For years now, after the October Rosary Rallies, America Needs Fatima makes its special mission to deliver a red rose to Fatima in the name of every Rosary Rally Captain, and a white rose in the name of each Rosary Rally Sponsor.
With 14,108 Rallies across the country this past October 10, an “ocean” of roses was in order!
This year, ANF’s friends Lora Lucas-Bailie and Cyndee Poole crossed the Atlantic to accomplish this mission of delivering the roses to Fatima for October 12, the day the shrine celebrates the last Fatima Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun.
Lora flew into Atlanta from California where she met Cyndee and the two boarded a plane for Portugal. Meeting our Spanish correspondent Felipe Barandiaran in Lisbon, they proceeded to Fatima and set to work.
A Massive Operation
A group of florists with a heart for the mission is contacted every year and begin the massive operation of sourcing and sorting the roses. Once the blooms are ready, they are placed in large bins, and loaded on a couple of vans. This year, both vans had to be loaded twice and two trips made to the shrine.
Once there, the florists help arrange the roses in the great Fatima Square before the basilica, and also eagerly volunteer to hold the banners for a photo shoot.
Impressed by America’s Faith and Devotion
Lora reports that pilgrims passing by invariably stopped to inquire as to the reason for so many roses. On hearing that these represented 14,108 captains of Rosary Rallies in America and also sponsors of the effort, they were amazed, impressed and edified.
Someone exclaimed: “Our Lady is being crowned with a shower of roses from the good American people! God bless America!” And all wanted to help. Despite a soft rain, many stood holding the banners for the pictures–wet, but happy.
Once the pictures were taken, the 20,000 roses were distributed throughout the Fatima Shrine, to decorate Our Lady’s float, altars and many places around the sanctuary.
Later that afternoon, our envoys also delivered thousands of petitions either sent in or emailed by ANF members and supporters. A large bin of printed intentions was presented to Our Lady at the “Capelinha” or small chapel built at the exact place where Our Lady appeared in 1917. There, a Mass was said, a Rosary offered and candles lit for each and every prayer, petition and intention.
A special bouquet of flowers was also offered at the “Capelinha” in the name of special donors of America Needs Fatima.
Impressions of Fatima
“This was my first time in Fatima,” writes Lora, “and after all I had heard and read about Fatima, I was not prepared for the special feeling of being in a place where Our Lady appeared and where the miracle of the sun took place…Thousands come to pray for themselves, their families, and their intentions. We are all there for the same reason.
On the next day, October 13, as the statue of Our Lady was processed through the square, thousands of voices suddenly sang out a parting song in Portuguese, waving thousands of kerchiefs as a goodbye gesture to our Blessed Mother.”
And as the last kerchief was waved, our envoys made their way back to their respective countries. Mission accomplished. Fatima, and Our Lady were once more gladdened and honored by an “ocean” of roses from America’s sea to shining sea.