Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Linda Reeves - The Florida Catholic Palm Beach
POMPANO BEACH | Faithful with special prayers on their hearts showed up early for the first evening of the Archdiocese of Miami’s inaugural Rosary Congress, which traveled to six host parishes Dec. 2-8, 2022.
Part of the global Diocesan Rosary Congress initiative, its goal is to encourage prayer, devotion and reflection on Christ’s life and mercy.
“We did this in response to our bishops’ call for eucharistic revival,” said Vicky Yardley, co-chair of the Florida S.E. Chapter of the Columbiettes’ Catholic Action Committee and vice president of the Columbiettes’ Johnny Hill Auxiliary, who spearheaded the Rosary Congress after obtaining approvals from Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
The event was organized by a team of Archdiocese of Miami Columbiette auxiliary members assisted by clergy of the seven host parishes.
“We want to bring back fallen-away Catholics and lead all Catholics to fall in love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” said Yardley, a parishioner at Assumption Church in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.
Father Sahayanathan Nathan, pastor of St. Gabriel in Pompano Beach, welcomed participants on the first evening of the event, Dec. 2, with beautiful and moving words, inspiring all to prayer right from the start.
“We are going to celebrate Mass, the biggest gift that God has given the world,” he said. “We are going to pray the rosary before the Eucharist. We are going to spend the whole evening with the Lord. Blessed are the people who will be praying at the feet of the Lord. May the time we have praying the rosary help us come close to Christ. We all have things to pray for.”
The event opens at each parish with Mass followed by eucharistic adoration, with people taking shifts for 24 hours to sit before the Lord in the Eucharist, praying the rosary for various intentions.
Each evening has a different prayer theme. Intentions include prayer for the nation and salvation of souls, reparation of sinners, prayer for priests and religious, protection of human life, and return to reverence for Jesus and the Church.
St. Pius X in Fort Lauderdale will host Dec. 7 as well as the grand finale on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Delgado will be celebrating Mass accompanied by priests of the archdiocese.
The 30-member choir of St. Thomas University will join in the celebration. The concluding Mass also will feature a procession honoring the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the Columbiettes and the United States of America.
Dolores McDiarmid, a parishioner at St. Pius X, said the prayerful event “is absolutely beautiful and very much needed. I think this entire week will be so powerful, so amazing.”
“I am praying for a good friend who passed away,” said Michele Greene, a Columbiette and parishioner of St. Gabriel who served on the event organizing team. “I have several girlfriends who I am praying for. I am praying for all my friends and family and for their health and happiness.”
The ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, continues through Pentecost 2025. The effort is aimed at helping Catholics better understand and practice devotion to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Claire Riccardi, a parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy in Deerfield Beach, attended the Mass at St. Gabriel and planned to spend early hours of the night with Jesus in thanksgiving and with prayer requests.
“I have had cancer six times,” she said. “So far, my medical records have shown that I am clean and cancer-free. I am waiting on my most recent test from Miami,” she said, making the sign of the cross and adding that she was asking Christ for his healing power.
The Diocesan Rosary Congress is a non-profit organization. Its website proclaims its mission as “bringing honor and glory to Our Savior and Our Lady and healing to our world through Diocesan Rosary Congresses.”
The first Rosary Congress took place in Poland in 1979. At that time, the main intention was prayers for Pope John Paul II and the removal of the communist government’s restrictions on his itinerary and agenda while visiting his homeland. That year, Poland was celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of its Christianity.
In anticipation of his arrival, the people gathered to pray the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament for seven days. On the last day, the Polish government unexpectedly removed obstacles, clearing the path for the pope’s visit.
The Rosary Congress came to America in 1988. The first event was held in Washington D.C. at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, now a basilica. Today, events are held across the country in different dioceses and at various times of year. According to the Rosary Congress website, participants have claimed to have experienced “numerous graces” over the years.
“The whole world needs the healing of God,” said Father Nathan. “The whole world needs Christ’s touch. When the Lord touches the world, all are healed. Lord, please touch the world so we will all be healed.”
PLAN TO GO
- The closing Mass and adoration of the first archdiocesan Rosary Congress will take place Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. at St. Pius X, 2511 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, with Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Delgado as the main celebrant. The Columbiettes invite all to join and honor the Blessed Mother on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. For information, call 954-684-6708.