Amid pandemic, Diocese of Rochester’s faithful honor Mary
Right from the first day of May, initiatives in the Diocese of Rochester have reflected a strong desire to uphold the month’s traditional focus on Marian devotion despite the coronavirus crisis.
A variety of efforts by diocesan parishes and schools have filled the May calendar. For starters, on May 1, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano led the Renewal of the Consecration of the United States to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The 3 p.m. service was livestreamed by the Catholic Courier and held in union with all bishops in the United States and Canada, who, in response to the pandemic, reconsecrated their respective nations to the care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title “Mary, Mother of the Church.”
Bishop Matano, in his May “From the Bishop” column in the Courier, suggested additional devotions to Mary during the month — particularly via rosary recitation privately or as a family, as well as conducting a family May crowning at home.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis, in an April 25 letter to the faithful, called for renewed rosary devotion throughout May.
“It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this ‘family’ aspect, also from a spiritual point of view. For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May,” the pope wrote. “This can be done either as a group or individually; you decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.”
Many parishes and schools in the diocese have seemingly taken their church leaders’ suggestions to heart, offering special initiatives during May. Among them are the following:
• Brockport’s Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish conducted a parade through its church parking lot May 2 to honor Mary. Participants were invited to bring flowers to honor the Blessed Mother.
• Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women is planning to continue its annual May crowning tradition by conducting a virtual crowning May 22.
• Holy Cross Parish and School in Rochester/Charlotte hosted a drive-by Mother’s Day May crowning May 10. In addition, the parish’s youth group continued its annual tradition of a May Day “surprise drop-off,” delivering such items as flowers and cards to parishioners’ homes on the first weekend in May.
• At Newark Valley’s St. John the Evangelist Church, the outdoor statue of Mary has been crowned and parishioners are invited to place fresh flowers or potted plants near the statue throughout May.
• At St. Leo Parish in Hilton, cards were made and placed on the church altar on Mother’s Day for parishioners who wished to honor their mothers, living or deceased. In addition, photos of mothers were sent in for a collage that will be made and put on the parish’s Facebook page.
• St. Peter Parish in the Finger Lakes held a Mary, Mother of the Church flower sale May 10 — with social-distancing guidelines observed — at all three of its churches: St. Francis, Phelps; St. Felix, Clifton Springs; and St. Dominic, Shortsville.
• Immaculate Conception Parish, Ithaca, offered a novena on its website May 2-11 to Our Lady of Good Remedy, beseeching the intercession of Mary for the world to be healed from COVID-19.
• St. John the Evangelist Parish, Spencerport, livestreamed its 49th-annual living rosary on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
• St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Ithaca, is holding a livestreamed rosary each Monday evening at 7 p.m.
• St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Livingston County, is livestreaming rosary recitation at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday, leading into its 1o a.m. Mass.
• Elmira’s Parish of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is holding a livestreamed rosary each Thursday of May at 11:30 a.m. In addition, the parish livestreamed a holy hour May 13, with benediction, for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
• Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in the Finger Lakes conducts a daily rosary at 3 p.m. on Facebook.
• St. Patrick Parish, Victor, prays the rosary every Tuesday at 3 p.m. on the parish’s YouTube channel.
• St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Macedon and Palmyra encourages parishioners to recite a 9 a.m. rosary on Saturdays for which they can submit prayer requests.