MILWAUKEE – On Saturday, Oct. 16, at noon across the United States, 5,743 groups will gather for the America Needs Fatima (ANF) public square rosary rallies to offer “public reparation for public sins.”

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ANF is a non-profit campaign by Catholics whose goal is “to win the heart and soul of America for Mary” by spreading Our Lady’s 1917 Fatima message to the three shepherd children Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, and promoting devotion to her Immaculate Heart by way of pro-life rallies, anti-blasphemy protests, the distribution of millions of fliers nationwide, a home visitation program enthroning statues of Our Lady of Fatima, and the promotion of books and devotional items.

In 2009, 4,337 rosary rally captains organized groups to pray the rosary in front of town halls, in busy intersections, in front of malls, and other public locations, to honor Fatima’s miracle of the sun. Those rally captains were joined by tens of thousands of individuals who put aside their work to go out and pray in public. The goal of the organization is to reach 10,000 rosary rallies by 2017, and according to organizers in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, it all begins with people in the pew.

“I believe in ‘America Needs Fatima,’” said Marjorie Narlock, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary, West Allis, and a three-year veteran of the organization. “I contribute to them because I think it’s a good cause and we celebrate Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima on this day, and we try to get everyone that we can to have a rally out in the open.”

Narlock is coordinating the rosary rally at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 1545 S. 69th St., West Allis. While she acknowledges that any kind of prayer is powerful, holding a rally in public helps reinforce the message, she said.

“Private prayers are fine, but we want to get testimony out in public rallies,” she said. “For public sins, public reparation is the top way of getting Our Lady to listen, and when everybody does it on the same day, the same hour, that should really cause some stir up in heaven.”

Judy Hankel of St. William, Waukesha, is organizing her second rally at the Archdiocesan Marian Shrine, 141 N. 68th St., Milwaukee, on the corner of 68th and Stevenson streets. She believes that the United States needs God’s mercy, and attending these rallies will help our country receive it.

“I think more Catholics need to say the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and do prayer, fasting and penance, which is called for by Our Lady of Fatima,” she explained. “That was her message really, to do prayer, fasting and penance, say the rosary. Now, of course, we have also the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which I think is a powerful prayer, but also said on rosary beads.

“I think our country is in trouble, because we’re taking God out of it,” she added. “I think we need to put God back into this country and make God first in our lives again.”

According to Hankel, the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet are powerful tools.

“I would like to ask people in all the churches in the archdiocese to consider saying the rosary and the chaplet every day if they can,” she said. “And particularly, before Sunday Mass. I would like to see the churches start it up again. I think years ago they used to say the rosary before the Masses, but just think the impact it would make just to say the rosary before all the Masses on Sunday.”

Bob Shanley, a member of St. Mary, Menomonee Falls, is organizing his third rosary rally at St. Anthony Church, N74 W13604 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls. While most of the organized rosary rallies have their own schedule of events throughout the day, Shanley has discovered one that works well.

“We have a schedule or a program that we work off of,” he explained about the typically one-hour event. “We welcome the people, we thank them for coming, and we give information on why we should pray the public rosary for the Blessed Mother.” Music, programs and large banners are part of his rally, according to Shanley.

“The banner is big, and it says, ‘Pray the rosary for America. As human efforts fail to solve America’s key problems, we turn to God through his Holy Mother, asking his urgent help.’”