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ITALY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics in Italy are fasting on bread and water and praying the Rosary together throughout the country.
On Friday, the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, the Italian Association Accompanying Marian Sanctuaries (Associazione Italiana Accompagnatori Santuari Mariani, or AIASM) sponsored a nationwide day of fasting, as well as a Rosary.
Organizers called it "Rosary at the Border" and praised the Rosary as "the most powerful peace initiative" for their country and the world.
The event's inspiration came from the "Rosary to the Borders" rally in Poland on October 7. Poland's Rosary to the Borders drew well over 1 million participants, making it the largest prayer event in Europe since the 2016 World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland.
Leaders of last week's "Rosary at the Border" never said it was about defending Poland's immigration policies. However, the Polish government has stood in defiance of the European Union's mandated quota of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Therefore, the immigration issue was likely on the minds of many participants.
In contrast, the stated goal of the Italy prayer initiative is "to ask Our Lady to save Italy and Europe from Islamic nihilism and from the denial of the Christian faith."
The event's organizers asked participants to make a good confession, be in a state of grace and fast on bread and water all day. They encouraged the faithful to gather in churches
The AIASM organizers described the event as "following the teachings of Mary and following the beautiful example of our Polish brothers."
The event description also noted, "Our Lady teaches us that the Rosary is the most powerful weapon against evil and that, along with fasting, it can stop wars and natural disasters."
Since the Italian peninsula is often called "the boot," owing to its boot-like shape on maps, one Polish news outlet put some clever wordplay in the headline, which reads, "The Italians fastened the 'boot' with the Rosary today."
In Poland, the Rosary crusade on October 7 featured hundreds of churches and other locales along the nation's borders. Friday's event in Italy, on the other hand, was not literally 'on the border' — at least not to the same extent — but nonetheless sought to espouse the same mentality, asking God to bless and defend the nation.