WILKES-BARRE – Weaving through the streets of downtown Wilkes-Barre, hundreds of area Catholics participated in a Rosary Rally procession with a Pilgrim Virgin Fatima statue on Sunday afternoon.
This was the 37th annual Rosary Rally held by the combined chapters of the Wyoming Valley Knights of Columbus.
Christopher Calore, Rosary Rally chairperson and member of the Knights of Columbus, Plymouth, Chapter 984, said the procession is a way for Catholics to show their faith and offer prayers for the sins of the world.
St. Mary’s message was to make repentance of sins of the world through prayer and self sacrifice, he said.
As the Knights of Columbus, in full-dress uniform, lead the procession, rosaries of all colors and styles dangled from the hands of parishioners who were reciting the appropriate prayer each bead represented.
The Pilgrim Virgin Fatima statue was carried through the streets and rested in front of the congregation in St. Mary’s Church.
Calore said the reaction of downtown residents and patrons as the procession walked past was one of surprise.
“We passed store fronts and pubs,” he said. “Many would come outside and watched. I think it reminded them of the Catholic processions of their childhood.”
The procession began at 2 p.m. in the parking area of Holy Redeemer High School, Wilkes-Barre, over East South Street, to South Main Street, over East Market Street and down South Washington Street to St. Mary’s Church.
Marion Devotions were at 3 p.m. followed by a Mass at 3:20 p.m. with Monsignor Thomas Banick presiding.
Inside St. Mary’s, people filtered in, greeting one another. Calore estimated there were about 300 or more people.
“This was a better turnout than last year,” he said.
Banick told of the three messages of the Fatima that were given to three shepherd children in Portugal from May through October in 1917. The Pilgrim Virgin Fatima statue is said to be designed based on the descriptions from the children.
Calore said one of the three miracles predicted by St. Mary, which was recorded, was after a long stretch of rainy weather; the sun came out and spun violently around, drying the clothes of the people where they stood.
It was noted the sun seemed to get closer, Calore said.