GORHAM---What began with enthusiasm and an idea in the winter of 2016 has turned to fulfillment and pride as Daniel Kasprzyk helps construct a cross-shaped tent and thinks about what he and his fellow volunteers have created in Gorham.
Dan and his wife, Ellen, had learned about a movement entitled “America Needs Fatima” that encourages individuals and families to come together to pray the rosary. During 2017, thousands of individuals around the country gathered once a month to publicly pray the rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Mary to three young visionaries in the town of Fatima, Portugal.
“We knew we wanted to bring this experience to Gorham,” said Dan. “We obtained permission from St. Anne Parish and worked with other parishioners and the Knights of Columbus to organize outdoor rosary rallies with tents, music, banners, information booths, free rosaries, and special guests. After the anniversary year, we knew we wanted ‘Maine Needs Fatima’ to continue.”
Hundreds have gathered for the rallies which have taken on different forms from month to month, including outdoor Masses and processions through the streets of Gorham.
"In 2018, we’ve continued the monthly public rosary rallies as we usher in the second century promoting the message of Fatima,” said Fr. Louis J. Phillips, pastor of St. Anne Parish in Gorham. “I would encourage anyone to attend these events. Our devotion to the Blessed Mother is a path to greater unity and joy with her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mary appeared to the children monthly, a total of six times, bringing a message of prayer, penance, and reparation. The visits culminated with the so-called “Miracle of the Sun,” which occurred on Sunday, October 13, 1917. The miracle was foretold by the Blessed Mother, and thousands turned out to see what they described as the sun appearing to dance in the sky.
To commemorate the occurrence, the final outdoor rosary rally of 2018 will be held at St. Anne Church, located on 299 Main Street in Gorham, on Saturday, October 13, at 11 a.m. The event will begin with an outdoor Mass, celebrated by Fr. Steven Cartwright, parochial vicar of St. Anne Parish, followed by a rosary rally at noon and a fellowship barbecue at 1 p.m. Reconciliation will be available during the rally and cookout.
“Everyone is welcome,” said Dan. “Non-Catholics, people who have never prayed the rosary, everyone. We’ll offer rosaries and guidance for anyone interested.”
In addition to the rosary rallies, the initiative has grown to include a “First Five Saturdays” program at St. Anthony Parish in Westbrook that features the opportunity for confessions, a rosary recitation, and Mass. The Kaspryzks are also offering in-home visitations with the Fatima statue.
“Our Blessed Mother is calling all of us to renew our dedication to Jesus, her son,” said Dan. “What better way to honor Jesus and Mary than with these lovely celebrations.”