These events invite reflection, for the experience is truly unique. This display of faith is not just the praying of a rosary but the affirmation of common cause in the public square. We sense we are not alone. All across the nation, there are 5,963 places that are experiencing the same thing. Each person is doing his part. All have a certain anxiety of appearing in public.
Although we do not know one another, we are one. We are part of the same effort, the same crusade.
What unites us? It is not just a pious practice or the spiritual consolation of prayer together. What makes us so boldly venture outside the church doors and into the public square is a concern for our nation.
We see the triumph of sin, the decay of morals, and the destruction of the family. We feel we have to do something since human solutions are not working. Thus, we call upon God and His Blessed Mother. We go out into the streets to make public our petitions. We want others to see our affliction and join us all over our great country.
Moreover, this public act asks of us the great sacrifice of overcoming our human respect. We are asked to bear the great possible witness by choosing the most conspicuous place around: the public square. It is all well and good to pray hidden at home or church.
It is quite another thing to do so in public in front of people who we do not know yet could ridicule us. It is even harder to be out in public in front of family, friends and acquaintances who might also ridicule us. But we make the effort to overcome our fears and proudly join ranks.
However, what makes this easier to accomplish is the fact that we are doing this with 5,963 other groups around the country.
We know some will be praying in the rain and wind. Others will enjoy perfect weather. Some will be massive rallies with hundreds in attendance. Most will be medium-sized rallies of 20-100 faithful. Perhaps even more touching are those difficult rallies with only two or three brave souls…or even one lone person. All are united in prayer and concern.
During these rallies, we become the central point of attention in the public square. People stop and read our banners. They see us praying and even kneeling on the pavement. They hear hymns to Our Lady echo down the streets. They ask what is going on. All activity is suspended in function of the rally. We so to speak occupy the public square for an hour and the sweet perfume of the event lingers on for some time afterward. In the minds of countless observers, a seed of Faith is planted.
We are also united with others who have prayed before us. It fortifies us to think of those who have publicly prayed the rosary in history and unite ourselves to them as well. How many valiant souls have paraded in public in times of national afflictions? How many Catholic soldiers in modern times of persecution have walked into battle rosary in hand in France, Spain and Mexico? We need only think of the massive public rosary crusade in 1946 in Austria which drove the mighty Soviet Army from Austrian soil. We are a continuation of these heroes who likewise prayed for their countries. We likewise hope for our Blessed Mother’s maternal aid.
Above all, we are part of the solution proposed by Our Lady at Fatima. She appeared publicly to ask men to amend their lives and pray the rosary. Indeed, the idea first surfaced in 2007 as a special project of the America Needs Fatima campaign to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima with 2,000 rallies.
By appearing in public against all obstacles, we are like those 100,000 faithful Portuguese who did the same in 1917 and who witnessed that great miracle of the sun.
In 2010, there are 5,963 rallies that are like votive candles that light up the map of America. One can only reflect how magnificent it is to be with Our Lady in the public square! How honored we are to be part of this great crusade!