Family Rosary Rally

Youth, Families Pray the Rosary at St. Mary, Mother of Jesus

by Marie Elena Giossi
Diana Itzcua
Daughters of Mary from St. John the Evangelist-St. Rocco, Park Slope, stand in front pews during the Family Rosary Rally. (Photos © Marie Elena Giossi)

Children had the opportunity to come together to pray the rosary at St. Mary, Mother of Jesus Church, Bensonhurst, Tuesday evening, Oct. 16. 
In honor of the opening of the Year of Faith, the diocesan Office of Faith Formation sponsored a Family Rosary Rally for all young people enrolled in parish faith formation programs in Brooklyn and Queens and their families. A similar Rosary Rally for Catholic schoolchildren is scheduled for Oct. 24.
Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi, episcopal vicar for Brooklyn, led the recitation of the rosary, filling in for Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez who was unable to attend.
“We gather tonight to give glory and praise to Jesus’ mother and also our mother,” said Msgr. Grimaldi, welcoming young people and their families. Joining youth in the pews were staff members from the diocesan Faith Formation Office, Father Robert Mucci, parochial vicar, and parish Deacon Bryan Amore. 
Ted Musco, director of the Faith Formation Office, welcomed the families, who were invited to pray for an increase in vocations and respect for life as they reflected on the Luminous Mysteries.
Sitting in the front pews were more than a dozen little girls in white dresses, members of the Daughters of Mary at St. John the Evangelist-St. Rocco parish, Park Slope, with their parents.
Also among those gathered was Melissa Davis, an eighth grader in St. Mary’s religious education program. She recited the Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be next to the woman who taught her those prayers and their significance — her mother.
Lector Gaetano Gargano, a freshman at Xaverian H.S., Bay Ridge, and a sacristan at St. Mary’s, sat reverently as he added his voice to the others in prayer. He prays the rosary, he said, because feels its “one of the best ways to connect with Mary.”
For Diana Itzcua, a high school senior and parishioner at St. Mary’s, not only do the prayers have meaning, but also the rosary. She favors the wooden beads that she and her classmates were each given by Father Mucci when they received the sacrament of confirmation.
“The rosary is such a powerful tool that we, as Catholics, use to feel closer to God and Mary,” shared Lily Carrillo, a college student from St. John-St. Rocco, who served as a lector.
Fellow lector Elsie Herrera, a high school freshman also from St. John-St Rocco, said that she prays the rosary “for the health of family and friends.”
“And for political leaders,” added Carillo.
In his homily, Msgr. Vaccari noted that the month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary and he encouraged the families present to use this devotional practice to grow closer to God, especially during this Year of Faith. 
“The Rosary is a spiritual tool that helps us find peace in our lives and in the world today,” he said.
“We know the Blessed Mother watches over us and prays for us,” Msgr. Vaccari said. “She walks with us on our life’s journey.”
He instructed the children to pray to ask Jesus and Mary to be in their hearts and lives.
“In this Year of Faith, we want to be closer to Jesus, closer to Mary,” he said. “The rosary helps us stay close to Our Lady and she helps us stay close to Jesus.”
Before sharing refreshments and fellowship in the church basement, Msgr. Grimaldi thanked the families and explained how significant it was for them to take the time to come together in prayer.
“Each time we pray the rosary,” he said, “we are telling the Blessed Mother — Jesus’ mother and our mother — ‘We love you.’”