On Saturday, October 13, thousands of Catholics celebrated the second annual San Francisco Rosary Crusade. The crusade was on the same day as archdiocesan Hispanic Day, which allowed each event to strengthen and flavor the other. The unified Hispanic Day/rosary crusade was the first public expression in the archdiocese of San Francisco marking the Holy Father’s 2012-2013 Year of Faith.

Catholics began arriving at St. Mary’s cathedral at 9:00 a.m., before the 9:30 a.m. Spanish-language Mass. The presider was Auxiliary Bishop William Justice, who was joined by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, and 14 priests from the archdiocese. The cathedral was nearly as full as at the archbishop’s October 4 installation.

Many religious were in attendance, including the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, the Little Sisters of the Poor and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Seminarians (Dominican as well as from St. Patrick’s Seminary) were there. As the priests and bishops processed in, members of the faithful linked arms, creating a pathway for the clergy as they walked to the sanctuary.

After the Mass had ended, Father Moisés Agudo, vicar for Spanish speaking of the archdiocese, identified and thanked the members of parishes in attendance and organizations which had helped with the event.

Archbishop Cordileone then spoke to the people in Spanish, and received thunderous applause. Father Agudo announced the beginning of the Rosary procession, closing with the words “Viva Virgen de Roasario!” and “Vive Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” to which the congregation roared back “Viva”!

Following the Mass, the Marian procession began its journey to U.N. Plaza, where the rosary rally was to be held. The procession was led by Dominican seminarians and laymen, carrying a flower-covered bier with a statue of Our Lady. The procession, which stretched for at least two city blocks, was accompanied by a sound truck from which a man recited the rosary in Spanish. As the procession reached the corner of Hyde and McAllister streets it was met by members of the Knights of Columbus, who escorted the faithful to the entrance of the plaza.

A second group of the faithful, already at U.N. Plaza, began praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary in English, as they greeted their brothers and sisters in Christ. The procession paused until the Sorrowful Mysteries were finished, then entered the plaza, and the actual rally began.

Father Lawrence Goode, chaplain of the Legion of Mary, served as master of ceremonies. Father Goode began by noting that the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization was also the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II. He said he had heard people ask “why was there not a second Pentecost” following the council. Father Goode said that people seem to still be “waiting for the second shoe to drop.” He quoted the angel’s words to the apostles: “Men of Galilee, why are you looking at the sky?” and said, “maybe that second shoe is us.”

Led by priests of the archdiocese, the faithful recited the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary. Following the rosary, Bishop Justice celebrated the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. As Catholics knelt on the hard stone, as the odor of incense wafted over the plaza—an unusual aroma for that particular location.

Father Agudo (in Spanish) and Father Mark Mary co-host of EWTN’s ‘Life on the Rock” gave keynote speeches. To illustrate the power of the rosary Father Mark Mary related the story of Blessed Bartolo Longo, a 19th century Italian from a devout family. As a young man, Longo drifted from the faith into occultism. By some accounts he was even at one time a Satanic “priest.” But none of this brought him any joy. Finally, he went to confession to a Dominican priest, Father Alberto Radente, who told him “If you seek salvation, promulgate the rosary. This is Mary’s own promise.” After more trials, Longo was converted and spent the rest of his life spreading devotion to the rosary. When he was beatified by John Paul II on October 26 1980 the Holy Father called him the “Apostle of the Rosary.

The final speaker was Monsignor James Tarantino, chancellor of the archdiocese. He thanked the attendees and, like Father Goode, Father Agudo, and Father Mark Mary, stressed the New Evangelization. He closed the rally with the fiery words: “Heaven demands that WE do it! Heaven demands a voice! You are that voice!”