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By John Horvat II

America Prays the Rosary In Massive Public Events

So many times, I look out at the general moral rottenness and grieve for the nation. I grieve because our decadence appears so overwhelming and it makes me fear the righteous justice of God who is deeply offended by the sins of men.

However, this October 14, I felt an immense hope for the country. This was because I knew that there were 21, 570 public square rosary rallies at locations nationwide. Where I had thought there was only iniquity, I found signs of the love of God and His Blessed Mother. Where I thought none dared speak, I found people praying in the public square.

The Public Square Rosary Rally campaign is a project of America Needs Fatima, an effort to win the hearts and souls of Americans for Our Lady and her Fatima message. In 2007, America Needs Fatima began asking Americans to pray for the conversion of the nation in the public square every year, on the Saturday closest to October 13. What started with 2,000 rallies has now flowered tenfold. The praying of the rosary in a conspicuous public place could be seen at 21,570 locations on October 14.

The rallies are held in October because it was the month of the “Miracle of the Sun” in Fatima in 1917. This year’s commemoration of the event was made more special by the fact that it marks the miracle’s one-hundred-year anniversary.


My Participation in This Historic Event

My impressions of hope for America were confirmed when I attended a public square rosary rally. It was not just any rosary rally or any public square. I had the great grace to be at America Needs Fatima’s flagship rally across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York City. A few hundred faithful gathered in front of the Rockefeller Center, praying in front of one of the nation’s most well-known locations. Passersby from all over the world witnessed the event—some in shock, others in awe.

I must admit that I did not see the conversion of America as a result of our public testimony. I saw many who were indifferent or opposed to our presence on Fifth Avenue. My exposure to the general public at this famous location only confirmed many of the reasons why I grieve for the nation. So many people seem intent not to think about God or Our Lady at all.

Our presence on Fifth Avenue mirrored those of hundreds of thousands of others who occupied public places from coast to coast. I am sure other participants also did not see immediate conversions as a result of their actions. However, millions did witness these scenes of prayerful petition to the Mother of God. I have no doubt it influenced those who were unfavorable, indifferent and sympathetic to our cause. Each took away something from seeing the public display of piety in the public square.


Those Who Disagreed or Who Were Indifferent

I noticed to my great sorrow that there were those who hated what we were doing on Fifth Avenue. These were people who do not grieve for the nation. They told us that they approve of abortion, same-sex “marriage” and other immoral acts that offend God. They did everything to discourage us from continuing, often with signs of rage.

However, I am inclined to think that our action did good even to those who raged against us. They were shocked to see that we were there on what they considered as “their” turf. We shook their certainties in what they believed. We broke in their minds the idea that everyone follows the ways of the world. They left the scene less convinced that they were right. Perhaps a seed was planted that might later bear fruit in times when they suffer and might look to God.

Perhaps the most tragic of the observers of the rallies were the indifferent ones. These looked upon the rallies as a nuisance. Those praying on the sidewalk forced them to change their path. The proceeding interrupted their jogging or cell phone conversation. Immersed in their own little world, these observers resisted our attempts to show that something exists besides themselves.

They pretended not to see the rallies. However, they did and took note in the back of their minds.



Those Who Were Sympathetic

The most touching support for the rallies were those who were sympathetic to its message. They read the rally banner that said: “As human efforts fail to solve America’s key problems, we turn to God, through His Holy Mother asking His urgent help.” They agreed with this message.

These were those who made the sign of the cross or joined the rallies on their own. These were Americans who also grieve for the state of the country. They have suffered from the brutal culture wars that have torn our land and families apart.

To these supporters, the rallies were a sign of great hope. Many would come up and say this is what the country needed. Others were visibly moved by the scene, perhaps because they recalled the Catholic faith of their youth. Some even shed a tear. For these, the rallies represented a ray of hope and joy.


There is Hope for America

The people that participated in the rallies were the most impressive part of the effort. These were Catholics from all walks of life who bravely appeared in the public square to pray for the nation. There were bishops, priests, religious and laity. There were faithful Catholics from all ethnic groups. There were plenty of children. In a country so bitterly divided, everyone at the rallies was united in joy and enthusiasm.

There was a great variety of rallies with all sorts of creative variations. Some were simple affairs of five or ten friends and family assembled at a busy corner. Others were groups of twenty or fifty with songs, chairs or even refreshments. Others were huge affairs with hundreds of people, featuring speeches, musical programs and even theatrical presentations. They all came to call upon Our Lady to save the nation in this hour of great affliction.

For me, this was something that filled me with hope for America. Granted, those who came to rallies were not a majority of the nation. However, so often in biblical contexts, God does not ask for the majority before rescuing His Cause. He usually asks for a tiny but impassioned minority that is willing to serve as the leaven to raise up His people.

In this sense, the rosary rallies were a source of great hope for a nation in need of it. As the rosary banner stated, there are no human solutions to our present problems. We must look to Heaven. On October 14, there were 21,570 points of light. These bright rays of hope pierced and vanquished our vast moral darkness and were welcomed by Our Lady in Heaven.




John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.



Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 17, 2021

Charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which...

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September 17


Charity is that with which

no man is lost, and

without which

no man is saved.

St. Robert Bellarmine

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Saint of the day


St. Robert Bellarmine

Under Elizabeth I, his writings were forbidden reading under...

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St. Robert Bellarmine

Roberto Bellarmino was born into impoverished Tuscan nobility at Montepulciano on October 4, 1542. He was the third of ten children born to Vincenzo Bellarmino and Cinthia Cervini, a sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, who later became Pope Marcellus II. Educated at the Jesuit College in Montepulciano, he entered the Society of Jesus at the age of eighteen. After studying philosophy at the Roman College, he taught first at Florence and then at Mondovi. He began his theological studies in Padua in 1567, but was sent to Louvain two years later in order that he might obtain a fuller acquaintance with the heretical teachings of the time.  

Bellarmine was ordained a priest in Flanders and quickly obtained a reputation both as a professor and a preacher, attracting Catholics and Protestants alike by his sermons. In 1576 he was recalled to Italy, and entrusted with the chair of Controversies recently founded at the Roman College. He proved himself equal to the arduous task, and the lectures he delivered were later compiled into his most renowned work, “De Controversiis” - Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. Bellarmine's monumental work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various controversies of the time, and made an immense impression throughout Europe. It dealt such a blow to Protestantism in Germany and England that special university chairs were founded in order to provide replies to it. Theodore of Blaise, an important Protestant leader who succeeded Calvin, acknowledged that “This is the work that defeated us.” So numerous were the conversions wrought by it that Queen Elizabeth I of England decreed that anyone who was not a doctor in theology was forbidden to read Bellarmine’s writings under penalty of death. To the present day, it remains an uncontested standard of orthodoxy that has yet to be superseded. In recognition of this, Benedict XV gave Bellarmine the title of “Hammer of Heresies” in 1921.  

In 1588 Bellarmine was made Spiritual Father to the Roman College, but in 1590 he went with Cardinal Gaetano as theologian to the embassy Sixtus V was then sending into France to protect the interests of the Church amidst the troubles of the civil wars. While in France news reached him that Sixtus, who had warmly accepted the dedication of his “De Controversiis”, was now proposing to put its first volume on the Index. This was because he had discovered that it assigned to the Holy See not a direct but only an indirect power over temporal authorities. Bellarmine, whose loyalty to the Holy See was intense, took this greatly to heart; it was, however, averted by the death of Sixtus, and the new pope, Gregory XIV, even granted to Bellarmine’s work the distinction of a special approbation. Gaetano’s mission now terminating, Bellarmine resumed his work as Spiritual Father, and had the consolation of guiding the last years of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who died in the Roman College in 1591. Many years later he had the further consolation of successfully promoting the beatification of the saintly youth. It was also at this time that he sat on the final commission for the revision of the Vulgate translation of the Holy Scriptures.

In 1592 Bellarmine was made Rector of the Roman College, and in 1595 Provincial of Naples. In 1597 Clement VIII recalled him to Rome and made him his own theologian as well as Examiner of Bishops and Consultor of the Holy Office. “The Church of God has not his equal in learning,” he stated when making him a Cardinal in 1599. Bellarmine’s appointment as Cardinal Inquisitor soon followed. In 1602 Bellarmine was appointed as the Archbishop of Capua and consecrated by Pope Clement VIII himself, an honor usually accorded as a mark of special regard.

Three years later, Clement VIII died, and was succeeded by Leo XI who reigned only twenty-six days, and then by Paul V. In both conclaves, especially that latter, the name of Bellarmine was much before the electors, greatly to his own distress. The new pope insisted on keeping him at Rome, and the cardinal, obediently complying, demanded that at least he should be released from an episcopal charge the duties of which he could no longer fulfill. He was now made a member of the Holy Office and of other congregations, and thenceforth was the chief advisor of the Holy See in the theological department of its administration.

Bellarmine became one of the most important figures of the Counter-Reformation and the period will be forever marked by his method of confronting heresy: he understood that one cannot do away with a heresy by only preaching the truth; it was also necessary to attack and smash the error. By this method he converted heretics, bringing them back into union with the Church. The profound spiritual treatises that emanated from his pen earned for him the title of Doctor of the Church. But while he was a champion of orthodoxy and a brilliant polemicist, Bellarmine was also a man of capable of dealing with the most sensitive souls guiding them to sanctity as he did with St. Louis Gonzaga. This prodigious apostolate could only spring from a great calmness of spirit and deep interior life.

His death in the summer of 1621 was most edifying and a fitting end to a life which had been no less remarkable for its virtues than for its tremendous achievements. Accordingly, there was a general expectation amongst those who knew him intimately that his cause would be promptly introduced and swiftly concluded. However, reality proved to be otherwise. Although he was declared Venerable in 1627, technical obstacles arose in regards to the beatification process, delaying the progress of his cause for 300 years. Bellarmine was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930 and declared a Doctor of the Church and patron saint of catechists the following year.

Weekly Story


There was once a priest who had a special devotion to the so...

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One Good Turn Deserves Another

There was once a priest who had a special devotion to the sorrows of Mary. He would often remain alone in the chapel to commiserate the sorrows of his Lady.

So intently did he meditate on the sorrows endured by Mary Most Holy that, moved by compassion, he was accustomed to wipe the face of a statue of the sorrowful Virgin with a little cloth, as though real tears flowed there.

Now this good priest became quite ill. When he was given up by his physicians, and was going to breathe his last, he saw a beautiful Lady by his side. She consoled him with her words, and with a handkerchief gently wiped the sweat from his brow.

With this, the priest was miraculously cured.

When he found himself well, he said: "But, my Lady, who are you who practice such charity towards me?" "I am she," answered Mary, "whose tears you have so often dried,” and she disappeared.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

There was once a priest who had a special devotion to the sorrows of Mary. He would often remain alone in the chapel to commiserate the sorrows of his Lady.