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Monday, May 3, 2010

Praying the Rosary with a Mission

On the first day of our Mission-Rosary Activity, we were gathered in the apartment of one of our Hispanic parish leaders. We were on our knees praying the rosary when, suddenly, a neighbor barged in and asked in the loud voice: "¿Quién murió?" (Who died?). Traditionally, in many families, the rosary is prayed when somebody close to the family passes away.

Later on, we explained to the leader that nobody died. We told him that we were praying rosary for the intention of the Missionaries of Jesus. He was so relieved to know that nobody died that when the donation box was passed around, he also dug into his pocket to make a contribution.

The Mission-Rosary Activity was an attempt to go beyond praying the rosary simply as a personal devotion. It also brought people of different cultures and languages to come together in their homes to pray for a common cause ... the Missions. For ten consecutive nights, we gathered together in thirty homes, in different streets of our two parishes of St. Kevin and Precious Blood to offer our prayers and support for ten missionary involvements of the Missionaries of Jesus. During this activity, we were welcomed in more than 300 homes!

To bring these missionaries and their works closer and more real to the people, we read the letters of our missionaries in the field during the rosary prayer. We had their photographs displayed in churches. We also invited the prayer participants to make a donation for each particular mission. The amount of contributions we received exceeded all our expectations. The generosity of the people almost brought tears of gratitude to our eyes.

We were touched by the enthusiastic response of those who joined the prayers and the host families who welcomed us to their homes. Not only did we pray together. There was also the sharing of stories, concerns and a delicious variety of food and drink. Some were so enthused that they already "booked" their homes for the next house prayer and gathering.

The Mission-Rosary Activity did not only help raise the missionary consciousness of the parishioners. It also helped us realize that our differences in culture, traditions, language and economic standing need not be hindrances to a meeting of hearts and minds. When we are able to focus on a common mission, we will find out that we can communicate and welcome each other in many different ways. No more Jews or Gentiles, no more slaves or free men ... young or old ... only children of the same Father and therefore ... brothers and sisters to one another.

- Ike Ymson, MJ

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