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Polonia semper fidelis, “Poland (is) always faithful” is one of the mottoes of the Polish nation, dating back to 1658 when Pope Alexander VII declared the city of Lwów (Lviv) to be so, after the inhabitants’ heroic efforts in defending Christian Europe from Muslim invasion. Despite the growing influence of the universal scourges of liberalism and secularism, Poland remains a majority-Catholic country and shows signs of returning to its former Catholic traditions. Coinciding with the Fatima Centenary, 2017 is also a jubilee year for the nation as they celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first canonical crowning of the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, "the Black Madonna," as Queen of Poland.
Poland also has a strong sense of national identity and pride, having suffered for centuries from invasions and annexations. It is one of the few countries on the continent which has kept its borders closed, standing firm in rejecting a mass reception of (Muslim) refugees, despite the best efforts of the European Union to propose or impose this.
These factors add to the uniqueness of an initiative, heartily endorsed by the Polish Bishops Conference: a public recitation of the Holy Rosary, a “Rosary on the Borders” which is to be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017. This year falling on the First Saturday of the month, October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, originally the feast of Our Lady of Victory. The feast was instituted by Pope Saint Pius V in gratitude for the Christian victory over the Muslim Ottoman Empire, at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571.
The Polish bishops have invited their clergy, religious and laity to make their way to the country’s 2000 mile border at 2 pm on that day, following a morning program of prayer and a spiritual conference, Holy Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in local churches. The Rosary will be prayed in its entirety, in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “to implore the intercession of the Mother of God to save Poland and the world,” for the Fatherland (Poland), the Church, families, communities, the whole world and other personal intentions.
Organizers wrote on their website: “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 the hearts of our compatriots to the grace of God.”
The Polish Bishops Conference has also invited those who cannot physically participate at the borders to unite with those who can, and pray the Rosary nonetheless: families in their homes, the sick in hospitals, parishes (far from the border) to do so solemnly in their churches.
This is truly an admirable effort. Let us pray that it will not remain a one-time occurrence, an event merely to mark the closing of the Fatima Centenary, but that it may also encourage many to practice the Five First Saturdays as Our Lady has requested. May this “Rosary on the borders” bear abundant graces not only in Poland but throughout the Church and the world, hastening the love and obedience of Our Lady by all, and especially the fulfillment of Her Fatima requests.