It was sunny and pleasant as we assembled in front of the capitol building in Austin, Texas, with signs, banners, and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Some twenty-five local friends and supporters of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) joined in the recitation of the rosary prayers. The June 17 rally began with the singing of the hymn “Immaculate Mary,” accompanied by the bagpipes.
Ours is one of many groups of volunteer prayer warriors that we call “caravans.” We will be touring the western United States as part of the American TFP’s Restore America campaign. The goal is to hold rosary rallies at every U.S. capital and territory, imploring God’s intervention for a return to order.
Austin is regarded as a bastion of liberalism in a conservative state. Thus, we expected to receive some hostility. Unbeknownst to us, Black Lives Matter activists were holding their own protest in the form of a different kind of “caravan.” As we started praying the rosary, this “caravan” of cars began driving in a loop around the capitol grounds. The cars were plastered with signs and banners supporting leftist causes. The drivers honked their horns incessantly to get attention.
The presence of Catholics praying the rosary caught the leftwing activists by surprise, and an amusing situation quickly developed. Since several of us were holding “honk against socialism” signs, the leftwing activists’ constant honking unexpectedly worked in our favor. It gave the impression that they were enthusiastically supporting our campaign. This helped to boost our efforts and created confusion among the leftists.
The ruckus attracted pedestrians from all over the city. “I support you, but could you please tell all those cars to stop honking?” asked a passing bicyclist. “I had to leave work to tell you because we can’t focus with all the noise.” After we explained to him that they were not with us, he thanked us for what we were doing and accepted a picture of Our Lady of Fatima.
It took a while for the leftist activists to realize their mistake and stop honking to avoid appearing to support us. This infuriated them. Many shouted insults and made obscene gestures as they passed. Despite the opposition, many cars honked in support of our rally.
After the rally, TFP volunteers gave Saint Michael medals to several police officers who were observing from the entrance gate to the capitol. “Thanks so much for this. Most people your age are yelling and spitting at us,” said one officer gratefully as he warmly shook a volunteer’s hand. “I will never turn down Saint Michael,” another officer said as he accepted a medal.
“When Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917, she came with a very serious message. God was upset with the world because of the sins of mankind, so any solution to the unraveling of our nation must be linked with Our Lady of Fatima,” caravan leader Cesar Franco declared.
“Our Lady asked us to pray the rosary. So heeding her request, we will be praying public rosaries from Texas to California, asking her to save our country. We have no reason for discouragement because Our Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail!” he continued.