Rosary Rally in Portsmouth

On Saturday 27th April, 2024 the Marian Franciscans based at St. Joseph’s in Copnor, organised a procession from St. Joseph’s to the Queen Elizabeth II memorial in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, just a stone’s throw from our cathedral. The theme was to show and promote reparation for the horrors of Abortion. It was at this time that the Abortion Act was passed by Parliament in 1968.

This day was most apt as it followed the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Friday) and also, (most appropriate for those of us from the Island), the Memorial of the martyrdom of our two Isle of Wight martyrs, Blessed Robert Anderton and Blessed William Marsden, who gave their lives so heroically for the One True Faith at Cowes in 1587.

After Sung Mass at St. Joseph’s the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was carried in procession on a bier from the church to Commercial Road, whilst prayers were recited.

A good crowd (around 150 people of all ages) were present as the statue (adorned with flowers) was placed in from of the memorial fountain and the five Mysteries of the Holy Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious) were prayed, Marian hymns were sung and the Litany of Our Lady was recited; all in reparation for the innumerable babies that have been killed through abortion.

Portsmouth’s Saturday shoppers looked on respectfully, but somewhat inquisitively, with some asking who we were and what we were praying for. There were one or two shouting abuse as they passed by, but generally the event was successful in terms of raising the profile of the evils of abortion and of passers by recognising the sincerity of those participating.

The Franciscans spoke of the importance of devotion to Mary, the Mother of God and reminded those present that this coming month of May is devoted to her. The importance of the Five First Saturdays and the devotion to Our Lady’s immaculate heart, as promoted through St. Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1830, was highlighted.Just before the end, Ed Matyjasek from Ryde, read a poem which he had written (see below), entitled “QUEEN of FLOWERS”. Finally, the Salve Regina was sung and the blessing given, before people dispersed, with some taking the opportunity of going to the Vigil Mass just along the road in the cathedral.

Watch out for May devotions taking place in your parish. There are an increasing number of Catholics who are arranging their own May devotions in their homes, saying the rosary and inviting their Catholic friends and neighbours.

Queen of Flowers

I would bring flowers to lay at your bare feet,
Roses unthorned, and marigolds all hued
With the sun; a dainty small delicate primrose,
Bluebells transparent with the colour of the sky
Orchids that bloom exotic, sumptuous,
Sweet freesia, pale lilac, irises in bloom,
Lightly dangling fuchsia, red-stained poppies,
Honeysuckle spilling over the garden wall.
I’d lay them heaped in profusion,
Cascades of colour, garlands, bunches –
Fragrant, multiple, abundant with innocence.
And with these flowers all my praise.

Produced by the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society