One Million Rosaries and more for Fatima Centennial celebration

Next year will mark 100 years since Our Lady appeared to the young shepherds at Fatima in Portugal, and Lakewood’s own Our Lady of Fatima Parish is already preparing to go all out to celebrate the centennial anniversary.

A multitude of events from now until next October are planned at Our Lady of Fatima, not the least of which includes Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila consecrating the parish as a pilgrimage site on Oct. 23 until Oct. 14, 2017. However, perhaps the biggest event Our Lady of Fatima is hosting for the centennial celebration is a “One Million Rosaries” campaign, which is already underway.

In planning the events for the celebration, Fatima centennial coordinator Mary Herzogenrath said the thought to hold a rosary campaign came to her one morning at 5:13 a.m. — an appropriately providential time, she said, considering Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day is May 13. “It’s all about the rosary,” she thought, and the next day she shared her idea with the planning committee.

They initially decided on 500,000 rosaries prayed, but Herzogenrath said they decided to “reach for the stars” and go for 1,000,000 rosaries prayed by October 2017. Anybody anywhere in the world can participate in the campaign, and can log their rosaries prayed by going to the Fatima Centennial website and clicking the “Record My Tally” button on the right-hand side of the page. As of this writing, they have over 443,000 rosaries prayed, and that number is steadily increasing.

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Our Lady of Fatima parish in Lakewood is planning many different events for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima in Portugal. The parish will be consecrated as a pilgrimage site Oct. 23 until Oct. 14, 2017. (Photo by James Baca | Denver Catholic)

The website has a counter that keeps track of the rosaries prayed, but Our Lady of Fatima also keeps track at their church through a brightly illuminated rosary light that hangs on the outside of the parish.

Other events happening in the remainder of 2016 at Our Lady of Fatima for this centennial celebration include a living rosary led by school children Oct. 21 and a talk on the topic of the rosary by Dr. Edward Sri Nov. 16. In 2017, they will host a choir concert in February or March, a three-day visit from the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima in September and much more that’s in the planning stages.

Our Lady of Fatima is one of the Catholic Church’s most popular apparitions and devotions. Our Lady appeared to three young shepherds on May 13, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal. It was the first of several appearances she would make to them over a six-month period. During the last apparition, Our Lady announced, “I am the Lady of the Rosary” and instructed the people of the earth to ask forgiveness from the Lord for their sins. Then, the sun grew pale and began emitting every color of the spectrum before coming closer and closer to earth. According to tradition, this phenomenon has come to be known as the “dancing sun.”

Fatima Centennial

To stay up to date on the Fatima Centennial events and to participate in the One Million Rosaries campaign, visit

COMING UP: Rosary rallies promote prayer in the public square

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A rosary crusader and Catholic Charities are teaming up to bring rosary rallies back to Denver.

Sam Perry, a member of the board of trustees for the Catholic Foundation, is the man behind Prayer in the Square, a new initiative that aims to renew devotion to the rosary.

Perry’s grandmother inspired his love for the rosary, praying it every day. He even attributes the rosary to saving lives in his family, as he was cured of rheumatic fever and sister from polio under their grandmother’s care.

Perry became determined to spread the devotion by simply giving away rosaries. To date, he estimates he has handed out over 25,000 rosaries to parishes throughout Northern Colorado. Then he read a book about rosary rallies and was inspired to make the devotion even more public.

“I read about rosary rallies and thought we should resurrect them,” Perry said. “If they can get a million people downtown for the Bronco’s game, why shouldn’t we be able to do it?”

Perry approached Catholic Charities CEO Larry Smith with his idea.

“The whole point of Prayer in the Square is to bring people of good will into public spaces to pray for the innocents who are being killed around the world,” Smith said.

While Prayer in the Square events have taken place around the archdiocese for months, a large one will take place at the Capitol in downtown Denver on April 2. Those present will pray a rosary and a Divine Mercy chaplet, alternating between English and Spanish.

“I’m looking forward to the sight of a bunch of people, many of them kneeling, getting people’s attention,” Perry said.

Prayer in the Square will focus on praying for all the innocents being slaughtered around the world, with a special emphasis on Christians in the Middle East and the unborn.

“We want to get as many people to pray for life as we can. We want to honor life and Mary,” Smith said.

Perry said that the Capitol made logistical sense, as it can hold many people. He said the location is also optimal because of its visibility and frequently used symbolism.

“I see all those other rallies for all these various causes, and none of them include God, or very few,” Perry said. “Our country needs the prayers. I’m hoping the participants experience something like Lourdes or Fatima—just an overwhelming sense of peace.”

For more information, visit