Rosary at the Borders

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary Honored

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart with triumph.” — Fatima Apparitions

October 7th, 2017 marked “Rosary at the Borders,” the largest prayer event since World Youth Day in Krakow last year. The date was chosen to honor the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Estimated hundreds of thousands to one million joined together in prayer for peace in Poland and the whole world. Organized by lay Polish Catholics. People of faith lined the 2,00-mile border but also prayed in airports, planes and on ships. Any gateway to the country. Solemn masses and litanies to the saints preceded the rosary. Then each of the four mysteries was said, meditating well over two hours. Human Life International’s (HLI) Affilate representatives in Poland, Eva and Lech Kowalewski, participated. Lech explained: “When we prayed half the time, we stood back with our backs to the border and facing Poland – praying for peace in Poland. Then we turned round and faced outward to the border, praying for the whole world.”

Astonishingly, praying for peace was actually criticized by the BBC, Associated Press, New York Times and others. The gathering was labeled by some as “backward,” “controversial,” xenophobic, etc. Over 90% of Poles are Catholic, the event was endorsed by Catholic leaders and involved Catholics from 320 churches from 22 dioceses, according to the New York Times. So the question remains: what right anyone has to criticize any Catholic’s free exercise of religion? Such judgmental commentary is bigoted and truly “backward.”

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us

Because October 7th also marked the anniversary of the famed Battle of Lepanto, when Christians famously defeated Muslims in a great victory, thereby saving Europe from conversion to Islam, some in the media and elsewhere felt the move was critical towards Muslims. HLI’s Lech Kowalewski: “Most Poles do not know what Battle of Lepanto is. We were not allowed to learn about it in school. But we all know this is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The date for this prayerful effort was chosen only because of this feast, because of the love Polish people have for Mary, the Mother of God, and in obedience to the Fatima message urging people to pray the rosary, as a powerful weapon against evil.” This year marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions in Portugal, and also fell on a first Saturday of the month. Our Lady, during those apparitions, urged the three young children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, “Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.” 

HLI’s Lech Kowalewski: “The purpose of prayer was for peace. Peace in Poland understood as the complete absence of conflict. In politics, in families, in life everywhere. We must remember Mother Teresa and what told Poles about peace and abortion. The contraceptive mentality is also a symptom of fear and hate of the unborn child. This is not peace.”

Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with praying for Catholicism in a Europe that is dying to Christianity. To pray against atheism, secularism, relativism. The New York Times quoted Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Krakow, who said during his Saturday morning homily, people should pray for “Europe to remain Europe. Let’s pray for other nations of Europe and the world to understand that we need to return to the Christian roots of European culture if we want Europe to remain Europe.”

Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, moral theologian and consulting editor for the Catholic Herald in the UK, stated online: “Controversial? I don’t think so. Catholics have been doing these things for centuries. Let’s hope we continue doing them for centuries to come. As the website of the organizers of the Polish event reminds us, the rosary is a powerful weapon against evil. Let’s keep on using it!”

Lech and Eva Kowalewski from HLI’s Polish Affiliate contributed to this report.

About Deborah M. Piroch

Deborah M. Piroch graduated from Mount Holyoke College, the nation’s oldest women’s college, with a double major in German and English Literature. She studied abroad and earned her M.A. in English Literature from Indiana University. Fluent in German, she began her career in international journalism working for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. Returning to the States after a three-year contract, she worked as arts reporter and producer on prime time shows for WQED-FM in Pittsburgh, then a top 20 market. After another three years, she was hired by EWTN Global Catholic Network as news director, anchor and writer for “Catholic World Today,” but soon transitioned into television. Highlights of her 15 years at EWTN include co-anchoring the U.S. March for Life with Marcus Grodi on more than one occasion, live translating the election of Pope Benedict XVI into German, interviewing two former U.S. Presidential candidates and producing Father Benedict Groeschel’s prime time program from its inception for six years. Named the Network’s first International Production Coordinator, she also proposed, budgeted and executed TV shoots in Scotland, England, Norway, Sweden and Germany. Most recently she served as Director of PR for Human Life International.

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