Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Ongoing rosary prayer groups demonstrate dedicated commitment

by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the Feb. 26, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

While Catholicism welcomes anything good, true, and beautiful no matter the source – including meditation techniques practiced by Buddhists, Muslims, or Hindus – Catholics who scoffed at the rosary 30 or 40 years ago may be surprised that today the rosary is enjoying something of a renaissance.

Rosary devotees have quietly hung onto their beads and continued to pray the five Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries. In 2002, Pope John Paul II formulated the five Luminous mysteries. Those who have continued to engage in the prayer have in turn taught the Rosary to their children and grandchildren. Today, countless Catholics pray the rosary as a private devotional prayer. But it’s common, too, for groups of rosary pray-ers to gather in parish churches, church halls, and homes, to share the praying of the rosary with one another. A quick check around the Diocese of Spokane turned up 11 rosary groups that meet regularly, and there are undoubtedly more than that. These groups tend to be small but persistent and long-lasting.

• At Spokane’s St. Thomas More Parish, Dick Sprute participates in a rosary group of, typically, eight or nine people that meets at the parish each Friday at 7 p.m. and has been doing so continuously since 1987. The group prays 15 decades, using the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries. They pray for individual intentions, and include “a five-minute silent meditation time between each of the five decades of the rosary.”

• Ray Perry, of Spokane Valley’s St. Paschal Parish, coordinates a rosary group that meets each Tuesday-Friday at 7:30 a.m., prior to the 8 a.m. Mass. The group of around 9-10 “prays for our church and everybody else in the world,” Perry said. “On Fridays we pray for the unborn. Our group got started a long time ago, I don’t know exactly when.”

• Penny Pitstick started a rosary group that meets following the 8 a.m. Mass, on the first Saturday of each month, at St. Charles Borromeo Church, in Spokane. “We pray for peace,” Pitstick said, “and we do that because the Blessed Mother asked us to at Fatima. We started about a year-and-a-half ago. We also have the Blessed Sacrament exposed during this time.” The pastor, Father Eugene Tracy, “has been very supportive.” Typically, Pitstick said, about 10 people participate in this group.

• At Walla Walla’s Assumption Parish, Libby and Ferd Swenson have been active for “a long time; I can’t remember when it wasn’t happening,” in a rosary group that meets each weekday morning at 7:50 a.m., prior to the 8:30 a.m. Mass. “After we finish the rosary, we say a prayer for the unborn,” said Swenson. “Usually we have only four people, two married couples, but we want to invite others, as well, and we hope more people will join us.”

• Back at Spokane’s St. Thomas More Parish, Vince Schmid participates in a second rosary group that meets prior to each weekday’s 7:30 a.m. Mass. “I don’t remember when it started,” he said, “but I’ve been involved for several years. I’d say that most of the time we have 5-10 people there.”

Schmid also belongs to a group that gathers at St. Thomas More each Tuesday at 1 p.m. to make and repair rosaries. “Some of us use chain and wire to make a metal-type rosary,” Schmid said, “and you’re doing good to finish one of those at one meeting. Others use string, and they are able to make at least two or three each time. We buy the parts from a religious supply house, and we each pay dues of a couple of dollars a month to pay for the parts to make the rosaries. We send the rosaries to charitable groups.”

The rosary making group has been around for at least 10 years, he said. Participation “varies from four or five people to more than that sometimes.”

• Mike and Terri Neal, of Walla Walla’s St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 17 years ago started a rosary group that draws participants from all three of the city’s parishes. The group meets in the church each Wednesday at 7 p.m., with 10-12 participants. “We really wanted to start a Rosary group, and we didn’t have one in our area, so a group of us got together and started one, with the approval of the pastor at the time,” said Terri. “Everybody has been very supportive. Actually, Mike is even more involved than I am, because he took over leading. We have eight kids, and it’s kind of a family affair for us. My older kids usually end up leading a decade. We pray the 15-decade rosary. The Luminous Mysteries didn’t exist when we started, and when they came along we just decided that to include them would be too much.”

• At Spokane’s Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pat Harrett participates each Tuesday in a rosary that takes over an hour, beginning after Evening Prayer, at 5:40 p.m.

• “The rosary group began on Aug. 2, 1988,” Harrett said. “It’s really meant for peace in the world and the wellbeing of everybody, and we all put in our own petitions. We pray all 20 mysteries, Luminous, Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious, so it takes longer.” The group is not huge – “four, five, six at the most. I wish we could get more people to come. Prayer is something people have to get used to.”

• Between 15-20 people gather each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Pullman’s Sacred Heart Parish for a bi-lingual (Spanish/English) Rosary. This group first came together about one year ago. Participants alternate the decades of the rosary between English and Spanish. Theresa Paul, Director of Religious Education, said that often when another activity begins a little later in the evening, people will come early to pray the rosary, first.

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