Catholic faithful gathered in the gazebo of Hanceville’s Hamby Park to pray the Rosary. / W.C. Mann
HANCEVILLE – On Saturday afternoon, a small group of devout Catholics gathered at Hamby Park in Hanceville to pray the Rosary publicly. The informal group, all of whose members are active at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, is part of the “America Needs Fatima” movement. This year’s event, one of more than 21,000 such “rosary rallies” across the country on Saturday, took place on the day following the 100th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun.”
According to Catholic teaching, between May 13 and Oct. 13, 1917 the Virgin Mary made six appearances to three Portuguese children near the town of Fatima: Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and Lucia de Jesus Santos. As the story goes, to confirm the teachings of the earlier appearances, her last appearance was accompanied by a promised miracle witnessed by as many as 70,000: rain that had fallen since the previous night suddenly stopped, the field dried, and the emerging sun appeared to change color and “dance” in the sky.
The America Needs Fatima movement encourages and helps organize rosary rallies each year on the Saturday closest to Oct. 13. Hanceville’s local event organizers were Charlene and Joan Chapman.
“This is the fourth year that we’re praying here,” said Joan Chapman. “We’ve been celebrating since May, when she appeared to the three children in Fatima. The main reason she came was to tell everybody to pray the Rosary. And this is a message for today, too, a hundred years later: pray the Rosary every day.
“All of us go to the Shrine, and that’s why we moved here: because Mother Angelica picked this area. She picked Hanceville; she said, ‘A town that has 30 churches is pretty okay with me!’ She knew, as soon as she stepped on the land, that this was the spot.
“We take this opportunity to pray to the Blessed Mother (Mary) today for peace in the world. That’s the main thing we’re praying for. You can see it in in the world today: so much agitation. And she said, ‘Pray the Rosary.’”
For more information on the America Needs Fatima movement, visit www.rosaryrallytools.org.
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