DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Thirty-thousand faithful Catholics gathered in Ireland Sunday afternoon to pray the Rosary. Their intentions were for the preservation of the Faith and for the defense of the right to life.
The Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith took place this past Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King (in the Ordinary Form calendar). Organizers say over 30,000 people showed up at 295 registered locations, with an unknown number joining the initiative at their homes and around the world.
As the event's name indicates, most registered locations were on Ireland's coast. Catholics in the town of Ballycastle in Northern Ireland filmed their seaside Rosary rally on Sunday.
Sunday's weather forecast was very harsh, but the organizers of coastal Rosary say the weather cleared up for a few hours in the afternoon — just in time for Rosary at afternoon.
Organizers were stunned by the huge turnout, especially considering the bad weather. They told Church Militant in an email Tuesday, "The turnout was incredible."
A press release on Monday from the Rosary rally's organizers stated, "Despite 'yellow' weather alerts of freezing snow, sleet and high winds, tens of thousands of people gathered on the coasts of Ireland to pray for the protection of life and the preservation and flourishing of the Faith on the island of Ireland."
The prayer initiative involved both the Republic of Ireland and the U.K. member-state Northern Ireland. The two countries have some of the strongest pro-life laws in the world. In both countries, abortion is prohibited in almost all circumstances.
However, leftist politicians are trying to pressure the Irish to embrace unfettered abortion.
For example, women from Northern Ireland can get an abortion free of charge in Scotland, England or Wales. The costs of the abortion are covered by Britain's single-payer healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS).
Worse yet for pro-lifers, the U.K. government can even pay for some women's travel expenses if they cross the sea from Northern Ireland to get an abortion.
Northern Ireland's largest pro-life organization, Precious Life, slammed this travel-expense measure in an October press release:
Those who meet defined financial hardship criteria will be eligible for the measure, meaning that low income women will not only be allowed 'free' abortions on the NHS (which in actuality costs the UK taxpayer at least £600 per abortion) but will also be provided with free travel and accommodation.
Some of the coastal Rosary locations had statues of Our Lady and a few with Marian processions before the Rosary.
Priests and bishops were present at some locations, some preaching to the crowd and leading the Rosary.
The prayer initiative's planners told Church Militant, "We know of at least seven bishops who attended prayer locations and an amazing number of diocesan and order priests, in particular Dominicans!"
Sunday was also the vigil of the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Therefore, participants buried Miraculous Medals on the Irish coasts "to form a 'hedge of protection' around Ireland," according to Monday's press release.
The press release concludes, "Our Lady is leading the way in Ireland and the world, and her way leads to her Son, Jesus Christ the King."
Sunday was chosen as the date because the Feast of Christ the King is of special importance to the Irish. Ireland boasts of having the first cathedral dedicated to Our Blessed Lord under His kingly title, specifically Christ the King Cathedral, located in Mullingar, County Westmeath.
The large turnout for Sunday's coastal Rosary was a pleasant surprise. The Catholic Church in Ireland has been hit hard by militant secularism from without and theological dissent from within.
Among young people, the Catholic Faith is becoming more and more unpopular. An analysis of census data found that Irishmen who identify as "no religion" shot up by 74 percent between 2011–2016. They now make up roughly 10 percent of the population in the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish have had generations of poor catechesis, leaving young Irish as easy prey for anti-Catholic propaganda.
In October, one of the Rosary rally organizers told Church Militant about the shoddy condition of the Church in Ireland. She claimed, "There has been a tourniquet on Ireland that has stopped the transmission of the Faith since the 1960s. I have lived here since 1970. I watched it happen. Teaching the Faith ended in the school (which the parents relied on)."
In 2011, Church Militant's own Michael Voris visited Ireland and filmed a few episodes of The Vortex there. In one episode, he asked young people on the streets about religion.
His findings seemed to confirm the census data. Almost none of the young people Voris spoke with believed the Catholic Faith or attended Mass every Sunday. One young woman he spoke with declared, "We believe what we want to believe."
The Emerald Isle is home to several heretical organizations such as We Are Church Ireland (WACI) and Association of Catholic Priests (ACP). Unsurprisingly, WACI and ACP often work together to coordinate "gay pride" Masses in parishes throughout Ireland. The two groups support same-sex "marriage" and pine for female ordination.
Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith was in the works for well over a month. At one point in October, there were two separate committees trying to organize a national Rosary. One group planned for November 26, while the other planned for December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (a holy day of obligation). Upon realizing the redundancy, the two committees got in touch and agreed to merge into a single effort.