Your future is clouded by Terrorism. Abortion. Same-sex “marriage.” Depression. Suicide. Crime. Corruption. Broken families. God’s law is transgressed. Blasphemy is rampant. What is the solution to so many problems?
At Fatima, Portugal, the Mother of God asked us to pray the Rosary, do penance, and amend our lives. Did we listen? Not really. Let’s start a new moral crusade. Take the Rosary off the rearview mirror and start praying. It’s time for a Public Square Rosary Campaign!
Come and pray the Rosary. Let’s honor the 90th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparition, 1917-2007. Remember: There will be no peace in our lives or in society unless we honor God and obey His law.
- What: The Holy Rosary, Hymns, Litanies, and other prayers.
- Where: Central Square Common (Keene).
- When: Saturday, October 13, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.
- More: For more information, contact Brother André Marie at 603-239-6485.
By Brother Andre Marie, M.I.C.M.
October 13, 2007, marks the ninetieth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Portugal. The miracle, which testified to the truth of Our Lady’s apparition to three shepherd children, was witnessed by 70,000 people, including atheists, communists, and other anti-Catholics. To commemorate this important anniversary, to honor Our Lady, and to carry out the Fatima message of prayer and penance, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is organizing 2,000 “Public Square Rosary Rallies” across the nation.
I recently interviewed Mr. John W. Horvat II, the American TFP’s Vice-President, regarding this campaign.
Prayer and Penance
Most of the campaign organizing has been undertaken by the TFP’s “America Needs Fatima” apostolate. Asked why “America needs Fatima,” Mr. Horvat gives a ready answer, one that describes the spirit of the campaign: “because Fatima talked about so many of the problems that we have today in our society, a lot of the moral problems that we face. Our Lady pointed us to the solution. I think that it is a perfect mix: Fatima and our own needs today come together.”
Specifically, America needs Fatima because of the deluge of public immorality in which we find ourselves, especially in the areas of “fashion, abortion (of course), and same sex ‘marriage,’” Mr. Horvat said.
But the effort is not merely a “protest” against these things. It is a positive effort to do something about public immorality and the flouting of the rights of God in society. How? By “putting the faith back in the public square, affirming our faith and morality, and putting into practice the Fatima message.” That message, Horvat summarized, is “prayer, conversion, and penance.”
The prayers offered at the rallies on the 13th will be principally those of the Rosary, but hymns, litanies, and other traditional prayers will find their way into the program, according to the inspiration of local rally organizers or “captains.”
That’s the prayer part; but what constitutes the “penance” part? Doing it in public. Says Mr. Horvat: “It is a type of penance because of the human respect that is involved. It takes courage to affirm your faith in public. It’s a daunting task because of the pressure there is not to do this kind of thing. This is something hard that you have to overcome.”
He added that we live in day when, more than ever, Catholics have to go against the grain, “because the public pressure to sin is so great. If you don’t resist, and just go along with the flow, you are going to fall.” Overcoming the obstacles of human respect, embarrassment, and possible ridicule from secularists is in itself an exercise in penance and Christian virtue, he said.
Putting Faith in the Public Square
If America needs Fatima, it also badly needs conversion. To Mr. Horvat, the two go together in this campaign: “I think we need to put the faith back into the public square. It’s not enough for us simply to pray inside the churches. We need to be out there in the public square affirming our faith and its morality and having in mind that we are definitely doing a type of apostolate for the conversion of America.”
This kind of public Catholicism is nothing new for the TFP, whose members organized 2,000 protests against the blasphemous movie “The DaVinci Code.” Moreover, every year, they participate in the annual March for Life in Washington DC, famously carrying their enormous red, lion-emblazoned banners, and accompanied by their “Holy Choir of Angels” marching band. Happening upon the display as one rounds a corner in Washington DC can be a bit breathtaking.
The high profile is for a purpose. “We are asserting that Catholics really are not second-class citizens. We have a right to be out in the public square and we hope to have 2,000 rallies affirming that right.”
Reactions to such public displays of faith are mixed, but can be surprisingly positive. There are “really radical type atheists that just get furious and rabid against the rallies,” Horvat says. “But for the most part it’s surprising how many there are who appreciate the fact that you are praying in public, even though they may not be Catholic. It’s amazing how many are favorable. When we did 2,000 protests against the DaVinci Code movie, most were honking and giving the thumbs up in favor of it and very, very few were against it. It’s the opposite of what you may think.”
Based upon this past experience, Mr. Horvat expects some immediate results from the rallies. Because Catholics are praying in the public square, making a proactive, positive profession of faith, and showing their love for the Blessed Virgin, people who might not themselves be inclined to do such a thing are encouraged. They become attracted to it, and emboldened to do good. Just as the manifold bad influences in the public square lead people to sin and despair, a public exaltation of Our Lady can have the opposite effect.
In short, while public prayer may raise the ire of some, for others, it is a stimulus to good will.
Despite the positive feedback, praying in public and protesting popular bad morals still constitutes a battle. To those inclined to a “softer” faith, who would object that this is not a fitting image for contemporary Catholicism, Horvat replies that Catholics are still called upon to fight for their values in the public forum. In fact, he seemed downright unimpressed by the objection. “Well, I mean the other side certainly is fighting against us, and we have to come to our own defense. Even if you don’t want the fight, you are put into the position where you have to fight because the other side is so very aggressive on abortion, same sex ‘marriage,’ and all of the other attacks against Catholic faith and morals today. We really don’t have a choice. It’s not a matter of wanting or not, it is the situation we’re in and we have to fight.”
Public manifestations of religion are nothing new to Catholics, of course. In the ages of Christendom, there were always pilgrimages, penitential processions, and colorful Christian pageantry putting supernatural highlights even on civic functions. Today, however, and in this country especially, such exhibitions of one’s faith are not so typical. But that does not daunt the TFP’s Vice-President, who gives the counter-cultural response: “I think it is more timely than ever.”
There have already been TFP-affiliated Rosary rallies in anticipation of the October 13 main event. Included in the positive feedback on these early ventures is their impact on college and university campuses, where zealous Catholic students have organized Public Square Rosaries. “They’ll go right on the campus, right into the middle of campus, and pray a Rosary there. That causes quite a stir,” Horvat says.
And the chosen “weapon” for this fight? It’s the Holy Rosary. “I think it is an ideal instrument. It’s something Our Lady herself at so many times recommended. It’s a powerful weapon in the fight. I think it’s also something that all Catholics can identify with, and it’s an activity that we can do in public. It’s simple, not something complex. The simplest laymen can do it, and I think for that reason, it’s perfect.”
The Stakes are High
At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin promised peace if her message is obeyed. But today we see wars in the Middle East, in Africa, and elsewhere. More to the point, we are also witnessing a growing militarism in Russia, the nation whose conversion was promised in the Fatima revelations. John Horvat thinks all of this ties into the Fatima message. “We haven’t converted and until the world does convert we can expect that things aren’t going to work out. We’re not going to have peace. These conflicts around the world are breaking out simply because we are not living as we should.”
Living the Fatima message of prayer and penance is meant to counter that.
The TFP has solicited the support of the nation’s episcopacy. So far, they have received encouragement from twenty-four bishops, including Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Fort Worth, and Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, the Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts. They expect to receive additional positive letters from other U.S. Bishops.
How to Get Involved
I asked Mr. Horvat what he would say to would-be Catholic activists who have never done this sort of thing before. How do they organize a rally? The answer was terse and unpretentious: “If you know how to say the Rosary and you have some friends, it’s simply a matter of just going there and praying a Rosary. It’s not complicated; it’s extremely simple. Just go with the Rosary, go with some friends, bring a sign or banner and do it.”
The TFP’s staff is equipped to help rally organizers with what they need to get started.
Besides commemorating the ninetieth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, are there other ways that Catholics can use public square Rosaries to advance the faith in America? When asked this, Mr. Horvat expressed enthusiasm: “It’s something that we are looking at. A lot of people are excited about this. It’s something that has surprised us, too. We’re looking at 2,000 rallies across the country. It’s taking off. People are signing up and talking about extending the campaign beyond October 13, to have rallies afterwards.”
At the end of the interview, Mr. Horvat summarized the whole message of the Public Square Rosary Campaign in militant fashion: “We are putting the faith back in the public square. We are affirming our faith and morality. We are putting into practice the Fatima message. Catholics are not second-class citizens. We have a right to be out in the public square and we hope to have 2,000 Rosary rallies affirming that right.”
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Those interested in joining the Public Square Rosary Campaign, either as captains or as participants, should go to the TFP’s Website, http://www.tfp.org/rosarycampaign/index.htm, or call 1-866-584-6012 for more information. A map of already organized Rosary rallies is posted online.