A crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon, two blue baskets, a banner and an antiphonal litany of intercession.
These are what people passing one of Gasconade County’s busiest intersections saw the afternoon of Oct. 12, as Immaculate Conception parish in Owensville held its second annual Public Square Rosary Rally.
“Lots of prayer,” said Jeanne Dorner, a member of the Owensville parish. “Prayer is our only answer today.”
About 30 people were praying the Rosary together, out loud, at the corner of Highway 28 and Cuba Street.
It was one of about 25,000 Public Square Rosary Rallies that took place throughout the United States to mark the 102nd anniversary one of the Blessed Mother’s apparitions to three children in Fatima, Portugal. On that day in 1917, thousands of people, including many skeptics, witnessed the Miracle of the Sun.
A national Catholic organization known as America Needs Fatima (https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/) provides the materials and recruits volunteers to organize the Rosary Rallies in each community.
Participants joined in meditating on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, singing hymns and offering other prayers and litanies.
Immaculate Conception parish council member Trice Davis, who helped organize the local observance, said she was grateful for beautiful weather and a nice turnout.
“We had our first Rosary Rally last year, and it was rainy and cold, so we moved it inside,” she said. “But it’s supposed to be public, so we’re glad we could have it outside this year.”
In reclaiming public ground as holy, the people offered prayers for peace, for conversion and in reparation for sins and indifference against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His mother’s Immaculate Heart.
They distributed programs from two baskets that were painted light blue in honor of the Blessed Mother.
Their banner proclaimed, “Praying the Rosary for America. Please join us!”
Mrs. Dorner said it’s good for Catholics and Protestants alike to see what praying with the Blessed Mother looks like.
“We go to Our Lady, and she answers our prayers by taking them to God for us,” Mrs. Dorner said. “People passing by see that we don’t worship Our Lady. We ask her for her intercession. We ask her to pray for us.”
The prayers and devotions in the Rosary Rally program make it clear.
“We praise Christ for particularly Christly things, Godly things,” Mrs. Dorner noted. “But we petition Mary to pray for us, to intercede for us.”
She said that by praying publicly, participants let the people who were driving by know that they were being loved and prayed for.
“The graces are just abounding,” she said. “This could be the seed that grows into something that leads people to Christ.”
Mrs. Davis said Immaculate Conception parishioners plan to continue the tradition next October.
They hope even more people will take part.
“We plan to grow and grow by the grace of God with love and appreciation of our awesome God and our Mother Mary!” she said.