As many as one million Poles are expected to take part in "The Rosary On the Borders," commemorating the Battle of Lepanto.
Polish Bishops have endorsed and encouraged the attendance of their congregations in this event, which takes place on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The organizers of this event hope to attract a few thousand Catholics, but as the publicity and enthusiasm has grown, so have the numbers.
The crusade was organized independently of the Catholic Church in Poland, for the purposes of honoring Mary as Queen of Poland, asking for her protection and intercession, and begging forgiveness for blasphemies. The organizers describe their effort on their website:
On this day we will go to the borders of Poland and we will pray on [sic] the rosary. Through this unprecedented prayer of the rosary, we want to show the faithfulness and obedience of Mary, who tirelessly calls us to recite the rosary. We also want to apologize and pay for all blasphemy, insults against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We wish to implore by the intercession of the Mother of God to save Poland and the world.
We believe that if the Rosary is prayed by about a million Poles along the borders of the country, it may not only change the course of events, but open hearts of our compatriots to the grace of God.
A Significant Date
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is a date of significance for this event, particularly for Europeans. On October 7, 1571, one of the most important sea battles in history was fought near the mouth of what is today called the Gulf of Patras, then the Gulf of Lepanto. On one side were the war galleys of the Holy League and, on the other, those of the Ottoman Turks, vying for ultimate control of the Mediterranean. Pope St. Pius V urged the Christian world to pray the Rosary, and ordered churches to be left open day and night.
Following the Christian victory in this battle, and with it, the spiritual, cultural, and political future of Europe, the Holy Father commemorated this date as the feast of "Our Lady of Victory". His successor, Gregory XIII, would later change the title of the feast to its current form: "Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Event in 2017
While the event takes place on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the participants note that it is also on a First Saturday as well as three anniversaries of note: 140 years since the apparitions of Our Lady in Gietrzwald (the only recognized Polish Marian apparition), 100 years following the apparitions of Fatima, and the eve of Poland's 100th year of independence.
The organizers and bishops are encouraging participation at the physical border of Poland, hoping to encircle the country with faithful Catholics reciting the rosary. Yet they welcome joining spiritually on the date and time (12:00 GMT) for those who are unable to travel.
Following the Society of Saint Pius X's Rosary Crusade, which ended just over one month ago, this event is an opportunity for faithful who attend SSPX chapels to join with the Polish people in prayer during this historic and grace-laden feast.