2013 Rosary Congress set for St. Dominic Church

    This year’s 23rd annual Greater New Orleans Rosary Congress kicks off Oct. 5 at 2:30 p.m. with a march from Mount Carmel Academy on Robert E. Lee Boulevard down Canal Boulevard to St. Dominic Church. Mount Carmel’s Chorale will sing before the procession begins, and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be crowned. Dominican Father Michael O’Rourke will lead the opening liturgy at St. Dominic at 4 p.m.
    Through Oct. 11 at St. Dominic, 775 Harrison Ave., the Rosary Congress will have an hourly rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet (3 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily), Masses at noon with various school choirs and 7:30 p.m. daily with confessions an hour before Mass. Eucharistic adoration will be available 24 hours a day.
    “Our (Catholic) church is so beautiful,” coordinator Marie Wojdac said. “During the Rosary Congress, we try to show the beauty of our faith.”
    Special events to note during the 168 hours of prayer for life, reparation and peace in our city and worldwide: a Mass for Families Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond; a Spanish Mass on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. celebrated by Dominican Friar Sergio Serrano; and a Mercy Mass Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. celebrated by Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Andrew Apostoli, who wrote the book, “Fatima For Today.”
    Father Apostoli will speak on Fatima at the Mass, and the Divine Mercy Choir directed by Lorraine Hess will provide music. Father Apostoli also will give a spiritual talk on the importance of the Holy Eucharist on Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. The St. Christopher Children’s Choir will sing at the noon Mass that day.
Rosary Congress history
      Wojdac said the first Congress was actually held in Poland to pray that government sanctions would be dropped to allow Pope John Paul II to visit his homeland. And the prayers worked. In 1988, it was brought to Washington, D.C., to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
    The following year, a group of local Catholics from New Orleans attended the Rosary Congress in Washington, D.C.
    “They were so impressed (with the D.C. event) that they brought it back to New Orleans,” Wojdac said, “And, we’ve had it here every year since.”
    She remembers the first Congress here at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Shrine Uptown. In preparation, the leaders brought together prayer groups from throughout the archdiocese to organize it.
    “New Orleans is a very spiritual city, so it was easy to call the prayer groups to help,” Wojdac said. Wojdac was in charge of the adoration part of the event and said groups willingly participated. “It took cooperation of the whole city to do it.”
    At the end of that first Rosary Congress in New Orleans, an announcement was made: The Delta Women’s Clinic that had performed many abortions had closed.
    “It encouraged us to continue,” Wojdac said. “It showed the power of the rosary.”
     Wojdac said the Congress has grown every year and even garnered interest from other cities to invite Wojdac to show them how it’s done.
    Another point that she said would be emphasized this year is that a plenary indulgence is given when the rosary is prayed in church and that individual goes to confession.
    “This is an opportunity for people to come and pray, go to confession and receive those blessings,” she said.
    This year, there will be a blessing of the Eucharist 15 minutes before every Mass.
    “We are giving the Lord an honor by doing this,” she said.
     The last Mass Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. – celebrated by Father Joe Krafft – will be a healing Mass with prayers for healing within families. (A family tree box will be set up for families to leave notes and petitions.)
    “It’s an exciting event for our city,” she said. “It’s a citywide event that brings many blessings.”
    For details, visit www.rosarycongress.org or call 508-7100.
    Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarionherald.org.

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