Marian Response to the Scandal of Sin
Rosary plays central role in national prayer efforts.
“A spiritual D-Day” is a description Doug Barry uses in referring to the “Rosary Coast to Coast” event scheduled for Oct. 7. Barry, who is well-known to EWTN audiences for his Battle Ready series, will be one of the speakers at the event’s Washington, D.C., rally and procession.
The prayer rally falls on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary as well as Respect Life Sunday.
Already, 700-plus groups are planning prayer at locations in the U.S. and 15 other countries via the official website, RosaryCoasttoCoast.com. National Rosary rallies were held in 2016 and 2017, following Poland’s lead.
Barry said the response “across the world is phenomenal,” adding that this year’s event “shows people have a real hunger to do what we can in this time we’re in. Signs of the time show us the results of our decision to move farther away from God” as a modern culture.
And, given the new Church scandals, Barry said, “This year is obviously unique because of the recent explosion in the Church scandals. A lot of people are asking, ‘What we can do?’ We need to speak out. We need action. This Rosary is a very visible, physical action that the world can see and hear. It’s people coming together and voices uniting, carrying a spiritual impact and power that can change the world, that can change our Church. Our Lady said the power of the Rosary carries something that the demons fear. It’s a power that can change the Church for the better.”
“What better way to thank God for his blessings sustaining us so far, and to ask for his healing and for the conquest of evil in our own country and in our own culture, than in participating in a coast-to-coast Rosary, asking the Blessed Mother, who is the most powerful enemy against the forces of evil except for Jesus Christ himself,” explains Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, in a video endorsement of the “Rosary Coast to Coast.”
“It is her foot that crushes the serpent. We should never forget that. … She is an incredible threat to the forces of evil. As we engage in a coast-to-coast Rosary, we unite ourselves against the works of the devil, in our country and in our culture. And we are filled with the Resurrection power.”
Heavenly Battle Plan
Barry said that, over the last century, as the Blessed Mother has given messages at Fatima, Akita and elsewhere, “Her warnings are clear. We’ve been watching them unfold.” Our Lady “constantly refers to the Rosary as the weapon we need to bring about the changes necessary. There is no time to mess around because there’s so much going on right now.”
In his video endorsement, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, added, “As children of Mary, we want to grasp the hand of our heavenly Mother in order to have protection against the visible and invisible attacks of the enemies of Christ in order to receive consolation in the midst of the great doctrinal and liturgical confusion which reigns in the life of the Church of our days.”
One of the Oct. 7 sites will be the National Rosary Rally (see NovenaforOurNation.com) in Washington. This year marks the third time Barry will speak at that rally location. The companion “54-Day Rosary Novena,” which began Aug. 15 to amplify and highlight the “Rosary Coast to Coast,” will be completed at the Washington rally.
As we are the Church militant, Cardinal Raymond Burke refers to this imagery in his video endorsement of the “Rosary Coast to Coast.”
“There is no question that we are living in the most troubled times. Fundamental truths about human life, about marriage and the family, and about the conscience are being called into question, threatening the lives of individuals and of our society. But we are full of courage because we know that Our Lord is with us,” the cardinal said. “He’s called us to be his soldiers on the ground, working with him for the salvation of the world. And so I invite you to be good and courageous and faithful soldiers by joining across the nation in the praying of the Holy Rosary, our most powerful prayer, Oct. 7.”
Another bishop-endorser, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, said in his video message: “Through praying the Rosary, through participating in the coast-to-coast Rosary, we will have a powerful weapon in our hands to turn back the tide and to really oppose Satan and all the evil he is bringing about within the family, within marriage.”
For the Oct. 7 “Rosary Coast to Coast” the faithful are encouraged to pray the Rosary publicly, in churches as families and in groups and, as Bishop Conley suggests, around state capitols, or watch it live-streamed and pray with others. A Eucharistic or Marian procession would be a blessed addition.
One important point in light of earlier Rosary victories: Organizers emphasize that prayer should coincide with the main group in Washington, starting the Rosary at 4pm Eastern.
Diocesan Rosary Congresses
This year, diocesan Rosary congresses will join the Oct. 7 rallies. National co-director Kristin Bird said that at the 4pm hour, the Rosary Congress will “unite with that so we’re working together with like-minded ideas.”
“We feel these two apostolates go hand in hand,” said 2018 Rosary Congress’ national director, Peggy Downs.
The Rosary Congress (RosaryCongressUSA.org) is a seven-day event of perpetual Eucharistic adoration and praying the Rosary hourly day and night.
The focus on the Eucharist and the Rosary is inspired by St. John Bosco’s dream of the Church being saved by anchoring to two pillars — the Eucharist and the Rosary. It will run Oct. 7-13, starting on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and ending on the anniversary of the last Fatima apparition. “The Rosary Congress helps us live out the message of Fatima,” Downs explained.
Another main goal is to pray for four intentions — in reparation for our sins and the sins of our country, for life and the end of abortion, for peace and for sanctification of families.
In 2017, Rosary Congresses were held in 13 locations. Sharing a brief history, Downs said the Rosary Congress began in Poland in 1979, as people prayed that through Mary’s intercession St. John Paul II would be allowed to make a papal visit to the country. Their prayer “siege” proved effective. The Polish pope visited his homeland in June 1979. In 1988, one of the Polish pray-ers brought the congress to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The aim was to have people bring the Marian event to U.S. dioceses. A group in New Orleans launched the event there in 1990.
In Louisiana, Marie Wojdac, a founding member of the archdiocese’s Rosary Congress 28 years ago, looks upon the event as being “the most wonderful blessing.”
She well remembers what happened during the inaugural congress held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Wojdac said, “On the last day of our first Rosary Congress, the oldest abortion clinic in the city closed. It spurred us on.”
The response prompted the move of the Rosary Congress to the second-largest church in New Orleans, where it remained until Hurricane Katrina struck. After the completion of the congress on its 25th anniversary, another abortion business closed.
Remarking on its ever-increasing success, Wojdac said, “We fill the churches with groups and families from all over the city.”
The Louisiana Rosary Congress now travels to a different parish in the archdiocese for each seven-day, 24/7, event. It adds special events like a candlelight Eucharistic procession and various choirs to draw families and young people to prayer. This year’s theme is “Pray to the Holy Family for All Families.”
According to Downs, her bishop, Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of Steubenville, Ohio, wants as many people as possible to participate this year and at the three diocesan Rosary Congress locations — Steubenville, Marietta and Ironton, Ohio. Among several others planning a 2018 Rosary Conference are the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Hartford and the dioceses of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Fairbanks, Alaska. The 2018 lineup will include at least a dozen locales.
Downs pointed out that the Ohio diocesan event includes a special Mass for the family and healing of families. Everyone in attendance will be invited to make the family consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as well.
Bird hopes to inspire people to institute more Rosary Congresses throughout the U.S. and whole world.
Among endorsers is author and speaker Marian Father Donald Calloway. As he wrote, “I’m certain that one of the best ways to promote the Rosary is through diocesan Rosary congresses. These events bring the Rosary to parishes and families and have the power to transform society. I encourage everyone to get involved and promote a diocesan rosary congress in your area. Our Lady will bless you!”
“In the churches, the devotion is immense,” Downs said, as “people pray the Rosary aloud and have an hour of adoration. It brings people out of the woodwork who love Our Lord and Our Lady.”
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.