Bishop sets ‘Year of the Rosary’ in diocese

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky hopes the year of renewal will “reinvigorate the venerable practice of meditating on the Gospel through the prayers of the holy Rosary.

By: By Tom Dermody

The Diocese of Peoria will observe a special Year of the Most Holy Rosary from Aug. 15, 2009, through May 31, 2010.

“I am happy to announce a new initiative in our diocese to reinvigorate the venerable practice of meditating on the Gospel through the prayers of the holy Rosary,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, this week.

In a letter dated Aug. 22 — the Feast of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth — Bishop Jenky also asked that the next 12 months be a “graced time of preparation” for the special year.

“I ask all of our pastors, with their parish leaders, to begin prayerfully discussing ways to make the Rosary a more essential part of our lives,” he wrote.

The year of preparation will get off to a prayerful start with a diocese-wide Rosary Festival to be hosted at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 26.

The festival will be similar, though shorter in duration, to the Rosary Congress the diocese sponsored five years ago. The Oct. 26 event will include a procession, recitation of a decade of a living Rosary, Marian hymns, and a lay witness talk on the importance of the Rosary.

That speaker will be provided by Holy Cross Family Ministries, which is assisting the diocese in deepening devotion to and under standing of the Rosary during the period of renewal. Holy Cross Family Ministries was founded by Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, whose motto “The family that prays together, stays together” continues to guide its many worldwide rosary promotion efforts.

In 2009, the diocese will be the site of a regional premiere of Holy Cross Family Ministries’ newest media production called “Rosary Stars: Praying the Gospel.” The DVD, designed to be shared in parish, school, and family settings, features Catholic entertainment and sports celebrities sharing what the Rosary means to them.

Diocesan leaders viewed scenes from the production in early July when two representatives of Holy Cross Family Ministries visited Peoria to discuss preliminary ideas for the special year.

The Year of the Most Holy Rosary will end with a major celebration in an arena setting. Dates for the video premiere and closing celebration have yet to be set.

In his letter, Bishop Jenky noted the Rosary has been used by generations of Catholics as a “means of encountering the life of Christ through daily meditation.”

“The Rosary has been strength in time of temptation and a sure comfort through the trials of life,” he wrote. “Innumerable souls have found refuge at the ‘hour of death’ by recourse to their ‘beads.’ Through the prayers of the rosary, our Lady continues to lead her children to a deeper relationship with her Son, the Son of God.”

He prayed that the next two years will be “a graced time of prayer and intimacy within our church family that will bear fruit in the way we live out the Gospel demands of charity and justice to our neighbors, especially the least of our brothers.”

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