Russ Flayter’s daughter was pregnant and had started to miscarry. When she went in for an ultrasound, the doctors could not find a heartbeat. She set up another appointment for a second ultrasound and told her father when her appointment was. Flayter pulled out a rosary and prayed during her appointment.

“I prayed that they would find some answers to her condition,” he said. “She called me up an hour later, and they had found a heartbeat.”

Flayter knows the power of the rosary, and he, along with other lay people within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, are hosting rosary rallies through the organization America Needs Fatima. The organization, which works to spread the Fatima message across the country, hosts the Public Square Rosary Crusade, where groups across the country sign up to pray the rosary outside of churches or at some spot in their cities. This crusade takes place on the closest Saturday to Oct. 13, the feast of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun.

The Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children — Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco — in Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917, and continued to appear to them on the 13th of every month for the next six months. On Oct. 13, the last time Mary appeared to the three children, thousands flocked to Fatima to witness what the children had seen, and saw the sun “dance” in the sky, a phenomenon which is known as the Miracle of the Sun.

Mary asked the children to partake in fasting and penance, but most importantly, to pray the rosary for peace.

“The Virgin Mary told one of the children, Lucia, that there’s nothing we cannot accomplish if you say the rosary,” said Flayter.

Flayter, who will hold a rosary rally at St. Alphonsus Parish in Greendale, as well as the other rosary rally organizers, feel the rosary is needed now more than ever during this difficult time in the Church and in our nation.

“I feel with everything going on in our world and society, especially with politics these days, the message of Fatima is important,” Julie Frank, who is organizing a rosary rally at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Waterford, said. “It is very clear that the one thing we can do is pray the rosary and spread public awareness of the message of Fatima and the importance of the rosary.”

Flayter mentioned that the rosary “will always be relevant in everything we do and everything that’s going in the world today, especially in the United States.”

Kathy Lingle, a Catholic in Kenosha, where the rosary will be said three times Oct. 13, said this effort is important as it allows believers to practice their First Amendment rights — the freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble.

“In recent decades, I have seen our rights to speak about our religions and openly practice our religions erode,” Lingle said. “No prayer in schools, no private prayer on the football field, no crosses on public highways, parks or military cemeteries, no public nativity scenes, the list goes on. To me, freedom of religion means every religion should be entitled to openly and civilly honor God as they see him. This public rosary is a Catholic witness to our faith and a well-deserved honor to Jesus and his mother.”

Whether it’s a rosary rally organized by an individual parish or with another group, the rosary rally organizers hope that Catholics across the archdiocese honor Mary by praying the rosary on Oct. 13.

“I encourage people to come out for this, whether it’s this one (at St. Thomas Aquinas) or another,” said Frank. “The graces that you can receive from doing so, and the graces you can help others get, is immeasurable.”

Parish Rosary Rallies:

St. Alphonsus Parish, 6060 W. Loomis Road, Greendale: noon, Saturday, Oct. 13, in St. Alphonsus’ courtyard; in case of inclement weather, the group will move inside

St. Eugene Parish, 7600 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point: noon, Saturday, Oct. 13, in the parking lot

St. John XXIII Parish, 1800 N. Wisconsin St., Port Washington: noon, Saturday, Oct. 13   

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, 305 S. First St., Waterford: 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, outside in front of the church

Kenosha area: Holy Rosary Parish near the Pieta statue, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13

                        Civic Park sidewalk across from Kenosha Post Office, noon, Saturday, Oct. 13

                        Statue of Our Lady near St. Catherine’s Commons, 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13