As I stood on the country highway praying a rosary for marriage, I could not help but think I was on the front line. Talking about traditional marriage is essential, but it can be done from the safety of the home. Writing about the subject is an exercise done in the isolation of an office. When you are out in front of hundreds of passing cars or pedestrian traffic, that is the front line.
Anything can happen since this is an explosive topic. You are out there directly exposed to those who hate you. You will also experience the consolation of support. You will face the contempt of indifference. You are in God’s hands.
On March 17, I participated in one of over 2,247 public square rosary rallies in defense of traditional marriage nationwide. It involved gathering together a group of people in a public place on the closest Saturday to the feast of Saint Joseph. Each rally had a banner that proudly proclaimed: “God’s Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman.” The event was sponsored by the America Needs Fatima campaign of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.
An Ordinary Site Made Extraordinary
The location of our rally could not have been more American. We were out in the countryside amid cornfields, pastures and grain silos. However, it was a busy highway with all sorts of Americans going about their Saturday tasks and shopping. There were semis, pickups, minivans, cars and even tractors passing by our rosary rally for marriage.
It was not a particularly beautiful spot. There are certainly more symbolic locations. The flat area at the side of the road usually serves as a parking spot for commuters. It provided ample space for our rally. Perhaps it was the ordinariness of the site that made it so extraordinary. It showed that America’s rejection of same-sex “marriage” is deeply rooted.
Protected by our traditional marriage banners we prayed Our Lady’s rosary. The rally was organized by a family with three generations present. The most enthusiastic were the children who appeared to marvel at the excitement of praying in front of everyone. The grandmother watched over the children as the father bravely and loudly led the mysteries.
The Utter Audacity of it All
It takes courage to pray the rosary in the public square. There will be people passing by who know you. Some of them will disagree with you and talk about you behind your back. There will also be others who will secretly admire you and in the silence of their cars wish you well.
As we started to pray, I sensed the utter audacity of it all. Our protests do not enjoy the patronage of a fawning media that gives its support to liberal causes. I am convinced that it takes the help of supernatural grace to venture out on the public square.
Thus, praying a rosary in the public square is counter-cultural. In the secular society envisioned by most liberals, these public displays of prayer are not supposed to happen. They are not politically correct. No one is allowed to disagree with same-sex “marriage” publicly. However, those in the hundreds of cars that passed us, all took a mental note that it is possible to disagree in public.
I could not help but think of the multiplier effect of these rallies. It was not just our rally in the middle of the countryside but 2,247 of them across the nation, each broadcasting its counter-cultural message far and wide.
Defying the Liberal Narrative
I was impressed by the different narrative I found on the front lines of the Culture War. Based on the news reports and polls spread by the media we could expect overwhelming rejection of our message. But that is not what we found.
As we prayed, the overwhelming majority of those who reacted were favorable. They gave us the thumbs up. They honked their horns and shouted their support. One older farmer came to the lot to pick up a car. In his picturesque way, he told us he agreed with us to the point that he would like to buy us each a case of beer.
Of course, there were those who disagreed with our prayer rally, but they were surprisingly few. As the traffic zoomed past, they would let loose a foul expletive that was thankfully difficult to discern. Such rare and cowardly displays of opposition usually had the effect of only making us more resolute in our purpose to stand up for God’s marriage.
Thus, we finished our public square rosary for marriage. Just as there was no media narrative on the frontlines, no media reported on the event. Such displays of public piety, no matter how extraordinary, escape their radar. However, such negligence is not important. Unlike liberal street theater, our rallies were not done for media consumption. They were done to instill hope in those who share our Faith. Above all, our rosary rallies were directed to God, the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph, in whom we confide for the final victory.