At noon on Saturday, Oct. 10, Catholics in our area will join thousands across the country to publicly pray the rosary.

Organized by America Needs Fatima, the gatherings will be held at the Depot Square fountain in Tamaqua; in front of St. Joseph's Church in Jim Thorpe; at St. Patrick's cemetery in Nesquehoning; at the Veterans Memorial in Coaldale; at Ludlow Park in Summit Hill and at St. Johns Byzantine Church and Kennedy Park in Lansford. Rallies will also be held in McAdoo, Pottsville, Shenandoah and Weatherly.

"This is the third year. It's always done on the anniversary of the children witnessing the Blessed Mother of Fatima," said local organizer Pat Rabayda of Summit Hill.

The first year's rally drew 277 people. Two hundred attended last year, and organizers hope this year's gathering will attract more.

"Our goal is to counter the destructive secular agenda, asking God to guide every aspect of our society. As human efforts have failed to solve America's key problems, we ask His immediate help for our nation's leadership. He will hear our prayers, especially if we pray the rosary of His Blessed Mother. Without prayer, and specifically the rosary, we will not find solutions to our nation's many problems," the ANF Website states. "Last year, the America Needs Fatima campaign organized over 3,445 rosary Rallies. In 2009, we're planning 3,500 rallies for October 10 – the Saturday closest to October 13 – the day God worked the miracle of the sun at Fatima, Portugal in 1917. America needs a monumental miracle of conversion. And it can happen!" the Website states.

In the Miracle of the Sun, the sun appeared as a silver disk that whirled and gave off far-reaching beams of colored lights.

"On October 13, 1917, Our Lady performed a miracle witnessed by 70,000 people, including atheists, communists and anti-Catholics. Some of them converted. The Public Square rosary Rallies will remind the man on the street in 2009 that conversion is possible," the Website states.

ANF aims to increase the number of rallies each year to 10,000 in 2017, the 100th anniversary of the miracle. To find a rally near you, call ANF at 866-584-6012

Catholics hope the rallies counter what they believe are sinful trends in modern culture and boost activism.

"There are still signs of Catholic militancy in America. This can be seen in the growth of the pro-life movement and in the rejection of blasphemous films like The Da Vinci Code. However, there is still much work to be done," the ANF website states. "Those who seek to remove God and His holy law from our society fight unceasingly on. Abortion murders innocent unborn babies; the institution of the family is weakened by impure customs and threatened by the legalization of homosexual "marriage;" the sexual revolution pervades popular culture especially in television, media, movies and the Internet.

"However, the worst consequence of this secularist offensive is the rejection of God. In so doing, we disdain His wise and loving action and we refuse His grace upon the citizens of our country. And without His grace, how can we survive?" it asks.

According to its Website, America Needs Fatima is a nonprofit campaign made up of Catholic citizens united in a common goal: To win the heart and soul of America for Mary, our Blessed Mother. ANF reaches out to millions of Americans on the Fatima message using in-person visits, hand-distributed fliers, publication-inserted fliers, direct mail campaigns, and major media advertisements. Our anti-blasphemy network organizes peaceful, legal protests and public acts of reparation for attacks on the honor and purity of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, and the Catholic Church," the Website states.

ANF is a subset of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property. ANF also sells religious items, including rosaries and crucifixes. The America Needs Fatima apostolate started in February 1985 and lists membership of over 125,000. The group lists among its activities launching protests against the movie, The DaVinci Code, in 2006.