by Joseph Ford
On October 15th, millions of people will turn on their televisions to witness thousands of protesters in 950+ cities in 82 countries around the world occupying symbolic places. Their stated goal according to Occupywallstreet.org is: “…fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations on the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, Greece, Italy and the UK…”
What you probably will not see on TV and in your local newspaper, is the other international public rally battling the corrosive effects of secularism, sin and greed.
In over 7,515 locations throughout the U.S. thousands of people clutching rosaries, praying and singing will provide a stark contrast to the images of protest on Wall Street.
The annual rally organized by America Needs Fatima is called the Public Square Rosary Rally Crusade and it may have as many as 150,000 participants in the U.S. alone praying together on Saturday, Oct. 15th from 12 – 2 pm.
Rally locations can be found at: www.ANF.org.
At each Public Square Rosary Rally, participants publicly sing and pray traditional prayers such as the Angelus and the Holy Rosary. Francis Slobodnik, campaign director for the America Needs Fatima Public Square Rosary Crusade, explains why the Public Rosary Rally is so important, “We believe that we need to be where the battle is, in the public square.”
Sometimes Mr. Slobodnik has to explain to fellow Catholics why public prayer and witness is important. “Our faith is such a tremendous gift, why would we not want to share it with the multitudes just as the early apostles and great missionaries have done, transforming pagan societies into Christian ones.”
Their efforts are rapidly gaining momentum. The Crusade is only in its fourth year and each year its goal for number of rallies has been surpassed. This year their bold goal of 7,000 rallies was surpassed by over 500 rallies each hosting an average of 20 people according to Mr. Slobodnik. That represents approximately 150,000 people participating in the U.S. alone this October 15th.
But the Public Square Rosary Rally Crusade has humble beginnings.
A Catholic Duke by the name of Paul Oldenburg, who is a convert to Catholicism, held a public rosary in a city in Germany with family and friends. Robert Ritchie, Director of America Needs Fatima, happened to be in Europe attending a TFP student conference where he met Duke Paul. Robert was inspired by the notion of a public square rosary offered for conversion and for reparation. America Needs Fatima had been very successful organizing protests against public blasphemies such as Dogma and The DaVinci Code, and when Slobodnik heard the idea, he enthusiastically embraced it.
The first campaign was held in 2008. They had no idea how the Catholic public would respond. Their first goal was 2,000 rallies. Each and every year since then they have exceeded their goal. The first year was tough as the idea of holding public rosaries was a foreign concept to many.
Organizing a national rally of over 150,000 people isn’t an easy task. America Needs Fatima depends upon its 75 - 100 volunteers who travel to their office each and every summer. These volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds. They have had volunteers from Saipan, Canada, Puerto Rico and even Ireland and South America, as well as volunteers from all over the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. This dedicated group volunteers from one to two weeks.
Rosary Rallies may be the great untold story of October 15th, but they are not easily forgotten by the many people who worked hard to make them a welcome addition to our public squares.