A great battle — a spiritual battle — is raging.
At Fatima and elsewhere, our Mother showed us the simple, surefire way she would bring about victory for the culture of life: through the Rosary.
One way to bring about this victory is through an initiative called "For God and Country."
This is both the name and the theme of a new prayer campaign organized by the World Apostolate of Fatima USA (WAF) and Father Andrew Apostoli, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal and Fatima expert.
Father Apostoli calls the Nov. 6 election one of the most crucial in our country’s history.
That’s why the WAF is launching a 30-day Rosary novena beginning on Oct. 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and ending on Election Day.
First, they’re asking everyone to simply pray the Rosary faithfully each day until the election. Second, they’re asking for special Masses.
Father Apostoli made it very clear that the intention of this Rosary and Mass campaign is "to storm heaven for politicians who support life because they see the sacredness of life as coming from God, who recognize marriage as between one man and one woman, and, finally, who recognize religious freedom, which is stated clearly in our Constitution. Last time we looked, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States declared: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …’"
"We feel that our rights as Catholics and other Christians are being unjustly limited," Father Apostoli explained, "so we need to end that and turn to the Mother of God to protect our nation under God — which is our national motto — and to protect the right of the Catholic Church and other churches."
"We cannot accept being limited to praying in our churches," he added, in reference to the current path along which the nation seems to be heading. "The Constitution says no government can tell us who is Catholic and who is not Catholic and who we can minister the Gospel to and the works of mercy to that Jesus taught us. These limitations are contrary to our American spirit and even our legislation. So we are praying to God to protect us."
God has done that for people in the past, especially through our Blessed Mother.
It’s no coincidence this prayer campaign begins on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which was originally the feast of Our Lady of Victory. The feast was established to thank God and Our Lady for the victory at Lepanto that saved Christianity in Europe.
In 1571, Pope St. Pius V asked everyone in Rome to continuously offer the Rosary for a victory of the Christian naval fleet over a vastly superior enemy. The outnumbered Christian fleet won, saved the Catholic faith in Europe, and attributed the victory to the Rosary.
Father Apostoli applied the message of Lepanto to today: "Since Mary obtained one victory in a naval battle of great consequence to protect the Church of her Son not to be militarily overrun, now we are asking Our Lady to obtain for us a political victory that would protect the Church of her Son in our nation. It is not only for the Catholic Church, but for people of all churches and those who cherish their religious freedom and rights."
Added David Carollo, the executive director of the WAF USA, this effort hopes to "bring about the grace to enlighten people to vote for candidates who will uphold religious liberty and the teachings of the Church and to instill in the hearts of those we elect and those they appoint the need to govern and enact laws in accordance with the laws of God."
Masses are also to be arranged (with permission of pastors) on Nov. 3, the First Saturday of the month, with the intention, if possible, "for God and country." If not possible, then the faithful can attend a regular parish Mass, making their private intentions "for God and country."
Father Apostoli makes the reason clear. "We’re hoping that with this urgent appeal we may be able to fulfill Our Lady’s request of the five First Saturdays devotion, which is necessary for the peace of the world.
"Our hope is to encourage as many of our Catholic people to participate in this day of prayer, intercession and reparation in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima, who promised that peace would come if (on five consecutive First Saturdays) we go to confession, receive holy Communion, pray a Rosary and then spend 15 minutes with Our Lady meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, all with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady for the offences and blasphemies against her Immaculate Heart." (The five reparations are for five blasphemies against Our Lady’s immaculate conception, her perpetual virginity, her motherhood of Christ and all of us who are his spiritual brothers and sisters through baptism, those who keep the young from Mary by spreading distorted and false teaching about her, and those who desecrate or dishonor her images.)
Through this month-long effort, with the Rosary in hand, and the First Saturdays’ devotion started, people can bring about another Lepanto-like victory for the culture of life and help keep America "one nation under God."
Joseph Pronechen is the Register’s staff writer.