Each May brings a flurry of Marian devotions, May crownings and living-rosary events to parishes throughout the diocese, and this year is no exception. At St. Alphonsus Parish in Auburn, however, parishioners are pulling out all the stops. This month they plan to begin a perpetual rosary, which will run not only through the month of May, but through the rest of the year as well.
The perpetual rosary will involve approximately 60 parishioners, each of whom will be responsible for praying an assigned bead of the rosary each day, said Adelaide Hutson, faith-formation and liturgy coordinator at the parish. This parish-wide rosary for peace will be offered each day, she added.
Hutson and Jill DelloStritto, business manager at the parish, began tossing around the idea of a perpetual rosary after the parish presented a living rosary last October. The two women weren’t particularly impressed by the turnout at the living rosary, so they put their heads together and tried to think of a way to attract more people to the devotion.
Eventually they decided a parish-wide perpetual rosary might generate increased interest in the parish’s biannual living rosary, since the devotions share several similarities. In each, parishioners are assigned to pray a specific bead of the rosary; working together, the parishioners pray the entire rosary.
When the parish presents its living rosary, however, parishioners physically gather around the altar in St. Alphonsus Church to take turns praying their assigned beads. Parishioners involved in the perpetual rosary will be connected through the prayer, but they will not gather in one place. Instead, they can pray their beads from the comfort of their homes or wherever else they choose to pray.
Parishioners involved in the perpetual rosary also will be encouraged to participate in the parish’s living rosary, Hutson noted.
She noted that parishioners have responded well to the idea of the perpetual rosary, and more than 50 people had signed up to participate as of mid-May. Hutson said she expected all the beads to be assigned fairly soon, and that the perpetual rosary will begin thereafter.
“This would happen each day, so you would have a rosary each day said by about 60 people. They can say it whenever they want to during the day. The more people you get involved in prayer, the better,” Hutson said.
St. Alphonsus parishioners are very committed to prayer in general and especially to the rosary, she added. A number of parishioners are involved in the parish’s Rosary Altar Society and Legion of Mary, and in October 2004 a group of parishioners formed a rosary-making group, which meets several times a week to make rosaries for international missions and American soldiers serving overseas.
Parishioners also gather at the church to pray the rosary every Monday in May, and many parishioners say the rosary on their own on a regular basis, she added.
The parish also has a long history of praying for peace. After each Mass, parishioners say a prayer for world peace and for those serving in the military, so it seemed natural to dedicate the perpetual rosary to peace as well, she said.
“The rosary will primarily be said for peace wherever it’s needed, whether it’s in someone’s heart or in the world,” Hutson said. “The whole philosophy of St. Alphonsus Parish is service to others and a devotion to the Blessed Mother.”
Parishioner Rita Bishop said she decided to participate in the perpetual rosary because she’s very devoted to Mary.
“I’ve prayed to her for so many years and she’s always been good to me. I’m devoted to Mary and anything to do with her,” Bishop said.
Bishop, who also belongs to the rosary-making group, is a firm believer in the power of prayer. She thinks the perpetual rosary will be very helpful in bringing peace where it’s most needed.
“I think (the rosary) will have a great impact on what we’re praying for. Everyone likes peace, and that’s what we’re looking for,” she said.