While October 13 is still over three months away, the task of organizing and coordinating thousands of Public Square Rosary rallies nationwide must be done well in advance. The task of organizing these rallies was the subject of a two-day symposium held July 14-15 at the headquarters of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) in Spring Grove, Penn.
Some fifty national, regional and local organizers gathered together to discuss their goal of holding 2,000 Public Square Rosary rallies across the country. Speakers addressed the reasons why Catholics should visibly manifest themselves and spread the Fatima message of prayer, penance and amendment of life.
Indeed, in these days of militant secularism, the idea of proclaiming the Catholic faith in the public square meshed with the anniversary of the ninetieth anniversary of the miracle of the sun on October 13, 1917. What better way to honor the Blessed Mother than to be out in the public praying the rosary? This is exactly what happened at Fatima. The whole nation watched as people were not in the churches but publicly filled the highways and byways to reach the huge field where Our Lady appeared before 100,000 faithful.
In a similar way, it is hoped that on October 13, millions of Americans will see Catholics in visibly public areas all over the nation with large banners calling upon passersby to “pray with us for America.”
Practical Matters: Nuts and Bolts
Beyond the reasons for holding the rallies, the symposium speakers also dealt with many of the practical problems involved in such a mammoth task. Francis Slobodnik, head of the campaign central office in Kansas, described in detail the daily work of volunteers and staff who are engaged in recruiting rosary captains, answering questions and sending out supplies.
Michael Whitcraft of the TFP web office also outlined the resources available online for all those involved in the organizing rallies. A how-to manual has all the easy steps to follow. Downloadable banners and posters make it easy to make any rally visible. A map is available to find the nearest rally. The idea of the web resource center for the campaign is to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to get involved.
As the date of the rallies gets closer, the efforts to recruit rally captains and helpers will intensify. Plans call for sending out tens of thousands of voice messages. Email blasts to Catholic lists are already being sent out. Advertisements will start appearing with the question: “Where will you be on October 13th?” Regional directors will be coordinating rallies and resolving difficulties.
“Based on the response and enthusiasm we have received, everything is on target for the rallies,” said campaign director Robert E. Ritchie. “We just need as many rosary captains as possible to help.”
Anyone Can Be Rosary Captain
Many have the idea that the role of rosary captain is a daunting task. While it definitely involves some responsibility, the Rosary Campaign Central has made the process much easier.
With devotion and determination, anyone can be a rosary rally captain. All that is needed is a public place, some friends, some signs and a rosary. Rallies need not have huge crowds; all it takes is a few ardent souls holding a banner to impact the public and more importantly Heaven.
People of all ages and walks of life have already signed up. Several organizers are holding not one, but several public rosaries in their communities. One man who is wheel chair bound asked to be a rally captain. One mother said that “with this public rosary, I will bind my children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.
Much Already Done
While the main rallies are planned for October 13, many rally captains have already held public rosary rallies as a preparation for the final rally.
The first Public Square Rosary was held on March 10 in front of the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. Local supporters in Miami followed suit with a rally the next day. Since then scores of rallies have been organized including efforts by TFP Student Action on the nation’s universities.
On July 14, there was, for example, a third Public Square Rosary Rally in downtown Cleveland with 70 people attending. At the end of the rally, the priest who was present gave his blessing. Some people were giving out rosaries and even teaching people not only how to say to the rosary, but how to make the sign of the cross.
The Public Square Rosary Rally symposium helped lay the groundwork for a huge grassroots effort. It hopes to bring together as many Catholics as possible to respond to the question found in the TFP ad: Where will you be on October 13th? How wonderful it would be if a large number could answer: Honoring the 90th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparition at Fatima…in the public square.