Marian Congress focuses on importance of rosary
KANNAPOLIS — They came from as far as Guatemala and New York City, or as near as Kannapolis and Mooresville. Latinos, Filipinos and Anglos. All with the same purpose: to sing Mary's praises as the Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Rosary, and Mother of the human family in the third-annual Carolina Marian Congress at the Kannapolis Performing Arts Center on Oct. 6.
Nearly 400 faithful gathered throughout the day to hear talks in both English and Spanish. The Congress' theme was "Called to Humility and Unity in Charity." It began with recitation of the rosary in the morning, and it included Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. In the afternoon, the Marian devotees hoisted the image of "Our Lady of Manhattan," along with other banners with images of the Blessed Virgin, and went around the block for a Marian procession. The event concluded with Mass celebrated by Bishop Peter J. Jugis.
Pictured: Bishop Peter Jugis celebrated Mass for attendees of the Marian Congress in Kannapolis Oct. 6. In the foreground is a statue of Our Lady of Manhattan. (Rico De Silva | Catholic News Herald)
During his bilingual homily, Bishop Jugis encouraged married couples to ask Our Lady to intercede for their families and obtain God's blessings on their behalf while praying the rosary.
"We need Mary's prayers to guide us through these troubled times for marriage," he said. Bishop Jugis also pointed out that the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and the family, are under attack by secular forces. "Marriage and the family are facing great difficulties today."
Bishop Jugis also denounced the abortion mentality and the proliferation of contraception as diminishing factors of the value of human life and as enemies of family union.
"All the mysteries of the rosary remind us of the beauty of family life in one way or the other," he said. In the Joyful Mysteries, the Incarnation of Jesus and His birth are gifts from God in the action of the Holy Spirit, and are models of love for all families. In the Luminous Mysteries, Mary acts as Mother of the Church, asking to Jesus to perform His first miracle at the wedding of Cana. The Sorrowful Mysteries culminate with Jesus' death on the Cross, but not before Christ appoints Mary at the foot of the Cross as the Mother of St. John the Apostle and the Mother of all His disciples. Finally, in the Glorious Mystery of Pentecost, Mary is present in the midst of the Apostles during the birth of the Church as the Mother of the Church.
Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin made a special appearance in the afternoon and spoke about the importance of having devotion to Mary and her rosary as a way to bring Catholics closer to Jesus and find internal peace. "Mary understands our heartaches," Bishop Curlin said. "Daily prayer of the rosary is important because the mysteries of the rosary help us answer the mysteries of life."
Missionary Fraternity of Mary Father Francisco Menjivar of Guatamala conducted all the Spanish talks. Father Menjivar called Mary a "faithful servant," and encouraged the Spanish-speaking audience to follow Mary's exhortation at the wedding at Cana: to "do what He tells you."
The Marian Congress was a combined effort of both Redemptorist Father Alvaro Riquelme, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Kannapolis, and Aida Gamolo, a Marian evangelist from New York. Originally from the Philippines, Gamolo travels frequently back and forth from New York City to the Carolinas to promote devotion to Mary. She started a rosary group called "To Jesus through Mary" at St. Thérèse of Lisieux Church in Mooresville in 2008. Gamolo said devotion to Mary is deeply rooted in Filipino and Latin-American cultures.
"Devotion to the Blessed Mother doesn't come overnight," she noted.
— Rico De Silva, correspondent
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy