Dozens gather for public rosary eventLocal Catholics participate in national commemoration of 1917 report of miracle.
By: Candy DenOuden, The Daily Republic
In 1917, according to some believers, Jesus’ mother Mary appeared to three young children in Fatima, Portugal. Saturday, Catholics across the nation commemorated that event with the 2012 Public Square Rosary Crusade. In Mitchell, about 40 people gathered in the park across from the Corn Palace to say litanies, sing songs and recite the rosary publicly.
Local rally captain Brenda Visani said the event offered people the chance to pray, meditate and make a public statement about their faith.
“I think as Catholics, we are very concerned about our faith,” she said. “This helps us recognize what we’re doing in our lives that’s not God-fearing, so that we may correct it with God’s help.”
Catholicism has been at the forefront of political news lately because both vice presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, are Catholic. But Visani said Saturday’s event was a prayer rally, not a political gathering.
“We just pray,” she said. “There’s no politics in it. That’s not why we’re here.”
Others who attended agreed, saying they focused on prayer for America as a whole, not as a political party.
“Our country needs help,” said Elaine Goldammer. “I believe (prayer is) the only way we’re going to get results. We just pray for everyone, because we all need prayer.”
Nationally, the rallies are coordinated by a group called America Needs Fatima. Visani said about four years ago, the group contacted her and asked if she would become a rally captain in Mitchell.
Originally from Trinidad, Visani has lived in Mitchell since 1979 and is a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. She became involved with Marian devotionals, which are based around prayers to Mary as the blessed mother.
“Our Lord God chose to send his son Jesus Christ to us on earth through Mary,” she said. “Anyone that’s devoted to Mary believes that if we pray to Mary, she will also lead us to her son Jesus. Just like God sent her son through Mary to us.”
According to americaneedsfatima.org, “Our Lady” (Mary) appeared at Fatima six times in 1917, the final time on Oct. 13.
She came with a message of peace, but also of warning, according to the accounts.
“It’s a call that the blessed mother 95 years ago at Fatima said the rosary would bring peace,” said the Rev. Charles Duman, who is the chaplain at Avera Brady Health and Rehab.
But Duman said not enough people have followed the appointment to say the rosary faithfully.
“We haven’t listened to her,” he said. “There are still wars raging.”
That makes the need for a rally all the more apparent, Visani said.
“One of the main reasons we do this rosary crusade is praying and asking God and our blessed mother to save America from today’s immorality and secularism in our society,” she said.
The rosary, which Visani said essentially is a meditation on Jesus’ life, is an integral part of the Catholic faith.
“Anyone that’s devoted to Mary tries to say the rosary every day,” she said. “We all know that we get better results in numbers, if several people are doing something at the same time.”
A collaborative effort between Holy Spirit and Holy Family Catholic churches, Visani said the event also welcomed all area Catholics. It even attracted Monsignor Charles Mangan from the Office of Marian Apostolate for the diocese of Sioux Falls.
Mangan said about 200 people gathered Sept. 30 in Sioux Falls for that rally.
“This is the day nationally that it’s encouraged,” he said. “Such a great setting, in front of the Corn Palace.”
The monsignor said he felt the event is important for three reasons: to bring glory to God, to “venerate the blessed virgin mother,” and to provide the opportunity to pray for various pressing national, state and local needs.
Despite a gloomy, even wet forecast, the prayerful were met with a warm, sunny day. A few small droplets fell halfway through the rosary recitation, but not enough to disrupt the service.
“Somebody said it was holy water,” Visani said with a smile. “It was a beautiful day.”