BY KATHY SCHMUGGE
The official tally is in: 31,007 rosaries were prayed for life issues during the month of October in the Diocese of Charleston. The prayers were part of the national Rosaries for Life effort that takes place each October during Respect Life Month.
Once again, the diocese surpassed its goal of 25,000 rosaries for the annual prayer campaign. This year also saw an increase in church participation, from 38 parishes last year to 45 this year.
“The program is easy to implement,” said Rev. James LeBlanc, diocesan director of family life. “Each parish appoints a coordinator to promote the prayer campaign and to tally the number of rosaries prayed in October.”
The totals for each parish were collected by campaign organizer Valerie Baronkin, the Upstate regional Respect Life coordinator. She reported the final count to the Family Life Office.
“It was wonderful to see everyone coming together to offer prayers for these important issues that face us all,” said Baronkin. She was also pleased with the increased involvement of the Catholic schools.
“It’s great that our schools are teaching children that respecting God’s wonderful gift of every human person — no matter how small, weak or disabled — should be included in our prayers,” she said.
Many church organizers gathered and prayed before or after Masses. To encourage parishioners, some churches made rosaries and prayer cards available. Corpus Christi Church Respect Life Coordinator Arlene Judge made 265 rosaries for distribution at her church with help from her daughter Karen and grandson Aaron.
“I believe the rosary will be the weapon to defeat the disrespect for life,” Judge said.
The churches that prayed over 1,000 rosaries in October were: Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood, Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach, St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach, St. Francis by the Sea on Hilton Head Island, St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken, St. Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville, and St. Michael in Garden City.
Under the leadership of Chris Nieders, St. Mary Magdalene Church collectively prayed the most rosaries with a total of 3,452. St. Peter School in Beaufort came in second with 2,028 rosaries.