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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (ChurchMilitant.com) - In October 2017, one million Polish Catholics made their way to their nation's borders to beg Our Lady's intercession through the Rosary. Over the past seven months, Catholics in Ireland, Italy, France, Britain and Australia have been inspired to do the same. Now, it's America's turn.
On October 7, 2018, the Rosary Coast to Coast campaign will unite Catholics from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the 49th Parallel to the Rio Grande — and beyond — in prayer for the soul of the United States. Sponsored by the Holy League, the initiative seeks to "heal our country and return it to holiness" by rallying Catholics to "call upon God through the powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary."
Speaking with Church Militant Monday, Rosary Coast to Coast co-organizer Fr. Richard Heilman described the initiative as a "clarion call" to stand against the growing infestation of the diabolical. Satan is "entering into our nation," he warned, and Catholics are called to turn back the assault.
Across the country, Rosary Coast to Coast will draw Catholics together to pray for America to return to God.
Participants are invited to gather on October 7 along American coasts and borders, in parish churches, in front of state capitols, as families or while viewing the live-stream of the National Rosary Rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
The event will take place simultaneously across all U.S. time zones: 4 p.m. ET; 3 p.m. CT; 2 p.m. MT; 1 p.m. PT; 12 p.m AT; and 10 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian.
Fr. Heilman explained the roots of Rosary Coast to Coast were laid during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, a point when "so many believed prayer was very much needed for our nation."
The Holy League team responded to this need by leading the "Novena for Our Nation," a 54-Day Rosary Novena campaign, from August 15 (the Feast of the Assumption) to October 7 (the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary).
Through that effort, Fr. Heilman noted: "an estimated 40,000-plus participants have been connected through social media and our growing email list."
The 2017 Fatima centenary splashed fuel to the growing fire. "In the midst of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima," the Wisconsin priest explained, "we saw Poland's amazing Rosary movement," the Rosary on the Borders. "Not too long after that," he said, "Ireland organized something very similar, and then just recently on April 29, the British Isles did the same."
"Thanks to the inspiration of Poland, Ireland and the British Isles," Fr. Heilman added, "many are understanding how necessary it is for us to become a mighty force of prayer to be reckoned with."
The Holy League responded by reaching out to Rosary campaign coordinators in other nations. As a result, organizers from Poland, Ireland, Britain, Australia and other countries have pledged to join the United States in the August 15–October 7 Novena for Our Nation and its culmination, the Rosary Coast to Coast. "We are hopeful that this may lead to a worldwide Rosary event on October 7, 2018," Fr. Heilman explained.
Inside the United States, the response to the initiative has been equally impressive.
"We launched Rosary Coast to Coast on Holy Saturday," Fr. Heilman recounted. "We were hopeful many would agree with this need but our hope quickly turned to shock as the response far exceeded our expectations."
Less than six weeks later, priests, religious and laity have signed up to lead Rosary events in more than 250 locations across the United States. Additionally, organizers have sent letters to all U.S. bishops alerting them to the event and several are responding with statements of support.
Father Heilman is attributing great spiritual significance to the Rosary Coast to Coast initiative. "I believe this is a watershed moment for our nation," he said. In the past 100 years, he continued, Satan has "moved unabated" across the country and the world. "I am in the school of thought that believes this was due, by and large, to our forgetfulness of the supernatural."
Satan has been empowered, he said, "mostly because we removed our spiritual armor — grace — and dropped our spiritual weapons, such as the Rosary. We have been naked on the battlefield of spiritual warfare."
But, he added:
This is changing and changing fast. There is an emerging belief in the power of God that is seen in the return of reverent Masses, and even the return of the Traditional Latin Mass and a return to devotions, especially a devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary. Satan seems as mad as ever because of this, and he seems to be warring against those who "believe" (Revelation 12:17). We must be brave and stay strong and accept our call to fight against evil.
Father Heilman is calling Catholics to take part in Rosary Coast to Coast and to prepare by participating worthily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by going to confession and by going before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration.
"It is in confession that we are made pure, ready to receive the grace of God," he observed. "Adoration has the wonderful effect of softening our hearts to receive God's grace, as well and to deepen our belief in the supernatural power of God."
"And, of course," he added, Catholics must "pray a daily Rosary, especially for the souls of loved ones who have fallen away from the Faith. This was Our Lady's call at Fatima."
In his conversation with Church Militant, Fr. Heilman pointed to Bp. Thomas Olmsted's 2015 apostolic exhortation "Into the Breach," in which the Phoenix prelate calls Catholic men to take up spiritual arms and engage in "the battle that is raging all around you."
Echoing Bp. Olmsted, the Wisconsin priest is calling all Catholics to join the fight. "We must stand in the breach," he said. "We all must be willing to say, 'I'm Going In.'"
He affirms that if we choose to take up the Rosary we can, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, reclaim the United States for God.