Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
First, any time is a good time to pray for purification for our Church and for our hearts. What better time to start than on the Feast of the Purification and Presentation, Friday, Feb. 2. Second, great things can happen with grassroots efforts.
Put those two together, as a group of concerned Catholics in the Central Minnesota did, and you have a stellar movement meant for the whole nation and called “Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church.”
According to their RosaryToTheInterior.com website, the purpose is to “pray for the Interior Purification of the Church, and the Triumph of the Light of Christ over all sin and error.”
“What we’re praying for is a purification of hearts,” explains Hans Kroll, one of the originators of this Rosary movement and spokesman for the lay group that initiated it.
“Purification always has to begin with our own hearts,” he said. So the aim is to “pray for purification of hearts and purification of the Church.”
The lay Catholics who launched this grassroots effort are deeply concerned about the state of our Church and world. They were discussing this over coffee when they got an inspiration thinking about Poland’s Rosary to the Borders last October. Why not something similar here?
Kroll said the group wrote up a proposal, sent a letter to all the bishops in the nation, and put up the website RosaryToTheInterior.com. The result? “It’s really taken off,” Kroll said. Even people from other countries have picked it up and will be praying with this nation on Feb. 2.
Details of the Purpose
“Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church” is aiming to inspire and gather Catholics — parishes and individuals — throughout our land this Feb. 2 to “pray the Rosary in supplication to Our Lady that she might fulfill her promise at Fatima for the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart and the Purification of the Catholic Church, which in turn will usher in the Triumph of the Light of Christ over all the sin and error which has invaded the Church,” according to the stated purpose.
Surely this appears in line with Fatima and the requests there.
Kroll clarifies why the words “purification” and “interior” describe this effort.
“Some have had the trouble with the word purification,” he said. “But Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium had a quote the Church is always in need of purification. It’s easy to point a finger. On the other hand, where am I in my life for Christ? Am I becoming comfortable with worldly things?”
The Lumen Gentium quote is: “Mother Church…exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.”
Kroll continues, “We have to realize our own hearts are always in need of purification.
Certainly enough grave things are happening in our society and penetrating the Church. Certainly this is needing purification in this time in history.”
This grassroots group of lay Catholics realizes the change is not going to happen through politics. It’s a democratic country and we want to put in good people in office, but this is not the solution.
“It’s a spiritual battle and we need big help,” Kroll makes clear, noting a lot of people have lost the meaning of the Kingship of Christ.
“We’re to be the light of the world, yet we’ve succumbed to the world. (We need to) bring back the light of Christ first in our own hearts.”
Hence, the “Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church.” Kroll affirms “There’s a simplicity to it in praying for purification of hearts and all hearts of the Church.”
As the website witnesses, “The Rosary, as revealed in the messages of Our Lady of Fatima, is this armor of light possessing the power from God to cast off the works of darkness which now pervade the Church, the world, and especially the minds and hearts of individual Catholics.”
We need to turn to Our Lady, Kroll said. Her Heart will overcome the darkness.
Many on Board
Churches such as the Cathedral Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles, Louisiana; the cluster parish including Holy Trinity Church, St. Mary Church, and St. Columbkill Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis; St. Peter Catholic Church in Volo, Illinois; and the Cathedral Parish of St. Patrick in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, are onboard for this Rosary.
In the bulletin for his several-church cluster in the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Father Randal Kasel invited and encouraged everyone at his parishes to come to one of the four churches so that in union with the rest of the Church “we might pray the Holy Rosary for the Purification of the Church and the Triumph of Christ’s Light over the spiritual darkness and weakness in Faith that is evident in our world.”
People could go anytime during the many hours the churches will be open to pray with a group or by themselves, joining Catholics throughout the nation “in asking our Blessed Mother, Mary, to share Jesus and His triumphant Light with us and the whole world!”
Father Kasel said that when a parishioner sent him a link to the Rosary’s website, he thought, “We can do this. The main idea for me is the devotion to the Blessed Mother with the Rosary and wanting to pray for the Church and the needs of the Church.” The goal is that “Christ may manifest his light and his peace so that there may be unity in the Church and the fullness of the teachings of the church may be proclaimed.”
Father Kasel added, “We’re planning to do a Holy Hour of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that same day. This Rosary will be part of that holy hour.”
Parishioner Carol Berns will definitely participate as she has for the weekly Wednesday adoration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that includes a Rosary.
“I love Mass and adoration and the Rosary,” Berns said. “Because of the times we live in, the Rosary is the most important prayer after the Mass and adoration. Our Lady says there’s nothing that the Rosary can’t take care of. If we could get the Rosary said by families I know the whole world would change to where it needs to be.”
“You witness where you can,” she acknowledged. Joining in to pray this “Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church” is a perfect way this Feb. 2.
At the Cathedral Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the rector Father Rommel Tolentino will have the “Rosary To The Interior: For the Purification of the Church” at 7 p.m. after the Extraordinary Form Mass at 5:30 p.m. with blessing of candles and procession. In the weekly bulletin he invited all Catholics of the diocese to come to the cathedral “in order that, in union with the rest of the Church, we might pray this Rosary for the Purification of the Church and the Triumph of Christ’s Light over the darkness that now appears to be descending at an accelerating pace over our world, and especially over our nation.”
Together or Alone
For those who could not join in the Rosary at that time, Father Tolentino reminded the cathedral was open all day and evening for them.
The “Rosary to the Interior” encourages and urges everyone to join in even if they can’t make the exact time the Rosary is scheduled or if no church near them is having a group praying it. Go to an open church either alone or with someone else or a group you gather, and pray the Rosary for this intention there. If you can’t do that, pray it at home. Anywhere. But pray it.
The “Rosary to the Interior” also invites Catholics around the world to participate.
As the website notes, “The Rosary must therefore be embraced not only as a form of armor protecting us from personal evil, but as a militant weapon in order to defeat the deceits of those who work in darkness, from within, to overthrow Christ and His Church.”
“It is a Rosary for Interior Purification. It is a Rosary to rekindle a Light that has been profoundly dimmed. And this is why it almost cries out for Candlemas — the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”