Thursday, November 1, 2012

(100) A Review of the Public Square Rosary Rally in Gallipolis, Ohio Saturday October 13, 2012

The participants just before the beginning of the Public Square Rosary Rally.


            The Miracle of the Sun occurred in Fatima, Portugal on Saturday, October 13, 1917 as a sign to all people of little or no faith so that they would believe that the beautiful woman in the apparition was indeed Mary, the Mother of Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and that her message was authentic as well as extremely important.  After hours of a steady heavy rain, the patience of the 70,000 people soaked to the bone was rewarded.  The sun broke through the clouds and appeared to spin and plummet towards the earth.  For an eye witness account see the first hand testimony of a college professor and others at and  It was visible over an area of 32 x 20 miles as much as 32 miles away.  The people thoroughly drenched and the ground in a sea of mud as a result of a steady torrential rain for several hours suddenly became dry.  One of Mary’s requests to the three shepherd children was:  Pray the rosary for peace.  See my Blog #95 for more detail.

            Fast forward to another Saturday, October 13 exactly 95 years later…….2012 Gallipolis in southeastern rural Ohio, the battleground state in a presidential election which could ultimately determine whether we will have the religious freedom to take our faith outside of the confines of the four walls of our little church and run our Catholic institutions without the threat of heavy fines for refusing to follow immoral government mandates that clash with Church teaching.  On a beautiful sunny but cool autumn day at noon a group of 34 members of St. Louis Church obeyed Mary’s request to pray the rosary for peace…….peace in our hearts; peace in the world.   We were in solidarity with 9000 other groups all over the United States and Canada.  We staged our public square rosary rally in the City Park, covering a block in the downtown area between the beautiful Ohio River flowing south along 1st Street on one side and Ohio Route 7 (2nd Street) on the other.

            This year Mike Haas reinforced the banner with wood so that it would be more stable in the wind and constructed a wooden stand for it..  Mike Haas and I flanked each side in our Knights of Columbus regalia, the first time that Council 3336 St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio supported the Rosary Rally in this manner.
            Our Public Square Rosary Rally at noon Saturday, sponsored by the America Needs Fatima Group (, was part of a big Marian week-end at St. Louis Church.  We looked at it as a preparation for perhaps a once in a lifetime event, the visit of the traveling International Pilgrim Virgin  statue the next day at noon.  Mary’s statue was scheduled to stay with us for the next 30 hours of continuous Eucharistic Adoration with a concluding Mass and exit with procession.

The purpose is to pray for world peace and to beg God to save our country from immorality and secularism, both of which put our country in grave danger. 
       There is great power in public prayer because of its witness of faith and appeal for repentance.  For example, the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Austria in 1955, stopping the Turkish near conquest of Europe three times in (1456, 1571, & 1683), and the peaceful overthrow of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in 1986 are all attributed by many to public prayer.  In the latter, people praying with rosary in hand stopped a tank attempting to disperse a demonstration of thousands. 

            I put everything I had into it........a blurb in the church bulletin and an article both in the church bulletin and the local newspaper promoting both the Public Square Rosary Rally and the visit of the statue of the International Pilgrim Virgin.  To our surprise they published a picture of the statue on the front page!   I also submitted a blurb, which they did run for several days in their “Church Briefs” column.  I posted the article on my blog and sent it to our Catholic Newman Club at the University of Rio Grande as well as to Protestant preachers who serve with me on the University Chaplaincy Board in an ecumenical effort. 

For all of that effort, only 34 people showed up......about the same as we had in three or four previous attempts with little promotion.   This indicated that the most effective medium is word of mouth. True, we had to compete with the annual Bob Evans Farm Festival that attracts about 50,000 people every year.  It was a bit disappointing albeit not surprising, but something to build on.

            All of that promotion still served a very important purpose......a great opportunity to promulgate a deep message to the hundreds of people who did not participate.  That is Mary's appeal at Fatima; Fr. Peyton's Rosary Crusade; the power of public prayer; and why we need prayer and repentance to help solve our country's intractable problems, most of which have a spiritual component.  It was also an opportunity to ask the sick and shut-ins as well as distant friends and family to join in and pray the rosary at noon on October 13.  We should have promoted this more among the sick.

       The rally itself was beautiful on a beautiful sunny, but cool day.  I opened it up with an eight minute talk on the message and a little instruction on how to pray the rosary......i.e., the focus on meditation of the mysteries.  Our pastor, Fr. Thomas Hamm followed with a prayer and introduced each Joyful Mystery with a related scripture reading to demonstrate that the rosary is very biblical.  Fr Tom then closed the rally with a prayer and blessing, followed by my thanks for attending since the participation of each person is so important.

            I was encouraged by the greater turnout and had a warm feeling and satisfaction in being able to do a little something for Mary.  We learned from this experience and will be back at it again next year, hoping to build on this in answering Mary's call at Fatima.


        Thank you, prayer warriors for coming to our Public Square Rosary Prayer Rally today as we join thousands in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and many other cities coast to coast.......over 7500 rallies in all.   The participation of each one of you is so important and adds to its power as we answer Mary's call to pray the rosary for peace.......peace in our hearts, in our homes, on city streets, in our country and the world.  We cannot have real peace without the inalienable right to life from conception to natural death.  We also beg God to save our country from immorality and secularism, both of which threaten to destroy our nation.

        As you know, our country is full of problems, most with a moral component.......still wars in two countries, rampant crime, unsafe streets, over 7% unemployment in a still depressed economy, out-of-control government deficits and debt, broken families, promiscuity, endemic sexually transmitted diseases, cohabitation, abortion, etc. They seem to be intractable.  Our best brains cannot solve these problems and we sometimes feel helpless.  Where will it end?  Clearly, we need divine help.        

        There is great power in public prayer because of its witness of faith and appeal for repentance.  For example, the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Austria in 1955, and the peaceful overthrow of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in 1986 are all attributed to public prayer.  In the latter, people praying with rosaries in hand stopped a tank attempting to disperse a demonstration of thousands.  It is in that spirit of faith that we are here.

        I see that we have some families here.  The prayers of children are particularly effective.   This recalls the saying: “The family that prays together, stays together.”  Prayer, particularly the rosary, has healed millions, ended wars, overthrown dictators, stopped the advance of militant Islam into Europe in 1456 at the Battle of Belgrade, in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto, and again at Vienna in 1683, chapters in a 1300 year war that includes today's War on Terror.  Without prayer, Europe and perhaps us as well would be Muslim today.  All of this certainly gives credence to two quotes by Alfred Lord Tennyson: “A world at prayer is a world at peace” and   “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”  These were the themes promoted by Father Patrick Peyton in his Family Rosary Crusade and other programs in which he obtained the top stars of Hollywood to promote the family rosary in his Family Theater on radio and TV. 

        The inspiration for these rosary rallies comes from an optional devotion and belief in the six appearances of Mary to three shepherd children in the town of Fatima in Portugal in 1917.  Interesting is that the town was named by the conquering Moors after Fatimah, the favorite daughter of Mohammed. There Mary asked the world to repent, do penance, and pray the rosary for peace.  She prophetically warned that if the world does not repent, there would be a second world war and even a third as Communism would continue its errors.  This prophecy was made before the Communist Revolution in Russia. 

The message is still current.  What chastisement or man-made disaster awaits us if our country continues on its present course?  A world-wide economic collapse?  We cannot continue destroying the family and killing one million babies every year in a society that is becoming more and more secular and godless.  God does not have to punish us; he can simply leave us on our own as we choose evil and the inevitable consequences of sin follow. 
        In Mary’s final appearance on October 13, 1917 at Fatima, there was a great sign as she had promised to authenticate her message.  According to 70,000 eye witnesses, the sun appeared to spin in the sky and fall towards earth for several minutes.  It was visible 25 miles away.  The Portuguese newspapers recorded it. Thus our nation-wide public square rosary prayer rally is on the first Saturday after that date.  Thus I would like to give you a postage paid postcard for ordering a free copy of the book, “Meet the Eye Witnesses to the Miracle of the Sun”. 

        Over 18 years ago in 1995, as he lay dying, Fred Edelmann asked his fellow Knights of Columbus to lead the rosary before each Mass on the first Saturday and Sunday of the month.  Since then, that practice has become a tradition at St. Louis Church.

        All Christians can be comfortable with the rosary because it is very biblical.  Catholics honor, but do not adore Mary in the rosary.  For almost 2000 years her mission has been evangelical…….to bring souls to her son and nurture the faith in us.  The “Hail Mary” quotes the Angel Gabriel and Elizabeth.  In the second part we ask our model of virtue and holiness to pray for us, the same as you would ask your earthly mother for prayers. 

The rosary is a litany of rather rhythmic repetitive prayer, which acts like background music, while the focus is on meditation…….to meditate upon each of five of the 20 different mysteries regarding the life of Christ and His mother.  Imagine that you are there on the scene watching during these momentous events from the Bible.  Before each decade our pastor, Fr. Thomas Hamm will announce each mystery and then read a Bible passage related to the mystery that we will meditate or reflect on.  Each mystery is depicted or alluded to in scripture.

        One person will lead the first part of each prayer and everyone responds with the remaining part.  Let us begin.


        Thank you all for coming.  It was your participation that made this rally a success.  Fr. Hamm will close with a blessing.

* Words in italics were added after the talk.

Websites & Sources
Luke 1:28, 42 & Mat 6:9-13


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