So many times, I look out at the general moral rottenness and grieve for the nation. I grieve because our decadence appears so overwhelming and it makes me fear the righteous justice of God who is deeply offended by the sins of men.
However, this October 14, I felt an immense hope for the country. This was because I knew that there were 21, 570 public square rosary rallies at locations nationwide. Where I had thought there was only iniquity, I found signs of the love of God and His Blessed Mother. Where I thought none dared speak, I found people praying in the public square.
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. What started with 2,000 rallies has now flowered tenfold. The praying of the rosary in a conspicuous public place could be seen at 21,570 locations on October 14.
The rallies are held in October because it was the month of the “Miracle of the Sun” in Fatima in 1917. This year’s commemoration of the event was made more special by the fact that it marks the miracle’s one-hundred-year anniversary.
My Participation in This Historic Event
My impressions of hope for America were confirmed when I attended a public square rosary rally. It was not just any rosary rally or any public square. I had the great grace to be at America Needs Fatima’s flagship rally across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York City. A few hundred faithful gathered in front of the Rockefeller Center, praying in front of one of the nation’s most well-known locations. Passersby from all over the world witnessed the event—some in shock, others in awe.
I must admit that I did not see the conversion of America as a result of our public testimony. I saw many who were indifferent or opposed to our presence on Fifth Avenue. My exposure to the general public at this famous location only confirmed many of the reasons why I grieve for the nation. So many people seem intent not to think about God or Our Lady at all.
Our presence on Fifth Avenue mirrored those of hundreds of thousands of others who occupied public places from coast to coast. I am sure other participants also did not see immediate conversions as a result of their actions. However, millions did witness these scenes of prayerful petition to the Mother of God. I have no doubt it influenced those who were unfavorable, indifferent and sympathetic to our cause. Each took away something from seeing the public display of piety in the public square.
Those Who Disagreed or Who Were Indifferent
I noticed to my great sorrow that there were those who hated what we were doing on Fifth Avenue. These were people who do not grieve for the nation. They told us that they approve of abortion, same-sex “marriage” and other immoral acts that offend God. They did everything to discourage us from continuing, often with signs of rage.
However, I am inclined to think that our action did good even to those who raged against us. They were shocked to see that we were there on what they considered as “their” turf. We shook their certainties in what they believed. We broke in their minds the idea that everyone follows the ways of the world. They left the scene less convinced that they were right. Perhaps a seed was planted that might later bear fruit in times when they suffer and might look to God.
Perhaps the most tragic of the observers of the rallies were the indifferent ones. These looked upon the rallies as a nuisance. Those praying on the sidewalk forced them to change their path. The proceeding interrupted their jogging or cell phone conversation. Immersed in their own little world, these observers resisted our attempts to show that something exists besides themselves.
They pretended not to see the rallies. However, they did and took note in the back of their minds.
Those Who Were Sympathetic
The most touching support for the rallies were those who were sympathetic to its message. They read the rally banner that said: “As human efforts fail to solve America’s key problems, we turn to God, through His Holy Mother asking His urgent help.” They agreed with this message.
These were those who made the sign of the cross or joined the rallies on their own. These were Americans who also grieve for the state of the country. They have suffered from the brutal culture wars that have torn our land and families apart.
To these supporters, the rallies were a sign of great hope. Many would come up and say this is what the country needed. Others 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.
There is Hope for America
The people that participated in the rallies were the most impressive part of the effort. These were Catholics from all walks of life who bravely appeared in the public square to pray for the nation. There were bishops, priests, religious and laity. There were faithful Catholics from all ethnic groups. There were plenty of children. In a country so bitterly divided, everyone at the rallies was united in joy and enthusiasm.
There was a great variety of rallies with all sorts of creative variations. Some were simple affairs of five or ten friends and family assembled at a busy corner. Others were groups of twenty or fifty with songs, chairs or even refreshments. Others were huge affairs with hundreds of people, featuring speeches, musical programs and even theatrical presentations. They all came to call upon Our Lady to save the nation in this hour of great affliction.
For me, this was something that filled me with hope for America. Granted, those who came to rallies were not a majority of the nation. However, so often in biblical contexts, God does not ask for the majority before rescuing His Cause. He usually asks for a tiny but impassioned minority that is willing to serve as the leaven to raise up His people.
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 our present problems. We must look to Heaven. On October 14, there were 21,570 points of light. These bright rays of hope pierced and vanquished our vast moral darkness and were welcomed by Our Lady in Heaven.