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Dioceses in Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin gird for prayer.
Catholics in several U.S. dioceses are picking up their spiritual weapons this August, ready for spiritual combat.
Bishops will lead major Rosary rallies for a day and crusades for a month to call down heaven’s graces and help through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception.
In the Archdiocese of Denver, Archbishop Samuel Aquila told the faithful, “In our current time of crisis, our Church and our country need faith in God and the protection and intercession of the Blessed Mother.
“The last several months of the coronavirus epidemic, the civil unrest that has broken out in different parts of the archdiocese and our nation, and the challenges the Church is facing have made the need for Mary’s intercession abundantly clear.”
In response, he has launched a Rosary Crusade beginning on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption, “to ask Mary to urgently bring our needs to Jesus.” He invited all Catholics in the archdiocese to join in praying the Rosary every day between the assumption of Mary into heaven and the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, Sept. 15.
Archbishop Aquila reminded his flock that St. Padre Pio also advised, “In times of darkness, holding the rosary is like holding our Blessed Mother’s hand.” He also reminded his flock that Our Lady told St. Juan Diego: “Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”
He reminded everyone how, throughout history, Our Lady has answered prayers presented to her through the Rosary, even amid what appeared to be insurmountable odds, like the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Upon that perilious occasion, Pope St. Pius V asked the faithful to pray the Rosary. The result? Victory of the Christian naval forces over the invading Turks. And at Fatima, the Lady of the Rosary told the children and everyone to pray the daily Rosary for peace.
“We know, too, from history that Mary has answered prayers brought to her through the Rosary,” Archbishop Aquila added, “and that she has personally asked people to pray it for the most serious needs, especially for the conversion of souls.”
Thanking Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, Kansas, for inspiring the Rosary Crusade, Archbishop Aquila listed intentions for this rally (see below) and also noted that Pope Francis encouraged praying the Rosary, as “contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.”
Kansas Is Ready With Beads in Hand
Bishop Kemme of the Diocese of Wichita told his faithful that while October is traditionally dedicated to the Rosary, “given our current circumstances, I am of the mind that we should not wait until then, but use this August and its 31 days to deepen our devotion to God through the Blessed Virgin Mary’s prayer and her intercession. The month of August also contains some wonderful liturgical feasts and observances that relate well to this special diocesan crusade.”
The Wichita crusade began Aug. 1.
Bishop Kemme rallied his flock by reminding them, “Friends, we might be tempted to think that we can do little or nothing in the face of so many modern-day trials and challenges; sometimes we feel helpless, but as Christians, we can and must always pray. … Prayer in all its many forms is an active engagement, calling upon the powers of heaven to come to our assistance. Jesus showed us this example in the Gospels; all the saints demonstrated this spiritual truth and mystery. Might God be calling each of us to deeper prayer and a more God-centered life by means of the trials and struggles of our times? I believe God is doing just that.”
Bishop Kemme added, “We are the ones whom God has chosen and destined to live at this time in history, bringing our faith to bear, as did our predecessors, so that with God’s grace and by God’s grace alone, we too will triumph and overcome all adversity and grow stronger in faith, hope and love in the process.”
He emphasized that the spiritual life “is our source of strength, consolation and courage” and urged everyone to grow in faith especially through the sacraments — Eucharist, regular confession and daily Mass — for doing so “equips us for the spiritual battle in which we are presently engaged; and make no mistake, ours is a spiritual battle: It always has been and always will be.”
And the Rosary is “a weapon against evil and a source of divine strength and consolation,” he accentuated, “a simple but powerful prayer, which many of the saints identified as our greatest spiritual weapon, second only to the sacraments. … Through the centuries, this devotion has connected us to Mary and to each other as a bond between heaven and earth.”
Wichita’s Rosary crusade (see suggested intentions below) encourages all local Catholics to pray the Rosary daily with him, choosing any time of day, whether individually, in groups, “or even better as a family.”
Big Rally in Wisconsin
“Unite Wisconsin” is billed as a one-day “Patriotic Rosary Rally” with a Eucharistic focus. Bishop Donald Hying of the Diocese of Madison said in invitation via YouTube, “I want to invite you personally to join me for a Patriotic Rosary Rally to be held in Madison at the capitol on Saturday, Aug. 15,”
He added, “Join thousands of Catholics throughout the state as we pray for unity peace and healing.”
Joining him will be Archbishop Jerome Listecki of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“This happened in less than three weeks,” Kevin O’Brien told the Register of the prayer planning. O’Brien is president of Men of Christ, a Catholic men’s apostolate in Milwaukee that is one of the sponsors of Unite Wisconsin.
Men of Christ, Pro-Life Wisconsin and other sponsors, including Relevant Radio, United States Grace Force, Rosary Coast to Coast, Squires of Divine Mercy, The Evangelical Catholic, a Catholic school and parishes, are all uniting to call Wisconsinites to prayer amid society upheaval.
“It’s a Eucharistic procession with the patriotic Rosary,” O’Brien explained, noting that Unite Wisconsin will be taking Our Lord into the streets, being the light in the darkness of current events. Beginning at noon on the Solemnity of the Assumption, the procession with Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist will begin at Holy Redeemer Church in Madison and proceed to the State Capitol while participants pray the patriotic Rosary. There will be Benediction in front of the capitol.
“It’s right for so many reasons,” O’Brien said, enumerating the goals.
“First, to open the minds and hearts of people and calling down the graces down from heaven to open them to see truth for what it is and to vote in a way that brings good, holy leadership.”
“Second, it’s Marian. We’re calling Mary, we’re begging Mary, for her intercession; and praying for our leaders, and linking it to the United States. We’re going to offer a Hail Mary for each state, allowing Our Lady to exercise her full mediation as the spiritual mother of our people and the patroness of our country. There’s power in prayer.”
“Third, going out, getting out of our homes. … There is strength in numbers. You will be inspired by the presence of others.”
O’Brien did not mince words. “Right now, we’re in desperate need of Christian courage.” He said this rally will witness to Christians “to stand up for what is good and true and be a witness to authentic patriotism. We love Christ, our country and the beautiful state we’re in and [want] to keep it that way.”
“Bishops need this encouragement,” he added. “They need the laity to come out. This is something we need to do. From my perspective, we’re going to unite. We are Catholics, and we have the fullness of the faith, and we should be the tip of the spear. The hope is that this sparks a flame” of faith. “We’ve got Christ on our side.”
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.
Some Intentions for the Denver Rally:
For a growth in faith, hope and charity in the heart and soul of every human being, and most especially in our own; recognition of the dignity of life from the moment of conception until natural death and that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God; quick end to the coronavirus pandemic; all suffering from COVID-19, their caregivers, and those who have died from the virus; the conversion of the world, salvation of souls; those persecuted throughout the world for the faith; conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues and religious symbols; in reparation for these acts of desecration, especially against Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; in reparation for the sins of abortion, euthanasia and racism; in reparation for the sins and failings of our spiritual leaders and for our personal sins; civic leaders and those who keep us safe, to experience a deeper conversion, to govern justly, and to seek the common good; that we may learn how to love and forgive from the example of Jesus; for all marriages and families, neighborhoods, churches and cities to be strengthened; and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.
Some Intentions for the Wichita Rally:
For the speedy end of the pandemic, for persecuted Christians, in reparation for the desecration of churches and religious symbols; in reparation for the sins and failures of our spiritual leaders; for the strength and perseverance of married persons, for unity of families, parishes, neighborhoods, cities, states and nations; that all leaders will lead with integrity and courage; and for priestly and religious vocations.
Dioceses in Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin gird for prayer.
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