Our Lady in Wichita Falls: Area parishes pray Rosary publicly with national campaign
WICHITA FALLS — Some parishes in Wichita Falls and surrounding towns were among the 23,000 groups across the United States that hosted public Rosary Rallies sponsored by America Needs Fatima this October, the month of the Most Holy Rosary.
Parishioners of Sacred Heart, Our Lady Queen of Peace, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wichita Falls, as well as parishioners in nearby Christ the King in Iowa Park, St. Boniface in Scotland, and St. Mary in Windthorst, all participated in the event on Oct. 12 at noon. The Rosary Rallies were scheduled to approximate the time and date that the miracle of the sun took place in Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917.
“It’s very uplifting,” said Diane Matysek-Syrus, who was the rosary captain for the rally held in front of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Wichita Falls with 53 parishioners. “It makes you so happy to do something for the Virgin Mary. You know, we’re trying to save souls. She’s trying to save souls. She’s trying to bring people through her to Jesus her son,” she said.
This year is the 102nd anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in the small village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917 with messages warning of suffering, famines, and wars, but also of the hope that her Immaculate Heart would triumph. She asked for prayer and penance.
America Needs Fatima is a campaign to “capture the heart and soul of America with the message of Our Lady of Fatima,” according to the organization’s website at americaneedsfatima.org.
The public Rosary Rally is one of America Needs Fatima projects to share the Virgin Mary’s message, which the website says is “timelier than ever in light of the many sins of men and turning away from the faith.”
After receiving a letter from America Needs Fatima inviting her to become a Rosary Rally captain five years ago, Brigitta Christ became a co-captain of the Sacred Heart Parish’s rally with longtime parishioner Michael Martini. Martini said he became the captain at Sacred Heart 10 years ago when he found out America Needs Fatima was looking for captains while he was doing research on Our Lady of Fatima. At that time, there were only 1,000 rallies in the United States.
Martini said Sacred Heart has always held their rally near the busiest intersection in Wichita Falls: Kemp Blvd. and Call Field Rd. He credits his co-captain Christ with helping attendance grow from five to the 85 people who attended this year.
Of those in attendance, 21 were members of the matachines with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Wichita Falls. Some passersby pulled in the parking lot to take videos of the dancers who honor Our Lady with their traditional, rhythmic dancing in native costumes.
Christ said she has had many volunteers from Our Lady of Guadalupe over the years, and she reached out to them to participate in the public Rosary Rally as well.
Marilyn Putthoff, a member of Christ the King Parish in Iowa Park, has been the captain for the public Rosary Rally held at Gordon Lake in Iowa Park for the past four years.
“Since I was a little kid, I had this connection and deep love of the Blessed Mother,” Putthoff said. “I just think, especially in these times when you see the discord in the world, the evil permeating all of society, I think the Rosary is so important. Now — even more so than it was 100 years ago. For me, it makes me feel like there is something I can do to help with what’s going on in the world today," she said.
Mary Baumer, who has been the captain of the Rosary Rally in Scotland, Texas, for the past few years, said the parishioners at St. Boniface have demonstrated a deep devotion to Our Lady of Fatima by praying all four decades of the Rosary on the 13th of every month for almost 22 years.
Christ said she will continue to be a co-captain of the public Rosary Rally in Wichita Falls as long as she is able.
“It’s a lot of work but the Blessed Mother gives me strength, and I will do it as long as she gives me the strength. I’d do anything for her,” she said.