Public Rosary gatherings being led
at parishes throughout the diocese

By Father Brendan O’Rourke, I.V.E.
Parochial Vicar
St. Anthony of Padua Parish, New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Over the past few weeks a wonderful new Catholic initiative has begun and is now bearing fruit in several parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese. 


Some months ago, a group of lay Catholics and some priests met at St. Anthony of Padua Church on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford to discuss the crisis in our Church and in our nation. There they came up with some practical ways to renew our Church and nation in conjunction with the 2019 Rosary Coast to Coast event that will take place on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 throughout the country. 

Some of the suggestions included a request to ask all Catholics and non-Catholics to offer their prayers, fasting and penance in reparation for the sins committed against Jesus and for the conversion of our nation, our Church, our families and the world. Also to ask that all Catholics avail themselves of all that their parishes offer — Holy Mass, Adoration, Rosaries and any other prayer meetings — and to offer these prayers so that Our Lord Jesus, Our Lady and St. Joseph may bring about the results that are so desperately needed.

Since that time the response to this small, grassroots Catholic initiative has grown and there are now a number of parishes actively participating with public Rosary prayer gatherings and additional First Friday/First Saturday Vigils of Adoration, in reparation to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. 

In addition, some of the parishes in the Fall River Diocese have agreed to participate in the 54-Day Rosary Novena for the renewal of our Church and nation (which starts on August 15 and concludes on October 7) and to attend the local gathering for the nationwide Rosary Coast to Coast prayer rally and procession, which will be held on October 13 at 3 p.m. at Fort Taber/Fort Rodman in New Bedford.

In our world today, our age is replete with many disturbing signs, including the culture of death — abortion; the proposed anti-life, anti-Christian “Equality Act”; new laws passed in New York and beyond approving infanticide; non-traditional Marriage indoctrination taking place in many schools in our nation; drag queen story hours in public libraries to attack the innocence of children; increasing secularization and socialist ideologies; and the clerical sexual abuse scandals, which have provoked well-justified hostility towards religious institutions. 

It is evident that we are living through turbulent times that demand an active response and we need to keep in mind that what Christian believers do now will determine the future for our children and their children, for our nation, and ultimately for our Church and the building of the Kingdom of God on earth. 

In view of the critical times in which we live, we invite and ask all Catholics and lay-Catholic associations and ministries and parishes to join in this Catholic prayer initiative, especially with public prayer of the Rosary, and the 54-day Novena on August 15 (the Holy Day of the Assumption) and concluding on October 7 (the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary), specifically for the renewal of our Church and nation, and to join in the Rosary Coast to Coast public prayer rally and procession in New Bedford.

In the interim, all the Catholic members of the various parishes in the Fall River Diocese are invited to try to organize and attend their own weekly public Rosary prayer gathering (please contact your pastor and get permission) and to unite with the other parishes to help encircle the Fall River Diocese and our priests and world in prayer for the conversion of our nation, renewal of our Church, our families and the world. 

 Catholics are also invited to participate on Friday, June 28 with Rosary prayers for the 10th anniversary of the annual global Rosary Relay for the sanctification of priests and in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, Mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons. 

Parishes that are already responding include:

•  St. Mary’s Church, 114 St. Mary’s Square, Taunton. Public Rosary outside every Thursday at 7:15 p.m. during July and August.

•  Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church, 233 County Street, New Bedford. Public Rosary prayer every Wednesday at 7 p.m. during the months of June, July and August.

•  St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford. Public Rosary on Fridays at 7 p.m. in front of the church on Acushnet Avenue, during months of June, July, August, and the first two weeks in September. Anyone and everyone can attend. For more information please call the parish office at 508-993-1691.

If you are unable to unite with any of the above sites, please consider praying the Rosary at home or form your own prayer groups. We suggest, if you can, that you pray the Rosary outdoors, in front of a statue, so that passersby will see you and possibly join with you in praying the Rosary. Even if they don’t stop, you are publicly witnessing to the importance of prayer.

More information of further locations in which weekly public Rosary gatherings are being held will be publicized as they become available.

Parishes are urged to include the Rosary prayer information in their parish bulletins and to also share the details with Father Brendan O’Rourke, c/o St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, Mass. 02746; 508-993-1691;

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