DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Catholics throughout the United States are praying the Rosary together for their country.
The grassroots initiative is called "Rosary on the Coasts and Borders." It is modeled after Poland's "Rosary to the Borders," Italy's "Rosary on the Border" and Ireland's "Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith." These were all national prayer rallies petitioning the Blessed Mother to protect the respective nations.
The U.S. Rosary on the Coasts and Borders will take place on Tuesday, December 12. There is no fixed time for reciting the Rosary but 3:00 pm in every time zone is gently recommended. Some states have their own time set up, too.
The organizing for this Rosary event all began a little over a month ago in the comments section on a few Church Militant articles.
Participants are required to pray a five-decade Rosary (with the accompanying opening and closing prayers). They are also invited to offer up fasting and other penances and to say additional prayers of their choosing such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
A Disqus page for the Rosary initiative states, "It is also recommended we ensure we are in a state of grace: how about going to Confession this Saturday? Fasting in preparation would be excellent. Let us say the Sorrowful Mysteries."
Organizers say they have recruited participants from all 50 states and three more from D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam respectively. This was done to signify the 53 "Hail Mary" beads on a Rosary.
We asked them about the total number of people participating. They could not give an exact number but noted "there are hundreds by now."
This is in contrast with the prayer initiatives in Europe, which organizers envisioned as large circles surrounding their nations at the boundaries. The size and shape of the United States, however, make such an effort impractical.
One of the initiative's organizers related on Disqus, "Various California groups will be on the beaches in the West, [and] there are people also planning to pray on East coast beaches, so it looks like we will bookend the continent east to west. And with Canadians and Mexicans on board as well, [N]orth to South also I guess!"
Another organizer confirmed, "We also have several people from other countries praying with us and for us as well!"
This organizer added, "This is a 'Wild West' Rosary. Each Representative is doing as and how seems best to him."
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on which the national Rosary will occur, commemorates a series of miraculous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in December of 1531.
At that time, the Blessed Mother appeared to a baptized Indian named Juan Diego on several occasions near the town of Guadalupe — now a modern-day suburb of Mexico City. He reported the encounter to Church authorities who were understandably skeptical and wanted a sign from Our Lady.
Our Lady instructed Juan Diego to gather flowers from Tepeyac, a nearby hill that was normally barren. When Diego arrived at Tepeyac, he found the hill blossoming with Castilian roses — an Old World flower not then found in Mexico.
Diego gathered the flowers and following Mary's instructions carried them in a garment called a tilma to present to Abp. Fray Juan de Zumárraga of Mexico City.
When he appeared before the archbishop, Juan Diego loosed his tilma to show the flowers. The flowers fell to the floor, and a miraculous image of Our Lady appeared on his tilma.
The supernatural image imprinted on Juan Diego's garment shows Mary looking somewhat like the indigenous people. Much of her clothing had rich meaning for the indigenous tribes. For instance, the rope tied around her torso (only the tassels are visible, as the rest is covered by the prayerful gesture of her arms) was a sign of pregnancy in the native culture.
The miracles at Guadalupe led to the conversion of many Native Americans in modern-day Mexico. One historian estimates that 9 million natives were baptized into the Church from 1531–1539.
The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is preserved to this day in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the official patroness of the Americas. She is also often invoked under that title by the U.S. pro-life movement.
Organizers confirmed that the December 12 Rosary is indeed dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.