GORHAM — Parishioners and community members are invited to participate in a one-mile procession leading through town and to St. Anne Church in Gorham for an outdoor Rosary Rally and celebration on Saturday, July 10. Participants who don’t wish to be in the procession can head right to the lawn of St. Anne, located on 299 Main Street in Gorham, for the rally which will begin at noon. The procession will leave from the parking lot at Gorham High School (Morrill Avenue) at 11 a.m. Transportation between the school and St. Anne will be available throughout the day. 

The event is being organized by Ellen and Dan Kasprzyk, co-founders of “Maine Needs Fatima” (www.maineneedsfatima.org). What began with enthusiasm and a wild idea has turned to fulfillment and pride for Ellen and her husband when their thoughts drift to what they and fellow volunteers have created in Gorham.

“As I look back on the last four years, I am frequently amazed at the wonderful journey Dan and I have embarked upon,” said Ellen. “We could not have foreseen all the wonderful people who have crossed our paths.”

In 2017, the Kasprzyks learned about a movement entitled “America Needs Fatima” that encourages individuals and families to come together to pray the Rosary. During that year, 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.”

Six outdoor rallies were held annually the first three years with the program shifting to a “drive in” format for 2020 due to the pandemic. Hundreds have gathered for the events, and the rallies are even livestreamed (website listed above).

All are welcome, including people who have never prayed the Rosary. Rosaries and guidance are available at the rallies for anyone interested.

The Rosary is an invitation to experience the grace of Mary’s spiritual motherhood as she leads us to her Son, Jesus. Devotion to the Rosary was especially promoted in the 13th century by St. Dominic and in the 16th century by St. Peter Canisius. It was Pope Leo XIII who dedicated October as the Month of the Holy Rosary and who, in 1895, wrote an encyclical, Adiutricem, on the Rosary. An invocation known as the Fatima Prayer was commonly added in the early 20th century. In 2002, Saint John Paul II, who called the Rosary his favorite prayer, added a new set of five reflections called the luminous mysteries. They join the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries, in providing opportunities to reflect on the lives of Jesus and his Blessed Mother.