MONTROSE — Nearly 50 residents belted out church hymns and prayers Saturday morning outside the Montrose Library as part of a national campaign to stop abortion and fight blasphemy.
The Montrose group participated in one of 5,959 rallies nationwide in the 2010 Public Square Rosary Crusade, created by the America Needs Fatima organization.
"We are praying the rosary for the conversion of the United States," said Mike Barnes, the prayer group's organizer.
The organization is focused on spreading the message of Fatima, or Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and a prominent figure in the Catholic Church. The organization is best known for coordinating massive protests against abortions and blasphemy.
The organization states on its website that it holds the prayers "to counter the destructive secular agenda, asking God to guide every aspect of our society....Without prayer, and specifically the rosary, we will not find solutions to our nation's many problems."
Those who participated in the Montrose prayer stood in front a figurine of Fatima and a poster with a photograph of the American flag and the message, "Pray for the urgent conversion of America."
"America needs prayer…and public prayers are the way this group is trying to accomplish that," he said.
Barnes has participated in past prayer groups and volunteered to organize the Montrose gathering.
Prayers were also scheduled in Glendale and Burbank, according to the organization's website.
The Montrose gathering was the first of its kind, and included participation mostly from local church congregants.
Emma Eday, a member of a La Crescenta-based rosary group, led the prayers and hymns during the Montrose gathering.
"This is one way of praying for peace in the world and the safety of the unborn," she said. "And while the activity is public, it's really the most powerful."