Girls with veils and mantillas made a path of rose petals.
Altar servers rang bells and sent up plumes of incense spoke.
Heaven and earth resounded the hymns.
The Lord was with them.
Father Dylan Schrader carried the Most Blessed Sacrament in solemn procession around the State Capitol.
About 185 people followed.
Afterward, they gathered on the Capitol lawn to pray 15 decades of the Rosary — the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries — in supplication for God’s protection and blessing upon this country.
It was one of thousands of public observances of the Month of the Rosary and of the 103rd anniversary of Our Lady’s miraculous apparitions to children in Fatima, Portugal, to take place on Oct. 10.
Fr. Schrader is pastor of St. Brendan Parish in Mexico and diocesan delegate for Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
The people gathered outside St. Peter Church, near the Capitol, as the procession began.
Two men carried a banner with the words, “Pro Deo et Patria,” meaning “For God and Country” — and “My Immaculate Heart will Triumph,” words the Blessed Mother spoke to the Fatima visionaries.
Another banner, from the national America Needs Fatima organization, proclaimed: “Pray the Rosary for America. Please join us!”
Four men carried a platform bearing an image of Mary as the Fatima visionaries described her, adorned with roses.
A sign nearby paraphrased Matthew 8:2. “Lord, if You wish, heal us.”
There came a ringing of bells as Fr. Schrader, fully vested and bearing the Most Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, exited the downstairs chapel.
Four Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus in regalia held a baldacchino over Fr. Schrader and Christ’s Body.
Several girls scattered red petals on the ground ahead of them.
The procession advanced toward the circular drive surrounding the Capitol, then onto the sidewalk along busy High Street.
The trees were awash in autumn gold and radiant sunlight.
Foot and motor traffic continued up and down the thoroughfare as the procession moved toward Madison Street.
Several people stopped to watch.
The procession included many children — some in strollers, some being carried, the rest walking with their parents.
Participants sang “Faith of Our Fathers,” a hymn written in England at a time when Catholics were being persecuted and the practice of their faith was being suppressed.
The people processed toward the Governor’s Mansion while singing “Sweet Sacrament,” a hymn written by a 19th-century convert to Catholic Christianity.
They were singing “Come Holy Ghost” as they crossed East Capital Avenue and processed by the Governor’s Mansion, where once stood Jefferson City’s first Capitol building.
Lawmakers in the 1840s narrowly voted against selling the structure, which Irish Catholics had helped build, to the St. Louis archdiocese for use as a church after the second Capitol was completed.
Nearby stands the Upschulte House, in which Jesuit Father Ferdinand Helias reportedly offered Jefferson City’s first Mass in 1831.
Joined by angels
The procession concluded at a temporary altar on a grassy portion of the Capital South Lawn.
People stood and knelt in the shade, before the Blessed Sacrament.
They sang “To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King,” written by the late Monsignor Martin B. Hellriegel, a world-renowned priest who offered his First Solemn Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg in 1914.
Fr. Schrader prayed Benediction in Latin, making the Sign of the Cross over the people with the monstrance containing the Most Blessed Sacrament.
He then led the praying of the Joyful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
Father Anthony Viviano, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Westphalia and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Folk, led the Sorrowful Mysteries.
He pointed out that however many people were present, there are just as many guardian angels joining in the prayers.
In the apostolic letter “Rosary of the Virgin Mary,” Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed that “To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.” (#3)
All the more so when praying together in the presence of His Most Blessed Sacrament.
The celebration concluded shortly before noon.
The people sang, “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” favorite hymn of Missouri native and sainthood candidate Venerable Father Augustus Tolton, as Fr. Schrader processed the Blessed Sacrament back to church.
The people and petals and incense lingered for a while.