On October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Bay Area Catholics will gather for the 12th Annual San Francisco (now renamed Bay Area) Rosary Rally. The events of the day begin at St. Mary’s Cathedral with Reconciliation at 9:30AM and Mass at 10:00, celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and priests of the archdiocese and surrounding dioceses. Mass will be followed by a Eucharistic procession from the Cathedral to St. Boniface Church at 11:30, where high school students will lead the faithful in the Rosary, followed by the renewal of the consecration of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Benediction, and closing prayers.

The rally and procession, gathering Catholics from many parishes to proclaim the faith publicly is a good example of fulfilling the stated goals of the second year of the Eucharistic Revival, The Year of Parish Revival. The Eucharistic Revival webpage states: “Every parish in the country will experience profound renewal while participating in grassroots efforts inspired by the four pillars of the Revival: Reinvigorated Worship, Personal Encounters, Robust Formation, and Send Missionaries.”

I spoke with Fr. Joseph Illo, chaplain of the Bay Area Rosary Rally Committee. Father, for years it was the San Francisco Rosary Rally. Why the change to the Bay Area Rosary Rally?

“To encourage people from beyond the City of San Francisco to attend the Rosary Rally, we have renamed it the ‘Bay Area Rosary Rally,’ Last year a priest friend of mine, Fr. Mark Wagner, brought a bus full of happy pilgrims from his parish in Stockton to the ‘San Francisco Rosary Rally.’ It made me think that, like the West Coast Walk for Life, the Rosary Rally is not just for residents of San Francisco. Fr. Patrick Peyton held the original Rosary Rally on October 7, 1961 in Golden Gate Park, but the half million who attended surely came from all over the Bay Area. Governor Pat Brown, for example, drove in from Sacramento to pray at that first Rosary Rally (we do not exclude the possibility that Governor Newsom will make the same drive for this year’s Rally). “

This year’s theme is For our City and our Church. Can you enlarge upon that?

“In particular we are offering prayers that day for Our City and for Our Church. For which city are we praying? Certainly for San Francisco, a deeply Catholic city in which the rally will take place, a city which has lost much of the Christian virtues upon which St. Junipero Serra founded it in 1776. We will pray for the city of San Francisco, so beautiful and so emblematic of every city in America, wracked by the culture wars that seek to remove God from the Public Square. But we will also pray for every city in our country–for those towns and villages in which you live, because the disorder caused by secularism has afflicted every neighborhood and family. We will pray for every city and every church.

“Fr. Peyton held his Family Rosary Crusade’ in San Francisco on October 7, 1961. The Archdiocese of San Francisco will hold a ‘Bay Area Rosary Rally’ in this city on October 7, 2023. We hope that more will continue to join us, from all over Northern California, to pray the rosary for peace and for family unity.”

In his homily for the 2022 Rosary Rally Archbishop Cordileone proclaimed “The reality is that one who accepts Christ into his or her life acquires a new family, and this is how we become members of the family of Jesus, as He teaches us in the Gospel passage for today that we just heard proclaimed….How is this accomplished? St. Paul gives us that answer in our second reading, when he says, “God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law so that we might receive adoption … We turn to her. She is there to hear us, to embrace us, to take us to her Son. She is always there to protect us in our moments of trial and desperation. What great comfort we have in her! What great comfort we have in praying the Rosary, meditating on those saving mysteries in her life and in the life of her Son. We will do so again today in procession with her Son in the Blessed Sacrament.”

–By Gibbons Cooney
For more information, visit the archdiocese.