Living Rosary part of diocesan festival Sunday

Those attending the Diocesan Rosary Festival this Sunday, Oct. 26, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria can expect a prayerful experience resembling ceremonies at Marian shrines such as in Lourdes, France, or Fatima, Portugal, according to planners.

The schedule of the service, which is open to the public and begins at 3:30 p.m., was announced this week. The festival will include Marian hymns, a witness talk by actor Chris Kramer, a decade of a living rosary featuring First Joyful Mystery meditations read by 11 elementary school students from around the diocese, and a litany of Loretto.

A Procession of Our Lady is also planned, with six Peoria Notre Dame High School students dressed in tuxedos carrying a statue of Mary through a dimly lit cathedral as those in the assembly all hold and raise lighted candles during the chorus of “Immaculate Mary.”

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will preside at the festival, which serves to open a time of preparation for a special Year of the Most Holy Rosary to be observed in the Diocese of Peoria from Aug. 15, 2009, through May 31, 2010. He will offer a final blessing before the festival — expected to last about an hour — closes with the singing of “Ave Maria.”

Named to have roles in the living rosary are the following Catholic school students:

Jennifer Feeney, Epiphany School, Normal; Madison Auge, St. Edward School, Chillicothe; Natasha and Antonia Rupert, St. Vincent de Paul School, Peoria; Chad Cagle, St. Patrick School, Washington; Amanda Bacon, St. Thomas the Apostle School, Peoria Heights; Caroline Breitbach, St. Philomena School, Peoria; Katie Hausladen, Holy Cross School, Champaign; Will Trauner, Holy Trinity School, Bloomington; Tori Schimmer, Holy Cross School, Mendota; and Paige Keim, St. Mary School, Bloomington.

In his Aug. 22 letter announcing the approaching Rosary Year and its preparation period, Bishop Jenky wrote that he hopes the focus will “reinvigorate the venerable practice of meditating on the Gospel through the prayers of the holy rosary.” Among other diocese-wide events being planned are the May 3, 2009, regional premiere of the DVD “Rosary Stars: Praying the Gospel” produced by Holy Cross Family Ministries (which is assisting the diocese in rosary promotion), and a major diocesan rosary celebration to take place at the Peoria Civic Center to cap the special year on May 2, 2010.

The public is invited to Sunday’s rosary festival.

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