Tuesday, October 19, 2010
AMERICA: USA: CLOSE TO 6000 ROSARY RALLIES
Catholic Online REPORT - Over 400 participants gathered at the Courthouse Square on October 16 to Pray
The Public Square Rosary Rally began with a special 11am Mass at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church several blocks north of the center of town. Afterward the attendees, who numbered near 200, marched silently down the center of Leesburg's main street to the courthouse square. There they were met by a crowd. Some held paintings of the Lord Jesus Christ or the Blessed Virgin. Others were holding signs saying, "Pray to end abortion," "Pray for peace," or "Pray the Rosary for America." A large number of young adults were among the participants.
The Public Square Rosary Rally held in Leesburg on Saturday was among many held in Northern Virginia and one of almost 6,000 nationwide. Over 400 gathered at the Courthouse just after 12:00 noon to pray.From reports across the country, some rallies had as few as three people, others had around 100. Leesburg's rally, with approximately 400, was among the largest that day. The rally began with a special 11am Mass at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church several blocks north of the center of town. Afterward the attendees, who numbered near 200, marched silently down the center of Leesburg's main street to the courthouse square, led by the Knights of Columbus from Holy Family Council at St. John's. They were met at the courthouse by a crowd of about equal size along with a Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Color Corps in formation with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.The crowd gathered for the event was made up of young and old alike. Some held paintings of the Lord Jesus Christ or the Blessed Virgin. Others were holding signs saying, "Pray to end abortion," "Pray for peace," or "Pray the Rosary for America." A large number of young adults were among the participants.After 200 roses were place at the feet of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the group joined today in praying the rosary along with other prayers and songs. Some knelt during this prayer time, while others wheeled their children in strollers along the back of the crowd while joining in the public prayer.At the earlier Mass, Fr. Bryan Belli, Parochial Vicar at St. John's, had strongly set the tone for the day in his homily. "We are living in world of confusion," Fr. Belli stated, "but God is in charge and has given us the gift of the Blessed Virgin."Recounting the story of Fatima, Belli mentioned that when Our Lady appeared to the children, her message was focused on getting mankind back on course and part of that involved praying the Rosary, for if you do, there will be peace.He later highlighted the difference between a political rally and a prayer rally. "We hold a political rally to change others; we hold a prayer rally to change ourselves. The hope of our nation is that we will become committed more fully to Him."When we go to the public square, we will first pray about us, praying for our continuing conversion and the illumination of our conscience. Then we will pray for the nation, for the conversion of our president, our congress and our judiciary. Remember the power of the rosary."The vision for the rosary rallies in the public square came from the organization America Needs Fatima (ANF). ANF Executive Director Robert Ritchie said about the event, "The intention for our Rosary Crusade is to beg God and Our Lady to save America from today's immorality and secularism." In covering the 2009 Rallies, Joseph Gallagher wrote on the ANF website, "At Fatima in 1917, Our Lady gave the three shepherd children Blessed Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia a solution, an answer, a master plan, to free us from this seemingly endless corruption in our world: much prayer and penance, especially the Holy Rosary."And so, it is fitting that on the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, we should honor Our Lady and do public reparation for America's sins and pray for her conversion."The growth and momentum for these public rallies has come, however, directly from local groups of faithful Catholics who saw the importance of gathering in the public place as a Christian people and pray. Patrick Gallagher, a member of Our Lady of Hope Parish in nearby Potomac Falls, brought his family to the event. "This was absolutely fantastic!" he said. "When you come to something like this, you realize you are not alone.""What a day!" shouted rally co-captain Stan Theriault, after the event was over. "We are grateful for everyone who came and participated. Someday we hope to see 2000 people gathered here to pray together."Theriault's wife, Mary, was the other co-captain. The couple, who gave their time, talent and treasure to the rally, was assisted by others in the Catholic community in putting the event together, most notably, members of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights not only participated in various aspects organizing and leading the rally but also supported the event financially. The rosary rallies began in 2007 and are always held on the Saturday closest to the day of the "Miracle of the Sun" at Fatima, Portugal.