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America at prayer in the public square

The weekend was marked by Eucharistic Processions and Rosary Rallies across the nation, from San Diego to Washington D.C.

A Knights of Columbus honor guard stands watch near the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament at the Wisconsin Capitol Building. (Photo by Joseph M. Hanneman)

Many in America spent Saturday and Sunday at prayer in the public square.

It started in August with one Eucharistic Procession, with 3,000 people following the Blessed Sacrament through the riot-scarred streets of Madison to the Wisconsin Capitol Building. By the second Sunday in October, the Unite Our Nation movement spread to more than 40 sites from San Diego to Kenosha, Wis. These processions were joined over the weekend by dozens of rallies sponsored by Rosary Coast to Coast and America Needs Fatima. The Catholic faith made its presence known on the streets of America.

In Wisconsins capital city, about 1,000 people processed the still-boarded-up environs of State Street to the Wisconsin Capitol Building the third such procession since riots rocked the city in May and June. On the Capitol steps, the group prayed the Patriotic Rosary, naming every state as part of the prayer intentions. The Rosary was followed by Benediction and the Divine Praises. The Capitol Square and upper State Street were closed off by Madison police to make way for the Sovereign King of Creation followed by the faithful and the heavenly sounds of the Knights of Divine Mercy Schola. It was a powerful sight.

About 1,000 Catholics processed from Holy Redeemer Catholic Church to the Wisconsin Capitol Building, the third such procession since riots rocked the streets of Madison in May and June. (Photo by Joseph M. Hanneman)

This movement, which started here in Madison, has rippled out to the entire country, said Kevin OBrien, the founder of Unite Our Nation and president of the Milwaukee-based Men of Christ apostolate. OBrien said 44 Unite Our Nation Eucharistic Processions are in the books, with another 15 in serious planning. We had 19 this weekend. Its incredible. Plus youve got Rosary Coast to Coast, thats rippling out. We are pounding Heaven with prayer. We are using our spiritual weapons that God has given us. Its exciting to be a part of it.”

OBrien has even bigger plans to expand Unite Our Nation into every parish in the United States.

We need these events, these experiences to truly experience the faith. So thats what the exciting thing is about this,OBrien said. Its so beautiful. My heart is so full of joy. Transformation begins with truth. For us, truth isnt a word, its not a  five-letter word, its actually a person. And we are bringing that Truth to our neighborhoods, to our cities, to our state capitals. And that is going to bring the conversion of our country.

In the nations capital on Sunday, the National Rosary Rally began with a Eucharistic Procession from St. Peters Church on Capitol Hill to the National Mall, followed by Benediction and a slate of speakers. It was the anchor event of the annual Rosary Coast to Coast campaign. Talks were given by Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, Msgr. Charles Pope, Sister Deirdre Byrne, Doug Barry, Fr. Richard Heilman and Bishop Joseph L. Coffey of the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA.

San Diego Catholics processed behind the Blessed Sacrament from the San Diego County Administration Building on Saturday, Oct. 10. The Unite Our Nation event was held in conjunction with America Needs Fatima. (Photo courtesy Unite Our Nation)

The resurgence of Eucharistic Processions and Rosary rallies has given many Catholics the confidence to live their faith publicly, at a time when evil seems to be at a crescendo in society. While the events have been billed as non-political, they encourage Catholics to proclaim the fullness of the faith without hesitation or apology.

One of the participants in the Madison procession was Catharine ONeill, executive director of Catholics for Trump. She wasnt campaigning for the president on Sunday, but came to support the public show of faith. Catholic culture is alive and well in the United States. Its amazing,ONeill said. I think its growing. This shows me that its really growing.

ONeill said she does not aim to politicize the Catholic faith, but current events make Catholic values important in the Nov. 3 presidential election. I think people of faith should vote by their values,ONeill said. Especially with this election, the anti-Catholicism, the pro-abortion extremism. Its hard not to vote with your values this time around.

OBrien said he is heartened with the quick growth of the Unite Our Nation movement. We didnt know. But we prayed,he said. Were calling it a movement for many. This idea has become a movement. It continues to grow.

Theyre going to Portland, down in Texas. Alaska is calling us,OBrien said. Youve got up in Washington. All over the place, literally. North Carolina, New York City. All the parts, you go east, west, north, south theyre everywhere. Its a movement of people but really its a movement of the Holy Spirit through people who are picking up the cross of leadership to actually do this.

Fr. Grant Theis of St. Peter Catholic Church carries the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament past storefronts still boarded up and covered with graffiti. (Photo by Joseph M. Hanneman)

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About Joseph M. Hanneman 101 Articles
Joseph M. Hanneman writes from Madison, Wisconsin.


  1. This is a beautiful way to bring our Lord and our Faith to the decimated streets of the US. Sadly Seattle Catholics cower in their homes or back yards hugging their trees.

  2. We had a gorgeous Eucharistic Procession in Springfield, IL from Sacred Heart Church to the Illinois State Capitol on Saturday, October 10, 2020! It was so beautiful. We prayed for our nation! I wonder why you didn’t see any of these processions on your news stations……especially why you didn’t see anything about the one in Washington D.C.

    • Perhaps for the same reason we don’t see coverage of Franklin Graham’s recent DC gathering of thousands of Evangelicals or the annual March for Life.
      Bias isn’t just about what the media shows us but also about what they choose not to show.

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