LINCOLN (SNR) - Catholics are invited to participate April 29 in praying the rosary while surrounding the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) as part of the HuskerCatholic Candle-lit Rosary Crusade.
The event will begin at 8 p.m., and is sponsored by the Diocese of Lincoln’s Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade.
At World Youth Day in 1993, Pope Saint John Paul II said, “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places like the first apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns, and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of the comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern metropolis.”
Organizers of the April 29 event hope that making Christ known is exactly what the more than 3,000 participants will do.
Catholics from all parishes in the Lincoln Diocese, and particularly those within a 60-mile radius of the city of Lincoln are invited to join their brothers and sisters in faith to surround the university campus with a living rosary.
Father James Kelleher S.O.L.T., the founder and director of the Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade, will lead the rosary. Bishop James Conley invited Father Kelleher, “the rosary priest” to bring his work to Nebraska, and Father Kelleher has since given talks about the rosary to Catholic schools and parishes throughout the diocese.
Father Kelleher focused on the impact that can be made when students respond to the call of Our Lady of Fatima.
“These three little kids being faithful helped bring World War I to an end,” Father Kelleher said.
Mary told the children to pray for peace in 1917, he explained. The same intention remains true for the Rosary Crusade, because the world today is just as desperate for peace.
“All the families, the priests, religious and bishop of Lincoln humbly coming together in prayer; these prayers are very important for stopping wars and maintaining peace,” Father Kelleher said.
Participants will join with their parishes to line the campus. The organization of parishes’ assigned areas can be found on the map at rosarylincoln.org. Those who attend independently from a parish are welcome to fill in wherever they choose on the 2.5-mile stretch around campus.
“Our Lady exhorted the children and us that to fight Satan we need weapons, and the rosary is one of our most powerful weapons to restore God to the family and to our society,” Bishop Conley said.
The image of the rosary as a spiritual weapon is the motive behind calling the event a crusade.
Wayne Ringer, vice president of the Rosary Crusade Committee, said that by being witness to this rosary, Catholics join Mary’s army against evil.
The committee chose to organize the rosary around the college campus to send a message of peace to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“It’s the high ground of society because that forms your next generation of leaders,” Ringer explained. “Mary is sick of the devil taking the high ground all the time. She wants it back.”
Attendees are invited to bring portable radios to tune into the rosary as it will be broadcasted on Spirit Catholic Radio 102.7. When streamed over the Spirit Catholic Radio app, the delay times differ so the portable radios are preferred.
Phone flashlights will serve as the “candlelight.”
As for spiritual preparation, Jerry Meyer, president of the Rosary Crusade Committee, said, “We as a parish family and a diocesan family need to prepare in prayer, and just go with an open mind to what Mary has in store for us.”
Meyer stressed the beauty in the simplicity of the rosary, saying the simple prayer can make a lasting impact.
Venerable Father Patrick Peyton C.S.C. said, “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”