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Saturday, June 30, 2007

History in the making

Dear Friend;

This is meant to give an inside look at the workings of the historic Rosary Bowl celebration in California this past May.

It is just over one month since the Rosary Bowl celebration in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on May 19, 2007. Eighteen months of planning and excellent collaboration by hundreds of volunteers preceded this great event. Not in the last fifty years has there been a gathering of this magnitude in southern California to pray the Rosary.

The organizers of this splendid event serve in Holy Cross Family Ministries, the successor organization for all the ministries founded by Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, a Holy CRoss priest who died in 1992 and is now a candidate for sainthood.

Patrick Peyton was born in Ireland in a poor family and came to the United States in 1928. Feeling called to the priesthood he entered the Holy Cross Congregation at Notre Dame University. Gaduated Magna Cum Laude and moved on to Washington, D.C. to study theology and prepare for ordination to the priesthood. Two years from ordination he was diagnosed with terminal tuberculosis and returned to Notre Dame to die--he thought. He was encouraged to trust in God and pray to the Mother of God that he would be healed through her intercession, if it were God's will. It was and he was given a new lease on life. He promised the Blessed Lady that he would dedicate the remainder of his life spreading devotion to her and to family prayer, especially the Rosary.

He founded Family Rosary in 1942 and Family Theater in 1947. He produced excellent radio and television programs; he organized huge rallies around the world sometimes gathering 2 million people at once to pray the Rosary {Sao Paulo, 1964 and Manila, 1985 each had 2 million people at large outdoor rallies.}He died in San Pedro California in 1992 after extraordinary service in over 40 rosary rallies around the world, hundreds of radio, television and film productions.

When Pope John Paul II announced a year of the Rosary and offered to all Christians his letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, he gave a fresh and solid theologuical foundation for the Rosary as a Chrosto-centric prayer. He called the Rosary a compendium of the Gospel and invited all people of good will to consider taking up the practice of the daily Rosary as a way of getting to know the Lord Jesus more intimately. He said we do this by travelling through all the events of Jesus'life in the comapny of the one who knew him best and loved him most, his own mother. She is also our mother and eager for us to take her hand and lead her lead us to her Son.
Pope JP II confessed in this letter that the Rosary was his favorite pryaer.

That 2002 letter provided the impetus for all of us in Holy Cross Family Ministries, including Family Theater, to begin looking at ways of making the Rosary once again a common and valued devotion for Christians everywhere, especially Catholics. The great secret of the Rosary is that it is a meditative way into contemplation that uses the repetition of the Hail Marys and Our Fathers as mantras to keep focused on the Lord and his great love for the human soul.

We see the Rosary Bowl in Pasadena as a way of gathering believers in large numbers to experience the power and the joy of praying to God and honoring His Mother. The Rosary Bowl has been a powerful experience ang the afterglow continues to encourage and inspire other cities around North America to attempt something similar.

You can see footage of the Rosary Bowl celebration on our website

More about this later. I pray you and your family and friends will have a safe and joyful 4th of July celebration in which we all give thanks for our cherished freedom.

God bless,

Fr. Willy