By Joyce Coronel
As Manny Yrique prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, his heart was burdened with concerns about the United States and the level of animosity in American discourse.
“I knelt down to pray and I was overwhelmed by the feeling that Our Lord wanted me to pray a rosary,” Yrique said. “I felt Him telling me, ‘Take it to My Mother.’”
He pulled out his rosary beads and as he began to pray, was struck by the realization that the 50 Hail Mary prayers of the rosary could each be offered for one of the 50 United States.
Yrique said he’s always had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He remembers being 8 years old, kneeling with his 6-year-old sister to pray the rosary while their mother was undergoing surgery.
“We didn’t know if our mom was coming back home, so we took out our plastic rosaries, knelt down at the Virgin of Guadalupe statue that was over my mom’s bed and we prayed a rosary,” Yrique said. “It was like, ‘Nothing’s going to happen as long as Mary’s with you.’”
That conviction about the love of the Mother of God is something that Yrique said can partly be explained by his own mother’s unshakeable devotion to her children.
“I believe that a mother has tremendous impact on her family — I saw that in my mother,” Yrique said. “We knew that nothing would happen to us as children as long as Mom was there.”
“I believe the Blessed Virgin Mary is the same way — she’s always been my Mother and I believe she has the ear of God at her command.”
Yrique said he designed the Rosary for the United States of America through prayer, often waking in the middle of the night to compose the intentions. Each of the five decades has a designated intention.
The first three decades are prayed for the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The fourth decade is dedicated to state and local governments as well as police and fire fighters. The fifth decade is devoted to U.S. military personnel.
The Rosary for the USA is not a political statement, Yrique said. He’s not praying for a particular candidate to win the upcoming election or for any political party’s success. He’s simply praying for the United States — its leaders and populace.
“At the time I started praying for my country, I was really concerned with how divisive we became over the SB 1070 (immigration) issue,” Yrique said. “So when I saw things happening on the news — when I saw people being angry at one another, shouting at one another, I thought, ‘This is not the way I was brought up.’”
Fr. Johnrita Adegboyega, parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Chandler, Ariz. said the Virgin Mary is always ready to listen and intercede for her children.
“In the midst of every evil, only prayer can make us safe — only prayer can bring about the truth,” Fr. Adegboyega said. “The Mother of God is there to find solutions to every problem, regardless of the challenges … She is the perfect means to approach the throne of grace through Christ Jesus Our Lord.”
Davonna Serrano, parishioner at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Gilbert, Ariz. said the Rosary for the USA should be prayed to defend the nation.
“The only way that we have to fight is through prayer — that’s our first and foremost defense in any kind of battle,” Serrano said. “And right now the battle is for the souls of our children and the future of our country.”
Praying the Rosary for the USA, she said, could also help bring people back to the Catholic Church.
“Whether you’re a grandmother or a parent or just a family member, and you’ve lost family from the Church, all you have to do is pray,” Serrano said. “Pray the rosary, pray for the intercession of the saints and pray for the Blessed Mother to open their eyes, and they will return to the faith.”
Yrique said it’s important for the 30 million Catholics in the United States to pray for their leaders, regardless of political persuasion.
“I really believe that it doesn’t matter who we elect if the power of God is not working through our elected officials,” Yrique said. “I’d like people to get off their soapboxes and get on their knees and pray. God will bless America when Americans remember to bless God.”
Yrique has already given away or sold 3,000 of the red, white and blue rosary beads and has ordered another 2,000. Along with the rosary, people can order a prayer booklet or prayer card that lists all the intentions as well as the names of the 50 states.
The booklet also lists other intentions for the rosary, depending on the time of day in which it is prayed. From midnight to 3 a.m. for example, the rosary could be offered for those who work at night, such as truck drivers and railroad workers.
For more information on the USA Rosary, visit http://www.magnalitecatholic.com/usa_rosary.html or call (602) 269-0009