What Is the Annual Rosary March Performed by St. Thomas More?

October 22, 2021
Source: Priory Orlando

On Sunday, October 17th, 200 persons were participating in the annual Rosary March organized in Sanford by Saint Thomas More. The month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in gratitude for her assistance in the battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571.

What Is It?

The Rosary procession is a march and a procession of honor. It is not a military event in the secular tradition but it is still a march of the faithful in the church militant in the fight against the evils of the world and to give courage to our brethren. It is meant to recognize and honor the Queenship of Our Lady of the Rosary (formerly Our Lady Queen of Victory). During this Sunday in October the faithful gather in a group at the appointed place and “process”. The procession is led by a priest who is immediately preceded by acolytes holding a crucifix aloft.  At the vanguard, we see the Knights of Our Lady and many Scouts and appropriate banners which help declare to all the importance of this event. Behind the priest and vanguard, the many faithful follow the statue of Our Lady which is in a float carried by four men entrusted and honored with the task.

Among the faithful we see many families, many of our school children in their school uniforms, many young men and women, many elderly, many singles, many families and friends. The priest leads the faithful in reciting the fifteen decades of the rosary throughout the march. At appropriate breaks during the recitation, the choir leads the faithful in beautiful and prayerful hymns to add singing to the recognition of Our Lady (song sheets are given out to the faithful to help them join in).

Why Do We Do It?

Why do we march, why do we process? We do it in devotion and gratitude to Our Lady. We offer our prayers, the Rosary in recognition of her Queenship. We do it to ask Our Lady’s help in obtaining the necessary help to fight today’s battles, today’s “Lepantos” and others. Why recite the Rosary? because in the words of Pope Leo XIII,  “(t)he heavenly Patroness of the human race will receive with joy these prayers and supplications, and will easily obtain that the good shall grow in virtue and that the erring should return to salvation and repent; and that God who is the avenger of crime, moved to mercy and pity may deliver Christendom and civil society from all dangers, and restore to the peace so much desired.” (Extract from Supremi Apostolatus Officio, Pope Leo XIII, 1883).

Should I Participate?

Yes! You don’t have to attend St. Thomas More, you can be a newcomer, a guest, a visitor, or a friend. There is no fee, no special dress requirement, no cost, other than your time, energy, and prayer. We process and honor Our Lady publicly and privately. We do it privately because we love Our Lady and need Our Lady and because we want to join arms with that long line of Catholics going back thousands of years in time and thousands of miles in distance who recited the Rosary in supplication and honor. We do it publicly because we want to recognize her Queenship and make that recognition public to others so that they gain strength and courage in knowing and seeing other faithful. We take up public space and help fulfill our Lord's words to evangelize -we do it not with words but with actions, with an example. We demonstrate we are not embarrassed but rather, we are zealous to show our faith. We hope that by this small act of faith we may help in some small way to further the Church’s mission to save souls. 

At the end of the procession, you may feel tired but joyful in the knowledge that you have accomplished something. You have recognized Our Lady and shown others the beauty of Our Lady and the strength of our faith. You hopefully have encouraged others who are looking and yearning for the peace of Our Lord through the love of Our Lady. Come and join us for the procession. Bring your family, your friends old and new. Most of all, bring yourself and your love for Our Lady and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Where?

The Rosary March and procession is held each year on a designated Sunday in October. The march starts at 12 o’clock/noon starting from the Veterans Memorial Park which is about 2.2 miles away or a 5-minute drive from our church.  There is plenty of free nearby parking along the street or at the courthouse municipal parking lot (the parking lot is a stone’s throw from the Veterans Mem. Park). The procession follows the shores of Lake Monroe as we pray the fifteen decades of the Rosary. From the Veterans Memorial Park located at 110 W. Seminole Blvd., Sanford, Fl 32771, we process along the Sanford Riverwalk in front of the Monroe Harbor Marina, the Sanford Civic Center, Fort Mellon Park, and to the intersection of W. Seminole Blvd and N. Mellonville Ave. We then turn back along the same route to the Veterans Memorial Park -a total of about 1.6 miles round trip and about 45-60 minutes. The route is along a beautifully paved sidewalk and goes at a very slow pace to accommodate the float of Our Lady and those who carry it. 

When?

The month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in gratitude for her assistance in the battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571. At the present time, on the designated Sunday the faithful gather for the start of the march/procession at 12 o’clock/noon at the Veterans Memorial Park, 110 W. Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL.  Most faithful make arrangements on this appointed Sunday to attend either the 0730 or the 0930 mass since the procession starts at noon, at the same time as the 12:00 mass. The 0930 mass is usually the favorite since it leaves just about the right amount of time after mass to gather everyone, take a restroom break (restroom facilities are ½ mile away at Fort Mellon Park), change the babies, get the right shoes, hats, and clothes for the procession. The procession takes approximately 45-60 minutes to complete after the start. 

Come join us next year in this joyful church event and experience a wonderful day!