The sounds of native drumming and the sight of groups of matachin dancers performing in their Aztec inspired and regional costumes greeted the thousands of faithful as they arrived at the Phoenix Convention Center for the 38th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration Oct. 13.
The Knights of Columbus Arizona State Council sponsored the annual event, one of the largest public Rosary celebrations in the country. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted led the celebration.
As this year’s celebration in Phoenix was held on the 96th anniversary of the last appearance of Our Blessed Mother in Fatima and the “Miracle of the Sun,” it was appropriate that the celebration honored her under her title of Our Lady of Fatima.
The Tucson Diocese celebrated their part of the Arizona Rosary Celebration Oct. 12 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, where Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas led the ceremony.
During the event, Bishop Olmsted consecrated the Diocese of Phoenix to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart earlier that day in by Pope Francis in Rome.
“Fatima is a message for all people in all times,”Bishop Olmsted said. “Fatima teaches us the power of prayer and the power of sacrifice; of joining our acts with those of Jesus on the cross, by which He redeemed the world.”
St. Maria Goretti parishioner Jill Hogan said she was inspired to attend by the consecration in Rome. “It was very special to come here for the consecration of the diocese. It was very refreshing to see all the people here praying,” Hogan said.
Keynote speaker Fr. James Presta, vice rector for the seminary administration, said he believes Pope Francis’ call for a day of prayer for peace on Sept. 7 moved the world from the brink of war.
“Prayer is a weapon of the power of the peaceful, that’s why we are gathered here today,” he said. “The rosary is a compendium of the Gospel, the heart of Jesus united with the heart of Mary. Two hearts; two loves; beating as one. We pray the beads as they have through the centuries. Praying the Rosary is a weapon of peace.”
Fr. Presta said, “It is important for us on this feast of Our Lady of Fatima to still pray for peace, for children, for families, and for faith to grow in families.”
Dozens of matachine and parish lay groups took part in the ceremonial blessing procession. The Tucson and Phoenix dioceses, along with the Legion of Mary and many other lay organizations also provided planning assistance. The choir of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish in Scottsdale provided the music for the celebration.