The Knights of Columbus at St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown, Conn. have organized a prayer drive for the benefit of those affected by the town's recent tragedy.
“There's a very important message, that the Rosary is a very powerful prayer, and one that can bring miracles. And we hope for that,” Council 185’s Grand Knight Tim Haas said in a Dec. 20 interview with EWTN News.
“This is a special way for us to remember the holy innocents who were lost. There were 12 little girls, 8 boys, and they were taken from us without warning or cause, and we need to pray for their families.”
The council's message promoting the prayer drive was released Dec. 19. Haas said that within only 24 hours, they had gathered over 60,000 Hail Marys prayed for the intentions of Newtown.
“We have one gentleman logging the e-mails,” he explained, “so I'm sure he's behind, trying to catch up with it.”
The Knights are asking that those who participate say at least three Hail Marys for three intentions: “one for the victims and their families, one for the first responders and teachers, and one for our town to give us strength to support the afflicted.”
Those praying are then invited to notify the council by e-mail at HailMary@kofc185.org, reporting the number of people praying, the number of prayers said and the location. They have already received responses from “all around the country,” Haas stated.
“We pray for Newtown that we may remain strong, and that we can all come together to make the world a better place for all of us,” said Haas.
“And I think that will happen when we seek and move toward our faith. The Rosary helps us to do that; it's a wonderful prayer.”
In a similar move, the sister of one of St. Rose of Lima's priests is asking that prayers be offered for her brother and the other priests in Newtown.
“He now has two wakes and two funerals every day, until the fourth Sunday of Advent. Father Luke has not even been ordained two years,” she said on Facebook.
She is also encouraging that people “please consider sending one of your family’s Christmas cards to the rectory, with a few words of love and encouragement.”
She hopes for “an outpouring of love” to “sustain these good priests through their impossible ministry – impossible on their own, but possible with God.”
St. Rose has already had eight funerals this week, most of them for children.
“The mothers gave eulogies for their precious children. When you see the faith and fortitude of those women, speaking of how they cherished those children so deeply, and yet could overcome their pain, to communicate to us that love, it is a miracle.”
Haas also reflected on the way that the Virgin Mary “knows the pain of that loss … the mothers have that parallel experience with the Holy Mother. And she is able to support, uplift, shower them with her spirit and love, and bring us all closer to Christ.”
He also noted that prayer, particularly the Hail Mary, is perhaps a person's best response to evil.
“When we become knights we all get a Rosary, and we need to pray that at least once a week, so we can be strong when we're called to a higher duty like the one many of us were called to this week.”
“There aren't too many ways to prepare for it, but certainly praying the holy Rosary and attending Mass, receiving the Eucharist, and going to confession, are the gifts that we are given in order to be able to handle this kind of thing, because this is tough,” he said.
“I'm grand knight, but I could not do any of this without my brother knights and my faith. I'm grateful for my faith.”