Rosary guide

Rally attendees gather near the United States Capitol to pray the Rosary for the Nation

WASHINGTON — Praying the Rosary for the conversion of sinners is “an act of compassion and love,” speaker David Carollo told the crowd gathered for the National Rosary Rally in Washington on Oct. 9.

“Praying for conversion is the duty of every believer,” he said. “We must always bear witness to the truth at all costs. To do anything less will make us unworthy of our vocation as Catholics, as Christians.

“Never be afraid to speak the truth, to help warn sinners not out of judgment but out of love,” he added.

Carollo is executive director of the New Jersey-based Global Apostolate of Fatima USA, which was founded in 1946 as the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima.

He was one of many who led prayers and spoke at the gathering. Others included Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey of the American Archdiocese for military services; Sister Deirdre Byrne, superior for her community, the Sisters of the Little Workers of the Sacred Heart in Washington; and Msgr. Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cypriot Catholic Church in Washington.

Rally participants gathered at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a Eucharistic procession to the rally site at the east end of the National Mall facing the Capitol the United States. As they walked, they prayed the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

At the site of the gathering, Father Stephen Imbarrato, as Master of Ceremonies, introduced the afternoon speakers after reciting a prayer for the nation.

Father Imbarrato, a nationally known pro-life activist, is a retired priest from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who now lives in Florida.

Before his remarks, Carollo led the crowd in a prayer to Saint Joseph “as father, protector and comforter”.

“As head of the Holy Family, bless the world and all its inhabitants,” he prayed. “Help us restore marriage and the family to God’s right order. With your spiritual carpenter skills, rebuild our church, guide those who have strayed to the Eucharistic Lord (and) strengthen the church.

“The power of this coast-to-coast rosary is truly impossible to fully know,” Carollo told the crowd, referring to the larger part of the event involving people across the country.

In Washington and the United States, rosaries were prayed for respect for life at all stages of development, especially for unborn children; the sanctity of marriage and the family “based on the creation of man and woman by God”; defend constitutionally protected religious freedom; “the return of our nation to God and holiness”; and other intentions.

At 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, under the direction of Bishop Coffey, all participants simultaneously recited the glorious mysteries of the Rosary.

Carollo recalled the beginnings of the Blue Army of Our Lady, saying that “our founders came together and brought an army (of people) to their knees before the Blessed Mother to promote Our Lady of Fatima.”

They were responsible for spreading her message that the faithful pray the Rosary daily to bring peace to the world, pray for the conversion of Russia, do penance and have devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

“(This) army has the rosary as its primary weapon, contrary to all those crazy claims that the rosary is part of right-wing thug culture and part of a hateful attack on people who disagree” , Carollo said, noting that such claims were made recently by a secular East Coast publication.

“What a sad thing,” he commented.

He was referring to an August 14 article in Daniel Panneton’s The Atlantic magazine titled, “How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol.” “The AR-15 is a sacred object among Christian nationalists. Now ‘radical-traditional’ Catholics are bringing their own sacrament to the movement,” the article began.

After an outcry from critics over the description of the rosary as “an extremist symbol”, the magazine’s editors changed the title to: “How the extremist gun culture is trying to co-opt the rosary”. “Why are Sacramental Beads suddenly appearing next to AR-15s online?” says the new introduction to the article.

“To expose sin and pray for people’s conversion is not an act of hatred toward sinners, but it is an act of compassion and love,” Carollo said. “That’s why we do it. It is an act of love – to pray for conversion is the duty of every believer.

The National Rosary Rally was sponsored by the Holy League, a Catholic men’s movement, and concluded the organization’s 54-day “Novena for Our Nation”. It also came on the last day of the 30th International Week of Prayer and Fasting.