I have been to many Pubic Square Rosary Rallies over the years, but I never saw one like this one. It was raining hard, and the square appeared to be empty.
Every year near October 13, America Needs Fatima holds as many as 23,000 public square rosary rallies nationwide to beseech Our Lady’s intervention for the nation. These events can range from two to hundreds of participants. They are always held where the public can see or join them.
I joined two colleagues at a nearby location on October 14, where I was told a rally captain had organized a rally. We had not counted on the weather, so we expected the worst.
The site was ideal. We were supposed to set up in the central park surrounded by a large traffic circle. Everyone from four directions could see us as they navigated to their exit. Any foot traffic in the central business district could also pass by us.
However, the rain ruined everything. No foot traffic. Diminished visibility. And no one to pray twenty minutes before the start of the event.
Then, my colleague pointed to a small elderly figure carrying some umbrellas in the square. It could only be Grace, the rally captain, who, with grit and determination, was making her way through the rain.
Indeed, I had lacked faith. With the appearance of the captain, there would be a rally. I was also comforted that she would not have to do the rally alone. We would pray with her, even without a banner explaining what we were doing to the public. We would at least be one of the 22,045 rallies taking place all over the country.
However, I did not have enough faith. The rally captain was not concerned at all about the bad showing. She held monthly rallies there and knew how to get things moving. She greeted us and indicated the place where we should stand.
As the noon deadline approached, another lady appeared. Across the street, I suddenly saw some people coming with a large America Needs Fatima banner that would tell the passersby what we were doing in the rain. The scene reminded me of the Gospel parable of the Lord, who invited everyone to the wedding feast, but no one came. The servants went to highways and byways to invite these to the feast.
People started filtering in from the highways and byways, each carrying a wedding garment—a rosary. We now numbered seven, and the rally was beginning to take shape. I took my place, holding the large banner with a message saying we were praying to Our Lady for America and the world. Given the headlines of war and crisis, it seemed so appropriate that we should seek out Our Lady—even in the rain.
The nearby bell tower struck twelve, which signaled the start of our public Rosary. Looking behind me, I was surprised to see fifteen brave souls praying the Rosary in the pouring rain. I was edified. Our veteran rally captain, however, was not surprised since she had weathered similar storms before. The turnout was actually better than she had seen on some sunny days.
Thus, we prayed the Rosary in the public square with our umbrellas open. America Needs Fatima’s Public Square Rosary Rallies are held on the Saturday closest to October 13, the day in 1917 when Our Lady of Fatima worked the famous Miracle of the Sun. Some 70,000 people saw the sun “dance” in the sky as a confirmation of her Fatima message.
At the time of that October apparition, it had also been raining very hard. Our rainy Rosary rally somehow participated in the suffering we could offer up in atonement for the sins of our chaotic world. When the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima finished, the sun shone, and all the people noticed that their clothes were clean and dry. Unfortunately, we did not experience this same wonder at our small rally.
However, we did experience the grace of standing up in public, realizing we were not alone. Across the country, people at 22,044 other locations were doing the same thing. We were united in prayer with them. It was as if a vast spiritual army was praying, carrying the greatest weapon—the rosary. The thought was exhilarating.
I cannot help but think our small suffering in the rain may have attracted graces that were applied to add to the splendor of other rallies that enjoyed radiant weather and large crowds.
Praying in the rain also helped us sense the crisis inside society and the Church. These are indeed dark days where the force of evil has so much power. The Rosary is our hope, which we must pray regardless of the circumstances. The important thing is that we stood up for Our Lady. She will do the rest. We must pray and act, confident in the promised triumph of her Immaculate Heart.