Greece group stages rosary initiative - Catholic Courier
Agnes Falbo, a parishioner of Greece's St. Lawrence Church, prays the rosary during an Oct. 10 rosary rally at the corner of Long Pond and Latta Roads in Greece. Agnes Falbo, a parishioner of Greece's St. Lawrence Church, prays the rosary during an Oct. 10 rosary rally at the corner of Long Pond and Latta Roads in Greece.

Greece group stages rosary initiative

GREECE — Noontime traffic on Oct. 10 was heavy at Latta and Long Pond roads, one of the busiest parts of town. In sharp contrast to the hundreds of vehicles buzzing along on this sunny Saturday, more than 20 people huddled together in prayer near the intersection’s southwest corner.

Participants recited the rosary and other prayers, brandishing a large sign stating "Pray the Rosary for America — Please Join Us!" In addition, this sentence appeared on the sign: "As human efforts fail to solve America’s key problems, we turn to God, through his Holy Mother, asking his urgent help." Many heads of car occupants turned; a few horns honked.

The effort was part of a Public Square Rosary Crusade initiative that day in thousands of locales across the United States — including several in the Diocese of Rochester — in conjunction with America Needs Fatima. This national organization ( annually coordinates the crusades on the Saturday closest to Oct. 13, the date of the final apparition of the Blessed Mother in 1917 to three children in the Portuguese community of Fatima.

If the scene at Latta and Long Pond looked familiar to passersby, that’s because Greece-area Catholics had been congregating at the same corner for the past four years as part of an additional effort by America Needs Fatima. These rosary gatherings are held on or near the 13th of each month between May and October, signifying the Marian apparitions received by the children of Fatima on that day of the month from May to October 1917.

All the prayer efforts at Latta and Long Pond have been headed up since their inception by Nancy Weiland, a parishioner of St. Mark in Greece, who acts as the area’s "rosary rally captain" for America Needs Fatima. Weiland recalled with a chuckle that all of this may never have happened if she hadn’t opened what she called a "mysterious" e-mail back in 2011.

It turned out to be a blanket message from America Needs Fatima looking for additional volunteers. On the verge of dismissing the e-mail as spam, Weiland opened it and became intrigued by the America Needs Fatima effort — so much so that she decided to pay a visit to the America Needs Fatima headquarters in Kansas. Weiland, noting that she had never previously driven alone beyond Cleveland, said she first drove to the Eternal Word Television Network offices in Alabama and then journeyed on to Kansas, where she spent two weeks volunteering for America Needs Fatima.

"It was very gratifying," she said, adding that she was convinced her unprecedented travels were guided by the Holy Spirit: "This isn’t something I thought of."

From there, Weiland coordinated the first Public Square Rosary Rally Campaign at Latta and Long Pond in October 2011, followed by the first six-month initiative the following spring. According to America Needs Fatima, reasons for staging these prayer efforts include bringing back fallen-away Catholics and converting non-Catholics; praying for the conversion of America and a stop to all the evils in our society such as abortion; utilizing the power of public prayer; and conveying a message to the public that’s largely absent in secular media.

Weiland said the rosary groups at Latta and Long Pond have generally been received positively since they began their public efforts.

"Mostly there we get beeps and high-fives," she noted, adding that she would like to see more people stop and join in prayer.

Weiland also is a regular Saturday-morning participant in praying the rosary near the Planned Parenthood facility on Ridge Road West, where pro-life advocates protest that organization’s practice of providing abortions. Come springtime, she’s looking forward to kicking off another set of monthly rosary gatherings at Latta and Long Pond.

She acknowledged that becoming a leader with America Needs Fatima wasn’t a role she had ever envisioned for herself, but is confident of the reason why it all happened.

"I think God presents us with things when he knows we can handle them," she said.


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