Bradenton | A determined group in Bradenton braved the rain to be sure to participate in the annual America Needs Fatima Public Square Rosary Crusade Oct. 10, 2020, in front of Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish.
Seeking prayers for the country, a dozen such prayer rallies were scattered throughout the Diocese of Venice, joining some 21,000 others nationwide. The goal of the America Needs Fatima rallies is to win the heart and soul of America for Mary by spreading Our Lady’s Fatima message and promoting devotion to her immaculate heart.
The rallies are scheduled at noon on the closest Saturday to the different recorded Our Lady of Fatima apparitions, the last of which occurred Oct. 13, 1917. While rallies earlier in 2020 were canceled because of the global pandemic, the number of nationwide October rallies exceeded all expectations and appropriately take place during the Month of the Holy Rosary.
One of the participants in Bradenton said that now, more than ever – with a global pandemic and social unrest in the United States — prayers are needed for our nation to seek the intercessions of Mary and make God a more central part of life. While the rain kept some away, she added the presence of people praying the rosary on a major road is an important image for all to see. As some drivers and passengers waved or honked their horns in support, others looked curiously upon the group. “We are making a difference by being out here. It’s wonderful.”
The rosary rally in Parrish, organized by the Knights of Columbus based at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish, gathered at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Fort Hammer Road. At the same time a group of more than 50 prayed at the Venice Beach pavilion where organizers said prayer intentions were for every federal, state, county and local government worker.
A few days earlier, Oct. 7, 2020, marked the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and once again several commemorations took place.
Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers held a vigil and celebration on Oct. 6-7, as the Feast Day is a national holiday for the Guatemalan Catholic community. The pandemic curtailed the usual larger Parish-wide fiesta. However, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father Patrick O’Connor explained the vigil and commemoration were too important to cancel altogether.
“We still held our Las Mañanitas (prayers and song in honor of Our Lady) and Mass,” Father O’Connor explained. “Afterwards, there was a small reception and people were provided with bags of food and drink so they could continue the celebration at home with their family.”
Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice had a special dedication of sacred art, a painting depicting Our Lady of Fatima, which was placed in the school office lobby. Father Richard and Father Robert Beligotti donated this artwork to the school, Principal Nicole Loseto explained. Tom and Nancy Murphy donated the frame in memory of Nancy’s sister, Lois. Father Richard Beligotti led the blessing and dedication ceremony which was streamed live to the entire school.
Meanwhile, students and faithful from throughout the Diocese joined the Diocese of Venice in participating in a virtual rosary event hosted by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The event was led by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, President of the Conference, who had called for this moment of prayer with the intention of uniting Catholics across the country at this time when there is much unrest and uncertainty.