In times like these, we must pray with confidence that Our Lady will find a way to help the Church and our nation out of the present crisis. Indeed, so many are looking for ways to appeal to Our Lady for aid.
One excellent way is to present our concerns to Our Lady publicly. That is why I was so glad to be in New York City this October 12, as I attended a public square rosary rally on Fifth Avenue. I was especially encouraged knowing that there were nearly 20,000 public square rosary rallies at locations worldwide. Across America, people were joining with me as if in one voice to call upon Our Lady publicly for help. As a good Mother, she cannot fail to come to our aid.
The Public Square Rosary Rally campaign is a project of America Needs Fatima, an effort to win the hearts and souls of Americans for Our Lady and her Fatima message. In 2007, America Needs Fatima began asking Americans to pray for the conversion of the nation in the public square every year on the Saturday closest to October 13, the day of the “Miracle of the Sun” in Fatima in 1917. What began with 2,000 rallies has now flowered tenfold.
Saying the rosary in a conspicuous public place is now everywhere. People come from far and wide, rain or shine to be part of this movement. It is clearly a work of grace.
My Participation in This Historic Event
The rosary rally I attended was not just any rosary rally or any public square. It was America Needs Fatima’s flagship rally across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York City. A few hundred faithful have always gathered in front of Rockefeller Center to pray at one of the nation’s most well-known locations. We were seen not only by native New Yorkers but by visitors and tourists from all over the world.
Some witnessed the event in awe. They applauded our efforts since they never imagined they would see the rosary prayed on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Others were shocked and disapproved of our prayers since they saw it as something backward and contrary to the spirit of the modern world. Yet others were indifferent and were self-absorbed in their own little worlds. They seemed intent not to think about God or Our Lady at all.
Our public witness, however, did mark the public. Everyone took note that there are Americans who grieve for the nation and are not afraid to manifest their concerns. All across the country, millions witnessed these scenes of prayerful petition to the Mother of God. Each took away something from seeing the public display of piety on the public square.
Sensing Two Different Movements in the Public
When praying the rosary in the public square, two things impressed me.
The first thing is that we live in a very sinful world. It is not easy to pray in public. I sensed the hostility and fear of doing something contrary to what most people are doing around us. Some hated what we were doing on Fifth Avenue and all over America. They often expressed themselves with rage. These observers had accepted lives of slavery to sin and vice. Our presence made them uncomfortable. In reply, many did everything possible to discourage us and make us feel uncomfortable. A battle was taking place in the public square.
The second thing that impressed me was those passersby who were sympathetic to the rally and its message. They read the rally banners and rejoiced at seeing the public witness.
Many of these people felt oppressed by our sinful world. Some would make the sign of the cross or say a quick Hail Mary with us as they blended back into the crowd. Others joined our rally and prayed with us for some time with great joy.
To these supporters, the rallies were a sign of great hope. Some were visibly moved by the scene, perhaps because they recalled the Catholic faith of their youth. Some even shed a tear. For these, the rallies represented a ray of hope and joy.
Hope for America
I am sure my experience was similar to that of so many other people. Everyone had to find the courage to confront the sensation of doing something so contrary to those around us. We had to face the hostility of those who opposed our actions because of their attachment to our very sinful world.
However, I am sure everyone was edified by the impressive efforts and courage of Catholics from all walks of life, ethnic groups and ages. In a country divided and polarized, the public square rosary rally seemed to unite so many people who, with great joy and enthusiasm, prayed at the feet of Our Lady.
In this sense, the rosary rallies were a source of great hope for a nation in need of it. As the rosary banner stated, there are no human solutions to the present problems. We must look to supernatural solutions. On October 12, I was pleased to join with others in nearly 20,000 public places to ask Our Lady to come to our aid.