By Kevin Ritchie
October 13th, 2018, the 101st anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, was a day of great anticipation. After the record-setting 21,570 Public Square Rosary Rallies for the Fatima Centennial (2017), would Rosary Captains from the United States and the world turn out again to lead public rosaries in massive numbers in 2018?
The world-wide response was overwhelming. In America, a total of 21,145 Rally Captains did their part to honor Our Lady of Fatima. For the first time ever, a record number of other nations participated in the campaign, bringing the international total to 23,018 rallies! I had the privilege of traveling to Portugal to represent them at the Fatima shrine.
Together with America Needs Fatima member Felipe Barandiaran, and several Portuguese pilgrim helpers, we organized a grand array of over 30,000 roses, a red rose for each Rally Captain, and a white rose for rally sponsors.
The sun did not dance this October 13th, but it did shine gently on the pilgrims that gathered from across the world to honor Our Lady on such an important feast day. And as we approached the esplanade there was great movement and interest in what was happening. What did these thousands of roses offered to Our Lady represent? Where did they come from?
When hearing of the America Needs Fatima Public Square Rosary Rally Crusade, the pilgrims where delighted, impressed and ready to participate in the organization of such a wonderful offering. “America blanketed with thousands of Rosary rallies… how beautiful - there is hope!” was the usual answer.
United to such a massive movement of the public recitation of the rosary with the presentation of the roses, it was a day where heaven and earth seemed to meet. Catholics across the globe where professing their faith in the public square with the most powerful spiritual weapon, the rosary, and they were simultaneously being represented in such a significant way at the Fatima shrine.
But we weren't in Fatima only to present roses in thanksgiving to Our Lady, and in honor of each Rosary captain. Walking on our knees around the spot where Our Lady appeared, we prayed the rosary for America Needs Fatima supporters' intentions. We also took their written prayer intentions, seventeen large candles, and a banner with over 10,000 names of friends of America Needs Fatima who couldn't make the trip. After lighting the candles, we unfurled the America Needs Fatima banner at the capelinha, while waiting for the evening candlelit procession.
While this spiritual battle waged on, the devil must not have been happy. Just as the procession was about to begin, a terrible storm broke out with high winds and heavy rain, forcing the procession to be cancelled. But this did not deter us from praying all the more and accomplishing our mission. All the pilgrims awaiting the procession took refuge near the capelinha, and closed out the evening with a fervent rosary as the winds howled and the rain beat down.
Being so close to the Blessed Mother made us feel protected despite the storm. It was a metaphor for the global picture. While there is a terrible crisis raging in the world and the Church, those who take refuge close to our Blessed Mother and recite faithfully her Rosary will weather the storm, and be part of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.
Rosary Rallies in the Public Square
by William Gossett
Honoring the historic Miracle of the Sun, participants in 21,145 Public Square Rosary Rallies across America pleaded to heaven for the conversion of society and the urgent fulfillment of the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima. For the first time in history, many other countries joined America, asking Our Lady to cover the world with her mantle.
This year’s flagship rosary rally sponsored by the American TFP and its America Needs Fatima campaign took place in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Bagpipes and drums playing the Marian hymns Hail Holy Queen and Immaculate Mary provided by the TFP Holy Choirs of Angels Band rang through the streets calling attention to the impressive act of Catholic prayer in public.
“Because of the horrible blasphemy and sacrilege that was perpetrated in this museum, we felt we needed to make special reparation to Our Lady and hold the rosary rally right in front,” commented Robert Ritchie, director of America Needs Fatima.
Infamously, the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 7th to October 9th held an exhibition titled Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Blasphemously, this exhibit combined the sacred with the profane. It mixed the sacred with the sensual, promiscuous and immoral.
“We wanted to show the Metropolitan Museum that we didn’t forget. Above all, that God won’t forget this horrendous blasphemy,” Mr. Ritchie added.
No Two Rallies Were the Same
Each and every Rally was the product of a great deal of creativity and enthusiasm. Some rallies were simple affairs of five or ten friends and family assembled at a busy corner. Others involved groups of twenty or fifty with songs, chairs or even refreshments. There were also huge affairs with hundreds of people, featuring speeches, musical programs and even theatrical skits. The important thing was that they all came together to call upon Our Lady on this most important date.
One thing remained consistent across the 21,145 Rosary Rallies: these Rallies made a difference. No one sees a rally without coming away changed from the public display of faith in the public square. Millions witnessed these rallies. Most may not know the significance of the date, but they end up either favoring or opposing the rallies. Even the indifferent are forced to acknowledge them. Most importantly, the rallies encourage those sympathetic to their message; they see they are not the only ones fighting against the evils of the times, and in so doing are empowered to continue in the fight for the Church and Christian civilization.
Participation of Other Nations
In addition to America, other countries that participated in the 2018 Public Square Rosary Rallies were: Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The fact that Public Square Rosary Rallies have gone global shows a growing trend: people worldwide are seeing that human efforts are failing and that God and His Holy Mother are the only solution.