A Time to Speak – Devotions honor the Blessed Mother

Father Matthew Hardesty
Father Matthew Hardesty

Did you know there was an Archdiocesan Marian Committee? The purpose of the committee is to promote devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and to coordinate Marian devotions within the Archdiocese of Louisville.

You may be aware of our two key events: the Rosary Celebration held in Bardstown on the Sunday after Labor Day and the Living Rosary held in Louisville on the first or second Sunday of October. These devotions have existed for many years. This year, we held the 43rd annual Rosary Celebration on Sept. 11 and look forward to the 65th annual Living Rosary on Oct. 9.

For many years, Father Lawrence Lindle, God rest his soul, served as the director of the committee. He did a fabulous job building the traditions for both events and arranging excellent speakers. Father Matthew Hardesty took the reins in 2015 and he had some big shoes to fill.

The Rosary Celebration and the Living Rosary share the common theme of honoring our Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of the Rosary. The events also express our faith in the power of prayer and of Mary’s important role in the life of our nation, our families and our children.

This faith has sustained the church throughout history, from the great victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 — attributed to the praying of the rosary — to the humble visit of our Blessed Mother in 1917 to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.

What makes the Louisville event a “living” rosary is its inclusion of children from throughout the archdiocese who form the beads of a large rosary. Three children also represent the children of Fatima. First, a Marian talk is given and then the congregation prays the rosary, with the decades led by different parish groups and religious orders.

It is not too late for any groups wishing to participate to contact committee member Judy Crush at crushtouch@peoplepc.com.

The event also features Marian hymns performed by The Holy Name Band and the crowning of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Rosary Celebration in Bardstown similarly features a Marian talk and a crowning, but it is unique in offering an opportunity to browse religious items from local vendors. In a sense, the events are both truly “living” and truly a “celebration”!

In our history, the Rosary Celebration used to be held in the amphitheater in Bardstown, but in recent years it has filled the auditorium at Nelson County High School.

The Living Rosary has been held in the Louisville Fairgrounds, the Louisville Memorial Gardens and Bellarmine University. Recently the Catholic boys’ and girls’ high schools have hosted the event and this has been quite successful.

Also recently, the Living Rosary began to include a competition among schools to have the most participants. As a result, more children have been involved than in recent years. Last year Immaculata Classical Academy was the winner and got to house the “trophy” — a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima with their name engraved on an adjoining plaque — in their school for one year. They also received a free pizza party.

Any pastors, principals or parents who would like their children, grades kindergarten to 12, to participate in the event can contact committee member Becky Glasser at glasserbecky@gmail.com.

Although other events and devotions have come and gone throughout the history of the Archdiocesan Marian Committee, the Rosary Celebration and The Living Rosary have always endured.

We pray that as the Year of Mercy draws to a close, the Holy Spirit will continue to invigorate, with our collaboration, archdiocesan-wide devotion to Mary, our “Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope” (“Hail Holy Queen” prayer).

Keep an eye on The Record as we plan for 2017 and the 100th Anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. The committee invites anyone interested in helping to promote these devotions to contact Father Hardesty at matthardesty@hotmail.com.

For more information about the Living Rosary, contact Steve or Judy Crush at crushtouch@peoplepc.com. Regarding the Rosary Celebration, contact Martha Spalding of the Eternal Life apostolate at wjsjmj@bardstowncable.net.

Father Matthew Hardesty is director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Marian Committee and pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Fredericktown, Ky., and Holy Rosary Church in Manton, Ky. Judy Crush is a Marian Committee member and a parishioner of Guardian Angels Church.

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