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If it ain’t raining, it ain’t praying — Men’s rosary crusade video gets 3.6 million views in four days

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Three weeks after Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP called them “shining lights of the faith,” a video taken by Maximus Men’s Ministry from the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, deep in prayer and shot on an iPhone, has amassed over 3.6 million views in just four days.

Amidst a relentless downpour, the 23-second video shows men and boys bowing humbly upon sodden concrete in the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral, their figures softened only by the thick veil of relentless rain.

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With heads inclined and hands clasped around the beads of their rosaries, their fervent prayers meld with the heavy pitter-patter of the raindrops.

This stunning clash of tranquillity and devotion, in the midst of a violent storm, has attracted nearly 1.5 million views a day.

“The crazy part is it’s all done on the spur of the moment on my iPhone,” says, Ivica Kovac from the Maximus Men’s Ministry, who took the video.

“I filmed these men on their knees for 20 seconds and uploaded it to Facebook. Within two days, it got 2.4 million views on Facebook and nearly 500,000 views on Instagram. And it’s been shared over 20 000 times!”

“What shocked me was that there was some first timers there. I’m thinking, ‘Who comes out in this weather?’ But they were telling me, they left filled with so much joy! Afterwards, all the men were buzzing!”

For the last two and a half years, men from different groups across Sydney gather at the forecourt of St Mary’s to offer reparations to Our Lady on the first Saturday of every month.

An event initiated by a men’s Catholic apostolate that started with 30 men, the crusade has grown to 350 men from all walks of life: tradies, doctors, lawyers, academics and students from all ethnic backgrounds and parishes.

Since then, it’s inspired other Catholic men’s groups in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle, Hobart and even the Sunshine Coast for their own monthly rosary.

“I feel like this is giving men an outlet. It’s hard. It’s a sacrifice, they know they’re going to miss their son’s or daughter’s soccer game, but they see the joy and they see the fruit of it,” said Ivica.

men's rosary crusade - The Catholic weekly
Screenshot taken from the Maximus men’s ministry Facebook account.

In April, 750 men answered the call from the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation to sacrifice a night’s sleep and walk through the night for a 22km through Sydney’s South-west for the St Joseph Camino Walk.

Videos of this expression of brotherhood and solidarity also reached a global audience and has now inspired similar acts of popular piety in Europe, says Ivica.

“I had a message from one of the leaders in Ireland who were so inspired by what the men did in Sydney they said they’re going to do the same for Saint Michael,” Ivica said.

“It’s amazing how this public profession of faith in Sydney is feeding another on the other side of the world.

“There’s no competition here. It’s not about who got the most views. It’s just pure joy. Our Lady! She always finds a way to bring us closer to her son, the Lord and saviour.”

Hazel Lim, Life Marriage, Family Team Leader for the Archdiocese of Sydney, said it was very encouraging as a woman of faith to see husbands, fathers, brothers and young men honouring Our Blessed Mother.

“These men are modelling how women in their lives should also be treated—with dignity, love, and respect.

“This is very much in line with the work Ivica and the rest of the Life, Marriage, Family team are doing in raising the culture of men and women, marriages, and families.

“It’s about sacrificial love and asking for our mother’s guidance and protection.”

Ivica said many of the men in the rain prayed that the thousands attending the Walk with Christ procession the following day would be spared a similar downpour.

“And this might be a huge statement, but I think when we saw the sunshine on Sunday morning it was like God said for your little sacrifice, I will keep the 15,000 dry!”

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