“Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.” Simple words prayed at weekly Masses during hurricane season and by a special group of rosary-praying warriors on Wednesdays at Most Holy Trinity Church in Covington.
They pray the glorious mysteries on this day, in accordance with Wednesday being the day of the week Catholics are asked to pray this mystery, Terri Derbes, group organizer, said. The diehards in the group wouldn’t have it any other way.
It was the BP oil spill in 2010 that first prompted members of the parish to gather to pray, Derbes said.
“There was this feeling of wanting to do more, the feeling of ‘What can we do?’” Derbes said. “From that prayer service, we started with a rosary to pray for the devastation wrought from the oil spill.”
Those who participated enjoyed gathering so much that they made it into a regular meeting to pray for the entire Gulf Coast area. One member, Linda Beshoner, is an Ursuline Academy graduate, so she suggested adding a prayer to Our Lady of Prompt Succor (quick help), using a prayer distributed by the shrine on State Street in New Orleans.
“There always seems to be not only hurricanes but dead zones in the gulf or something,” Derbes said. “This rosary gives people a chance to share their personal hurricanes, their personal intentions,” in addition to praying for hurricane season.
As few as six or up to two dozen people attend each week. Derbes said more attend when disaster looms. The group continues each summer through August, having to stop due to space constraints in the parish once the parish School of Religion starts up again.
Among the regulars at the weekly rosary are Margaret and Ed Schmidt of Covington. The intimate size of the group initially attracted Margaret. Since joining, she’s learned the power of prayer while battling a bout with cancer. Most Holy Trinity rosary group and another parish have been praying for her recovery.
“I’ve gotten a deep love of the rosary from doing this,” Margaret Schmidt said. “I couldn’t always pray the rosary (when I was sick) but I would hold the rosary in my hand and it made me feel at peace with cancer. I knew the Blessed Mother was with me.”
A prayer intention for Margaret was one of many prayer petitions that group members make each week before the glorious mysteries are prayed. Several also mentioned healings of those for whom they’ve prayed. Intentions are made for others who are sick, relatives, families, raising teenagers, in thanksgiving for life’s many blessings, whatever those attending voice.
“We feel you can give your prayer life to those things,” Derbes said.
Beshoner handed a small statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor to Derbes, wishing her a safe vacation on the road. Our Lady of Prompt Succor is known for protecting the city of New Orleans from the ravages of war. The Ursuline nuns successfully prayed for her intercession in stopping a fire in the French Quarter in 1812 from destroying their convent, and again during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 to stop the British.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor is also called upon for protection against hurricanes and for other causes.
“Our Lady of Prompt Succor is powerful and extraordinary,” said Beshoner who attended Ursuline for 14 years.
She relayed a story about her grandson who was born five weeks before his due date. At first, she worried about his lungs and other major organs being undeveloped. Then she realized he was born on Jan. 8, the feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, and she knew he would be OK.
“When he was born, the nurses said, ‘He’s perfect; there’s nothing wrong with him,’” Beshoner said. “That’s my Our Lady of Prompt Succor story.”
Group members range in age from 14 to 91. The eldest, Lucille Lorio, moved to St. Tammany after losing everything in Arabi to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She said she had been an American Red Cross leader for 25 years and witnessed much devastation during the disasters she had worked.
“I appreciate this rosary so much,” she said. “It’s so peaceful and beautiful. You get an inward peace from coming. We’ve seen so much disaster. We just ask God to spare us once again.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.