The inspiring story of how one parish revived its Rosary confraternity

2 mins read
Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary
Courtesy photos

On Feb. 2, hundreds of faithful from across Long Island gathered at St. Patrick’s parish in Smithtown, New York, to participate in a solemn enrollment of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. The evening marked the first solemn enrollment of new members for the confraternity in over twenty years.

Courtesy photos

“It was so moving to see so many gather to show their love for the Rosary,” said Father Louis Cona, associate pastor of St. Patrick’s. “People have a real longing to connect with the traditions of their Catholic faith, and that’s what I saw in my parish that night.”

The evening began with a solemn blessing of candles, incorporating the long-standing tradition of the “Candlemas” feast, followed by a candlelit procession to the altar. During adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Dominican Father Jonathan Kalisch, director of chaplains of the Knights of Columbus, led the faithful in praying the Rosary and preached a moving sermon on the mysteries of the feast day, calling to mind the Lord’s fidelity to his promises as seen through the lives of Simeon and Anna. During his preaching, Father Kalisch highlighted personal testimonies to demonstrate the spiritual power of the Rosary.

A Dominican tradition

The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, also known as the Rosary Altar Society, began in earnest as an apostolate of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) in the 1470s, animated by the preaching of Blessed Alan de la Roche. St. Patrick’s parish, seeking to honor the Confraternity’s Dominican roots, invited Father Kalisch to preach and celebrate the solemn rites.

Also Feb. 2, the Church observed the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. Father Kalisch recounted how the Lord Jesus, present to us in the Blessed Sacrament and in the mysteries of the Rosary, remains faithful to men and women religious through the support of his grace in prayer and fidelity to religious life. Two sisters of the congregation of Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Sister Maria Veritatis and Sister Agnes Maria, took part in the evening celebration. Following benediction Father Kalisch blessed roses, which he presented to Sisters Maria Veritatis and Agnes Maria, as well as to Father Abraham Thannickal, OIC, as a sign of their consecrated lives.

Solemn enrollment

The evening concluded with a solemn enrollment of new members of the Confraternity and a blessing of rosaries. Over 170 new members were enrolled in the Confraternity, stirred in part by Father Kalisch’s preaching. Over thirty young adults from the local community joined for the evening of prayer, as well as several young families.

The evening was made possible by the coordination and support of the local Knights of Columbus council. Members of the 4th degree were also present to solemnly accompany the relics of St. John Paul II and Blessed Michael McGivney. “The number of faithful gathered that evening serves as a reminder of the grace on offer to grow in holiness through the mysteries of the Rosary,” says Father Cona. “I hope to see evenings like this spread to parishes across the country to inspire men and women to belong more deeply to Christ through Mary.”

Our Sunday Visitor Staff

A trusted publication for more than a century, Our Sunday Visitor is an indispensable source of information and formation for Catholics who love their faith.