Below is Valerie Schmalz's article in this week's edition of Catholic San Francisco. You can see more photos at the "gallery" page of the Rosary Rally website.
Archbishop leads Eucharistic Procession
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone carried the exposed Eucharist in a monstrance through the streets of San Francisco, as more than 1,000 Catholics processed in a public display of faith from St. Mary’s Cathedral to United Nations Plaza for the fourth annual rosary rally Oct. 11.
Procession down Van Ness Avenue (photo courtesy Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco)
“Pope Francis prays three rosaries a day,” said keynote speaker Father Andrew Apostoli, co-founder with Father Benedict Groeschel in 1988 of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, urging the about 2,000 people gathered in the Indian summer sun at the noon rally to pray the rosary daily.
“The key to world peace is to be praying the rosary,” said Father Apostoli, an expert on the 1916 revelations of the Blessed Mother to the three children at Fatima, Portugal.
The day’s events begin with 10 a.m. Mass in Spanish for Hispanic Ministry Day at the cathedral, followed by a procession past City Hall to U.N. Plaza. The rally included reciting the luminous mysteries, speeches, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction.
The Archbishop and the faithful in Adoration of Our Lord. (photo courtesy Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco)
“Our Lady’s great concern was to save souls from being lost,” Father Apostoli told rally participants, repeatedly urging all to pray the rosary daily as the Blessed Mother told the children in each of her six appearances at Fatima. “She even let those three children see a vision of hell so that they could tell us hell was a real thing and we don’t want to go there.”
The rosary rally, held near San Francisco’s City Hall, is a renewed tradition aimed at bringing public expressions of faith back to the Bay Area. In 1961, Father Patrick Peyton’s Rosary Crusade drew a half-million people to Golden Gate Park.
Fifty years later, in 2011 the Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus, Immaculate Heart Radio, Ignatius Press and the Archdiocese of San Francisco began a new rosary rally tradition in downtown San Francisco. This year the Guadalupañas joined as official sponsors.
In a letter to pastors urging participation, Archbishop Cordileone wrote, “Our rosary rally is a good example of what the Holy Father calls ‘the evangelizing power of popular piety.’”
Jerick Rea, a St. Dominic parishioner and member of the parish’s young adult group, saw the flyer at church and came with friend Rose Aerubi. “I felt it would be great,” said Rea who noted that eight novices from the Dominican Priory who he sees at daily Mass were also present. “I came to support the archbishop and to pray the rosary.”
As they have every year, administrators and students from San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan High School volunteered to walk with the archbishop from the cathedral and took up a collection at the rally’s conclusion.
“It’s important because our school is sponsored by the Society of Mary,” said Riordan president Joseph Conti, many of whose students present were football players who had competed late the night before. “We are very happy to support the archbishop in this endeavor to bring the rosary rally back to life in San Francisco.”
“In this very biblical prayer we turn to Our Lady so that she may direct us to her son,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a talk that explained the Hail Marys in the original joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary total 150, the same number as the number of Psalms. The luminous mysteries, instituted by St. John Paul II in his 2002 Apostolic Letter on the Rosary of the Virgin Mary, focus on five key parts of Jesus’ public ministry.
St. John Paul II called the rosary a “school of Mary,” the archbishop said – “a school in which he says the Christian people are led to contemplate the beauty in the face of Christ and experience the depths of his love.”
Father Apostoli told those gathered that even carrying a rosary brings a blessing. “The rosary is a prayer to bring God’s mercy for the salvation of souls,” he said. “I put a rosary in a little pocket in my pajamas.”
Confessions were heard throughout the two-hour event, and even after the rally concluded at 2 p.m., there were lines of people waiting for confession administered by the four priests sitting on folding chairs on the tree-lined side of the plaza.
Father Joseph Illo, administrator of Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco, and co-founder of a new venture to institute an Oratory of St. Philip Neri in the archdiocese, emceed the event. Father Illo introduced the archbishop, leading the crowd in a chant “Viva” for the archbishop, adding in a nod to the city’s hopes for the National League playoffs against the St. Louis Cardinals, “I know some of you were secretly praying for the Giants during your rosary.”