harvey LA Rally

 

The Rosary: The Solution for Our Times

The year 2019 has seen no shortage of difficulties. Scandals continue to rock the Church. Public immorality is on the rise. Violence and terrorism threaten many communities. One thing is certain about America’s situation: public prayer is more needed than ever.

In spite of many obstacles, Rosary Rally Captains were more willing than ever to sacrifice. These devoted prayer warriors did all the work: finding a good location, printing flyers, getting the word out. Some experienced Rally Captains have been leading Rosary Rallies for years. Other first time captains rose to the occasion.

They had to deal with the elements. Heat waves, rain and wind, under calm or threatening skies—Catholics prayed in every type of weather.

As the prayers were offered up, the banner of the Queen marked each rally. On the 102nd anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, Our Lady of Fatima’s face could be seen in public places across the United States. The Rosary Rally Banner with the message asking for a heavenly solution is now part of America’s landscape. Even if one doesn’t stop long enough to read the text, the gaze of the Queen of Heaven speaks volumes.

She gazes as Americans go about their business. She sees so many pass, absorbed in their own cares. She sees others pause and read the banners. Some pull out their phones and snap photos. A few stop and join the prayers. Still others shout insults in opposition.

And she looks out as her faithful children rally to her banner. They pray as she requested at Fatima. Coming at a time when worldly political promises are making headlines, humble prayer warriors were focusing on heavenly promises.

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Hilton Head Island SC Rally

Catholic Student Rally

Kernersville NC Rally

 

Gaining the Merits of So Many Prayers

One thing’s for sure: Catholics who weren’t at a Rosary Rally really missed out.

In The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort writes: “Someone who prays his rosary alone only gains the merit of one rosary, but if he says it together with thirty other people he gains the merit of thirty rosaries.”

For the 2019 Rosary Rallies, Catholics were gathered in groups large and small. In some places, they were just two or three. In others, crowds of over 400 participated. The prayers began at the same time and were offered in unity for the conversion of our country. The Queen of Heaven received these supplications, and bestowed the merits of thousands and thousands of rosaries on her faithful children.

And that is not all. So many Americans today are unsatisfied and unhappy with modern life. Fast-paced lifestyles and superficial relationships are leaving a large void.

Contrasting with this, more and more American Catholics are finding true joy by taking a public stand for God. Saint Augustine put it well: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

It is one thing to privately profess one’s faith. It is quite another to take it to the streets. Taking the time to unite in the public prayer of the rosary: this simple act pleasing to the Blessed Mother will ensure our spiritual progress.

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Livingstone NJ Rally

Los Banos CA Rally

Munster IN Rally

 Macomb County MI Rally

 

The Rosary—America’s Best Kept Secret?

To those who pray the rosary, the Blessed Mother promised: “You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”

Through the rosary, the Blessed Mother has given Catholics great victories. Will she do the same today in America? That all depends on the confidence of her faithful children.

Do we want solutions for our country’s problems? Do we want to stem the tide of immorality? Do we want to protect the innocence of children? In short, do we want the conversion of America?

If the answer is “yes,” we must be willing to take a stand. Like so many others are now doing, we must step out in public, not caring what others think. We must stand for God when so many are turning their backs on Him. We must pray as Our Lady asked us to—with the greatest confidence she will grant everything we ask.

No, the victory will not be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

The mission of America Needs Fatima is clear: to win the United States for Mary Most Holy. God certainly wills the conversion of America. He is constantly sending the needed graces for this to happen. But since hearts are openly hostile to these graces, we must call upon the Queen of All Hearts to intervene.

To those who have been Rosary Rally Captains for many years, the power of the rosary is no secret to them. But so many Americans still do not call Mary their mother. And among those who do, the rosary’s power is still a mystery to them.

The annual Public Square Rosary Rallies are an excellent opportunity for so many Catholics to recommit to spreading the rosary. More and more captains are organizing monthly public rosaries in their communities. With confidence in Our Lady, she will complete the work already begun.

Entrusting the Public Square Rosary Crusade to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, let us claim this land for her by raising her banners in more places. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

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 New Martinsville WV Rally

Niles IL Rally

Waltham MA Rally

Williston Park New York Rally

Rosary Rally

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Banners and Roses in Fatima:  October 2019

Fatima Candlelight Procession 2019

The courtyard before the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is filled with light on the eve of the 102 Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.

Candlelight Banner Procession - with Banner insert

America Needs Fatima Banner bearing the names of nearly 11,000 devotees of Fatima is carried in the candlelight vigil.

Banner and Roses

Fresh red and white roses are presented to Our Lady. Each red rose comes from a Rosary Rally Captain and each white rose represents a Rally Supporter. Over 20,000 roses in all!

Roses in Fatima

Magnificent rose bouquets for Our Queen.                Trucks were needed to deliver all the roses!

 

Candles and Intentions

Twelve massive red candles created from many thousands of smaller ones sent from friends across America. Antonio Fragelli holds an envelope containing prayer requests that he placed at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima.

  

 

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 22, 2019

There is no one, O Most Holy Mary, who can know God except t...

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November 22

 

There is no one, O Most Holy Mary, who can know God except through thee;
no one who can be saved or redeemed but through thee, O Mother of God;
no one who can be delivered from dangers but through thee, O Virgin Mother;
no one who obtains mercy but through thee, O Filled-With-All-Grace!”

Saint Germanus of Constantinople


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Cecilia

Skeptical of his new wife and her religion, Valerian demande...

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St. Cecilia

Cecilia was a devout Christian maiden of noble Roman birth who lived during the early part of the third century. At a very young age, she secretly dedicated herself to God, resolving to remain a virgin to her death. She fasted and prayed often, and wore a coarse shift under her clothes as a perpetual penance.

Although she had consecrated her body to the Lord, Cecilia’s father wished her to marry. She obeyed and married Valerian, the man her father had chosen for her. However, on the night they were married, Cecilia said to her new husband, “I have a secret to tell you. You must know that I have an angel of God watching over me. If you touch me in the way of marriage, he will be angry and you will suffer; but if you respect my maidenhood he will love you as he loves me.”

Skeptical of his new wife and her religion, Valerian demanded to be shown the angel. “If you believe in the living and one true God and receive the water of baptism,” Cecilia told him, “then you shall see the angel.” The young man agreed, and sought out Bishop Urban who baptized him. Upon his return, Valerian found Cecilia in prayer with a crown of roses and lilies on her head. He saw that beside her stood an angel, who immediately crowned him as well.

Soon after, Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, found them praying in the chapel. He saw the crowns of flowers on their heads and the angel standing near and he, too, converted. From that time, the two brothers devoted themselves to the work of God. They were arrested and after refusing to pay homage to false idols, were tortured and killed.

Knowing that the two were married, officials visited Cecilia and tried to persuade her to worship the false idols. Instead, her holiness converted the officials who came to her door, and she was instead ordered to appear before Almachius, the provost of Rome. The provost entreated her to denounce Christ, and when she refused, condemned her to death. They barred her in her home and fed her furnace seven times the normal amount, an act that would have suffocated any other. However, after a day and a night spent in the fatal conditions, Cecilia still lived.

Almachius then sent a soldier to her house to behead her. The executioner struck her three times on the neck and still could not smite her head from her body. By law he could not do so a fourth time and he left her to die. During the three days of her agony, Cecilia gave all that she had to the poor, continually preached the faith, and all those who were converted by her words and example she sent to Pope Urban to be baptized.
St. Urban and his deacons buried her among the bishops in the catacomb of St. Callixtus along the Apian Way. As she had requested, her house was transformed into a church by the Holy Pontiff and it has remained in the service of the Church until this day.

St. Cecilia is known as the patroness of musicians because it is said that during the three days in which she lay dying, the crowd that had gathered could hear angels singing.

Second Photo by: Claude Valette

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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