In 2011, San Francisco’s Legion of Mary revitalized the dormant tradition of the San Francisco Rosary Rally. The rally, held last October 13, commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Father Frederick Peyton’s 1961 Rosary Rally. The rally drew an estimated 2,000 Catholics to the city’s Civic Center Plaza. Although organizers were pleased with the turnout, especially for a first time, the crowd was a far cry from the 550,000 people drawn by Father Peyton in 1961. But the success of the 2011 rally has resulted in a much greater involvement by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, according to one of the lead organizers of the 2012 event, David Marten of the San Francisco Legion of Mary.

The 2012 rally will be held on Saturday, October 13. Marten told CalCatholic: “We are so blessed to have the Archdiocese hosting the Rosary Rally. To have the support of the Archdiocese in promoting the Rosary Rally is immeasurable. This year the Holy Eucharist will be present thanks to the efforts of Monsignor James Tarantino.”  Monsignor Tarantino serves as the archdiocesan vicar for administration.

Of course, the demographic of the city has changed since 1961. One of the biggest changes has been the growth of the Hispanic Catholic community. This year, in addition to the Legion of Mary, the Knights of Columbus, Immaculate Heart Radio, and Ignatius Press, the San Francisco Guadalupañas have joined in co-sponsoring the rally. The Rosary Rally will fall on the same day as Archdiocesan Hispanic Day.  The devotees of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe are certain to swell the ranks. “We are most grateful to the Guadalupañas,” said Marten “ … they offered to schedule their Mass at the Cathedral at 9:30AM so they could process to UN Plaza in time for the Rosary Rally at noon.”

Following the Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, there will be a mile-long procession to UN Plaza, located by the intersections of Market and Seventh Streets. Once again, the master of ceremonies will be Father Lawrence Goode, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in East Palo Alto. In 2011, Father Goode told CalCatholic “You know, it was Father Peyton who popularized the phrase ‘the family that prays together stays together’….His idea is even more relevant today than it was then. We must pray for the strengthening of family life.”  The 2012 keynote speakers will be Father Mark Mary, of EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” and Father Moisés Agudo, thevVicar for Spanish-speaking of the archdiocese of San Francisco.

In 2011, the invocation was given by San Francisco’s auxiliary Bishop William Justice, who reminded his flock “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  This year, the organizers are hoping that San Francisco’s new Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will be able to attend. Also this year, as David Marten noted, the Blessed Sacrament will grace the rally, as Catholics gather honor His Mother.

Marten continued:  “The October 13 date was selected because it is the anniversary of the ‘Miracle of the Sun’ at Fatima. It is very coincidental that ‘The Year of Faith’ as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI starts on Thursday, October 11, the 50th Anniversary of the opening session of Vatican II. The Legion of Mary will be promoting the rally by asking families to fill out pledge cards requesting family rosaries be said in the home. Our best experience from 2011 was all the priests, sisters and families that came from as far away as Utah to pray the rosary to commemorate Father Peyton’s Rosary Rally in Golden Gate Park 50 years earlier. We hope that the Rosary Rally will bring about a greater love of Our Lord through the intersession of Mary, Our Mother.”

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