By Michael Gorre
Ninety-seven years ago, rain soaked the 70,000 witnesses of the miracle of the sun at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. Part of the miracle was that they were completely dry within a matter of minutes.
Although we did not witness a miracle and we remained wet to the bone, ANF members Mr. Alvaro Zapata and myself presented over 13,000 roses to Our Lady in that very spot where she made the sun dance. Not letting the gusts of wind and driving rain deter them, our determined team of Portuguese pilgrims under the able direction of Mr. Felipe Barandiaran set down huge containers full of roses and held up the banners containing the names of all the 12,629 2014 Rosary Rally Captains (represented by the red roses) and all the Rosary Rally Sponsors (represented by the white roses).
In all the seven years we have been presenting the ever-increasing number of roses to Our Lady of Fatima, we have never been rained upon. It was as if Our Lady was putting us to the test as the winds and storms of our current world situation continue to get more and more difficult.
Hoping to be able to light our large candles during a break in the torrential rain, we came to the Cova da Iria on October 13 with all eighteen of them. These heavy long candles had been made from the thousands of small ones sent in by our America Needs Fatima members with their accompanying intentions. The pouring rain continued unabated, however, and only seemed to intensify as we strained to light the candles in the downpour. Nevertheless, we managed to do it and their fiery glow was a beautiful contrast to the dark clouds that hung over us. Gazing at the flickering flames, we reflected deeply upon what they symbolize: the faith of each and every ANF member who perseveres in difficult times, in times when the storms and trials of life should have snuffed them out.
As we prayed at the Chapel of the Apparitions and at the tombs of Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco, we remembered all the valiant Rosary Rally Captains who put aside their human respect to pray for our country in public places. Later, as we walked among the olive trees of Valinhos where Our Lady appeared in August of 1917 and visited the site where the Angel of Portugal appeared to the three shepherds to prepare them for the coming of Our Lady, we continued to pray for all our ANF members and their intentions, asking Our Lady that she make of them shining examples of faith, hope and charity, in a world of doubt, despair and rejection of God.