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St. Louis Catholics are declaring victory over threats to have the statue of their city's patron saint taken down. After weeks of offering daily Rosaries at the foot of the famed statue, Catholics gathered Tuesday evening, on the Feast of St. Louis, to celebrate.
Monsignor C. Eugene Morris told Church Militant, "I just want to encourage all of us to continue to have faith. We are victorious. That's what we're celebrating today." The celebration began with a two-mile procession from St. Luke the Evangelist Church to Forest Park where the statue keeps watch over the city.
Local activists were pressing for the statue to be removed. Catholics knew they had to take a stand. Charley Field, one of the Rosary group's founders, explained how the group got started. "That same week, Umar Lee, of course, had put out his petition, his article, saying that St. Louis should come down. And that, for us, was absolutely a bridge too far," he said.
June 27 was a frightening day of violent confrontations between activists and defenders of the statue. But Catholics were unfazed. The next day they were back at the foot of the saint, praying the Rosary — the group's weapon of choice.
Faith in the power of the Rosary is being renewed across the city. Participants gave testimony to its effectiveness in defending St. Louis. Jane Petry spoke with conviction of the commitment to prayer. "I think its time has come that people recognize the power of prayer and in particular the Rosary," Petry shared.
Dr. Pat Castle, leader of the Life Runners Team, came from Omaha, Nebraska to represent the unborn in the celebration's procession. He explained why St. Louis is worthy of defense: "We're defending the monk-king because he loved Jesus, he loved Mary and he defended justice."
Castle invoked the words of another beloved saint, saying, "The Rosary has real power. As St. Padre Pio said, 'Bring me my weapon.'"