Rochester parish’s rosary-recitation initiative tops 20,000
Given ample time for reflection as she recuperated from hip surgery in 2018, Sonja Stenclik conceived an idea for a sizable initiative involving rosary recitation.
How sizable? Try six figures.
“I didn’t want to go small. I said I believed we could do 100,000 rosaries,” she said.
With the blessings of Father Roman Caly, pastor of Rochester’s St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish — where Stenclik serves as pastoral coordinator — the project got underway in January 2019. It’s still going strong today, with more than 20,000 rosaries having been prayed through April 2021.
Stenclik said that 30 to 40 people are currently involved in the effort, which she expects will receive extra attention this month due to the Catholic Church’s focus on Marian devotion during May.
“For the most part, it’s a very solid group of people continuing to say these prayers,” Stenclik said, adding that the initiative is “absolutely” a good fit for her parish, based on the high priority that Polish Catholics place on the rosary. She noted that St. Stanislaus Kostka has monthly rosary groups as well as special rosary events in October, another month dedicated to Marian activity.
Many members of the parish’s Breath of Life Ministry are involved in the project, incorporating rosary recitation into their pro-life efforts. According to Magdalena Wnuk, parish secretary/business manager, Breath of Life strives to pray for the protection of life from conception to natural death through prayer, including vigils near the Planned Parenthood facility in Rochester, as well as collecting funds and items to support organizations assisting expectant mothers.
Stenclik noted that the rosary initiative has carried a pro-life emphasis from the beginning, having been launched as St. Stanislaus Kostka was preparing for its observance of the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“The project’s intention is to protect and defend the culture of life. I’m pleased there’s this core group of people that are so committed to praying for this intercession to Our Lady,” Stenclik said, voicing her concern about existing and proposed laws in this country that promote abortion and euthanasia. “We’re desperately in need of rosaries.”
In addition, she said, the project has ended up reaching well beyond St. Stanislaus Kostka; anybody may join in.
“It’s not just our parish. It’s members from other parishes and some from out of town,” Stenclik said, noting that the project’s other cochairs along with her are Dorothy Hayes of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Irondequoit and Brendalyn Bynoe from St. Monica Parish in Rochester.
An ongoing display adorned by a large rosary is located in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church to reflect the overall number of rosaries recited thus far. Stenclik said that participants are asked to submit their totals at the end of each month, either by dropping a note in with the weekly collection; calling or leaving a message with the parish (585-467-3068); or emailing Magdalena.Wnuk@dor.org.
Looking back on her original aim of having 100,000 rosaries recited, Stenclik acknowledged that she has gradually come to appreciate just how lofty a goal that is.
“Math is not my thing. I didn’t realize how long it would take,” she said with a laugh.
On the other hand, she said that 20,000-plus rosaries is still a very impressive figure. Although she continues hoping that the project at St. Stanislaus Kostka will eventually hit 100,000, she emphasized that the more important issue is simply having folks realize the importance of rosary recitation — whether it’s through her parish’s initiative or some other means.
“It’s just getting people to commit to praying the rosary daily if they can,” she said. “It’s not really a number thing, it’s a prayer thing.”