PORT ST. LUCIE | Rosaries were prayed in public throughout the diocese Oct. 13-14, commemorating the 106th anniversary of the “miracle of the sun” in Fatima, Portugal. In Port St. Lucie, the faithful gathered both days to pray a public rosary honoring the anniversary.
The miracle occurred in Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917, with the sun rotating, getting larger and smaller, according to eyewitness reports. The sun seemed to dance, and “believers and even non-believers immediately dropped onto their knees and begged for forgiveness,” a recent Catholic News Agency story said. It was widely reported that it had rained heavily, but when the miracle was over, the people were no longer wet.
Morning rain didn’t dampen the ardor of people alongside Port St. Lucie Boulevard in Port St. Lucie Oct. 13. As the people gathered to pray, the sun poked through the clouds, shining on the colorful umbrellas and rosaries glittering in the sun.
“Today is just like that day on Oct. 13, 1917, when it rained and then the sun came out,” said Frank J. Seidl, America Needs Fatima leader. “Our organization is doing this in 22,000 places all over the United States,” he said. The world needs to pray because of “all the immorality, divorce and for the killing of the innocent with abortion, even in my country of Brazil.”
Maria Egerton, who has organized public prayer vigils in the area for many years, said, “The miracle of the sun was a miracle to show the people what the children were saying all those months was true.”
Laura Dube, a member of St. Bernadette Parish in Port St. Lucie who attended the Friday rosary rally with her four children, said, “I want my children here because children’s prayers are so powerful, and that is why we are here today for world peace.”
A second rosary rally was Oct. 14 in the outdoor grotto at St. Bernadette Parish in Port St. Lucie. Parishioner and Council of Catholic Women member Maria Maneos organized the prayer event. “I am doing this because Our Lady at Fatima said to pray the rosary in order to have peace in the world and to pray for reparation of sin and the conversion of sinners,” she said.
Sister Mary Jennifer Wandia, of the Adorers of the Missionary Sisters of the Poor, attended the rosary rally in the grotto. The parish’s rosary maker ministry supplies her with rosaries for missions in Africa.
“Many of my sisters go all around the country in Tanzania and Kenya in the schools promoting the rosary,” Sister Wandia said. “The children don’t have the money to buy a rosary, so when they get a rosary put in their hands, it is a gift to them. They know that it is important, and they start praying.
“We need to get down on our knees and pray and promote the rosary with everybody, including children, mothers, fathers, especially in families,” she said. “We need to pray from the heart and it has to come from within, and then it is going to bear fruit, the fruits of conversion.”
Sister Wandia said it is important to practice Eucharistic adoration. “Praying the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament is very powerful because you are asking Mary, the mother of Jesus, to intercede for us before her Son, and so that prayer will not go unheard.”
Terri Abel, St. Bernadette parishioner and member of America Needs Fatima, said, “Every year they have a rosary rally all over America and we have to pray, pray, pray. Prayer and Masses are the only thing that will help us.”
Another parishioner, Lois Peith, said, “I will do this as long as I can to honor our Blessed Mother. The world and America, our country, need so many prayers. We are in a battle of good vs. evil.”
In Fatima in 1917, there were six apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children: Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The first apparition occurred on May 13. During subsequent visits, the children reported various messages delivered by Our Lady, including a request for prayer, penance and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, culminating with the sixth and last apparition, the miracle of the sun. The central message of Fatima was “prayer, penance and conversion.”
For more information on St. Bernadette’s rosary makers, rosary prayer groups or the Legion of Mary, call 772-336-9956 or go to https://stbernadetteslw.org. To learn more about America Needs Fatima and to have a rosary rally at your parish, visit americaneedsfatima.org.