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Catholics on both sides of the Detroit River border with Canada waved flags, sang songs and prayed the Rosary at exactly 4 p.m. Sunday as part  of "Rosary Coast to Coast,"

About 1,000 Rosary rallies were scheduled Sunday at border crossings, state capitols and in Washington, D.C., as well as parks, beaches, churches and other locations as part of a coordinated display of faith across North America and the world. 

At Riverfront Park outside the Renaissance Center, participants waved small American flags while fingering strings of Rosary beads used to pray the devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The gathering was expected to include people from as far away as Serbia and Ireland, as well as from Wyandotte, Ann Arbor, Troy and New Boston.  

Participants on both sides of the international border flew the flag of their neighboring country, and waved to each across the river. The event coincided with the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and with the Month of the Rosary in October. 

"They're going to see us, and we're going to see them, and then we're going to pray together in unison," Michelle St. Pierre, an organizer from the World Apostolate of Fatima's Detroit Archdiocese Division, told several hundred people gathered outside the Renaissance Center shortly before 4 p.m. 

"What a special, unique thing we have when you can look right across the boarder and see another country, and that we live in peace and harmony together."

Father Stephen Pullis, director of the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit, led prayers before a statue of Our Lady of Fatima set against a backdrop of gray skies, the Detroit River and the Ambassador Bridge.

"Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, so it's a day to remember how powerful Mary is, and also to pray for our country," Pullis said, waiting for the event to start.

"Right now in our country there's a lot of division, a lot of consternation, a lot of friction, so we just want to ask Mary to bring peace to our country, and to bring peace to our church." 

Joe and Shelly Maro, members of St. Pio of Pietrelcina Parish in Roseville, said they had a lot to pray for.

"We need Mary to pray for our nation, to bring us together," Shelly Maro said. "We're too separate." 

"And to put religion out there for people," Joe Maro added.  "I think our nation's losing it. They need to get back to more of a Christian life with their families.  And just work together."

Barry Doherty of Ortanville came with about a dozen members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion.

"With a lot of the things going on, the division in our country, it just felt like the thing to do to try and bring some unity back," he said. "What I see in D.C. is just not what our government was designed to be.

"We run a shelter for pregnant women here in Southfield, so I'm very, very committed to the dignity of life in the womb," he said. "That's another thing I pray for." 

kbouffard@detroitnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

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