Midtown Manhattan is known the world over for being one of the busiest places on earth. At all hours, great numbers of pedestrians from around the corner and around the globe go this way and that down 5th Avenue and the surrounding streets, each with their own reason for joining the fray. Taxis, buses, and cars of all shapes and sizes weave in and out of traffic, depositing more to join the throng and whisking others away to destinations near and far. The colossal bronze statue of Atlas holding the world stands at the foot of Rockefeller Center, his menacing countenance and massive bulk looking down on the people of every stripe going about their business. The constant ebb and flow of this sea of humanity provides much to take in for the person who stops to take a few moments to watch.
On Saturday October 11, however, there was a sea change which was impossible to ignore: more than 100 Catholics anchoring themselves on the broad sidewalks, praying the Most Holy Rosary for the nation. At noon members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) dressed in ceremonial TFP habit solemnly processed with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The resonant melodies played on the bagpipes reverberated off the towering skyscrapers.
In a very real sense, the faithful humbly beseeching Our Lady Star of the Sea gathered in public to beg for graces so our country can find safe harbor. Though the American ship of state is currently being threatened from without by terrorism, epidemics and natural disasters, and from within by dissention in the ranks and the growing moral rot brought by abortion, same sex “marriage” and public blasphemies, those gathered affirmed the means of rescuing our beleaguered country: confidence in the Mother of God, who alone can steady our course and conduct this ship to safety.
Rallying Around Our Lady
The event marked the 97th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, where more than 70,000 people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. Those gathered on 5th Avenue let forth a stream of prayers, litanies and hymns to the Blessed Mother, begging for a heavenly solution for our nation’s many ills. Rain all morning and colder temperatures gave way to an overcast afternoon, though this did nothing to lessen the resolve of the Catholics taking part. The thousands of people who passed and witnessed the rally immediately took positions for or against, with approval or disapproval expressed in more than a dozen languages. Large numbers stopped for several moments to offer their own prayer to the Queen of Heaven before moving on, while others dropped what they were doing and stayed for the duration.
Students from St. Louis de Montfort Academy passed out flyers, while the Holy Choirs of Angels Band played Catholic hymns and inspired participants and passersby alike. The conclusion of the program led to a procession through the streets with Our Lady at the head. Many remarked afterward of a peaceful silence which permeated the atmosphere, a welcome respite from the city’s usual cacophony.
This New York rally took place simultaneously with 12,629 other similar rallies across the nation, with thousands of Catholics taking to the streets to call down graces for America.
America’s Grand Return
Before our presence on the sidewalk in one of the world’s busiest cities, the prevailing attitude was that all this modern world offers of smartphones, towering skyscrapers and instant gratification represents progress. While prayers or traditions of any type surely indicate stagnation.
But with the graces bestowed by Our Lady for this brief time on a Saturday afternoon, large numbers were able to grasp the reality before us: devotion to Mary and Christian Civilization represents the path to order, and modernity and all it offers signifies the long winding road which ends in chaos.
In the 15th century, Our Lady promised Bl. Alan de la Roche, “You shall obtain all you ask by the recitation of the Rosary.” With confidence in this promise, the thousands of rally participants around the nation can be assured their prayers for their beloved country will not go unanswered, and the great Mother of God is most certainly working to return America to order.