Parishioners in Milford, West Haven, Torrington, Guilford and Meriden were among 21,570 groups across the country who participated in a coordinated Public Square Rosary Crusade at noon on Oct. 14 to mark the 100th anniversary of Fatima and Our Lady’s call to conversion. Other Fatima-related events have taken place elsewhere in the Archdiocese of Hartford this month.
The annual rally is held on the Saturday closest to the Oct. 13 anniversary of the Fatima Miracle of the Sun.
In West Haven, more than 30 parishioners from nearby churches gathered to recite the rosary led by Father Eric Zuniga, parochial vicar of St. John XXIII Parish, and Eva Cestari, who has been coordinating a bi-annual rosary in the gazebo on the West Haven Green for five years.
“I do this because I love the Blessed Mother and the Lord,” said Mrs. Cestari. “I believe in the rosary and the personal intercessions, blessing and graces associated with the rosary.”
Similarly, Robert Hirchak, rosary rally captain in Torrington, said that 80 people from parishes in nearby towns gathered at St. Peter Church “to pray for our nation to turn back to God.”
And in Guilford, more than 100 congregated out on the Town Green for the rally coordinated by William Kinnare and Karen Sabia.
St. Anthony's Book & Gift Shop in Orange also held a rosary rally on Oct. 14 as part of the campaign.
The nationwide America Needs Fatima prayer crusade is sponsored by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.
The first campaign was held Oct. 13, 2007, the 90th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. Since then, the crusade has grown from about 2,000 rallies in 2007 to nearly 22,000 this year. The prayer vigils are held in public places from sidewalks and street corners, to public squares and parishes in towns and cities across the country.
"The concept of doing a rosary rally in a public place is catching on," said Francis Slobodnik, national coordinator of the 2017 Public Square Rosary Crusade, in a press release. He said that more than 680 rallies were scheduled to take place in South Africa and more than 530 rallies in Canada, plus similar events in such other nations as Poland, Ireland, Belgium, Australia and Cuba that we know of."
For information visit www.americaneedsfatima.org
Other events have taken place in the archdiocese commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.
In Hartford, Father Michael Casey, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, celebrated a Mass on Oct. 13 to conclude a week-long traveling Rosary Congress, coordinated by Betty Belk.
The congress included 24-hour adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in seven locations: the campus of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in Meriden, St. Joseph's Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Enfield, the Church of the Assumption in Ansonia, St. Joseph Church in New Haven, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, St. Peter Church in Higganum and the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
The Rosary Congress started in 1979 in then communist-controlled Poland when people prayed around the clock for now St. John Paul II to return to his homeland. The Rosary Congress was introduced in the United States in 1988 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. It always takes place Oct 7-13 to mark the anniversary of Fatima.
Father Christopher Ford, pastor of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, concelebrated the Mass. The congress was held on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.
And in Waterbury, more than 200 people recited the rosary as they followed a statue of the Blessed Mother around the Waterbury Green Oct. 1, to kick off the 100th anniversary month of the first apparitions of Mary to three Portuguese children at Fatima.
The event in Waterbury was the 28th annual archdiocesan rosary rally, held this year at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and organized by Lorraine Greski of Ansonia.
The archdiocesan rosary rally is an offshoot of the Rosary Congress, according to Elaine B. Atiyeh of Canton, a former coordinator.