Arizona Rosary Celebration to honor Our Lady of Mercy

"La Virgen de las Cuevas," painted by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) between 1644-1655. Mary is being honored under the title "Our Lady of Mercy" at this year's Arizona Rosary Celebration Oct. 23. (Public Domain)
“La Virgen de las Cuevas,” painted by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) between 1644-1655. Mary is being honored under the title “Our Lady of Mercy” at this year’s Arizona Rosary Celebration Oct. 23. (Public Domain)

Arizona Rosary Celebration

When: 2-4:15 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23
Confessions at noon with the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit and other priests
Where: Phoenix Convention Center, Halls F-G,
33 S. Third St.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted will be presiding and Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, will be the keynote speaker.
Click here or call
(623) 939-1840 for more information.

Even though the Year of Mercy will end next month, organizers of the 41st annual Arizona Rosary Celebration wanted to remind the faithful that there is still time to commemorate the jubilee year.

Every year the celebration honors Mary under a different title, and to coincide with the holy year, she will be honored as “Our Lady of Mercy.”

“Hopefully they’ll be inspired in this last month that’s left to do more and reach out in this Year of Mercy,” said Dorothy Westfall, who has helped organize every Rosary Celebration for the past 39 years.

The Knights of Columbus Arizona State Council co-sponsors the Arizona Rosary Celebration, previously referred to as “Rosary Sunday” and held this year on Oct. 23, with the help of the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and other Catholic organizations. There will also be a celebration in Tucson the day before with Las Cruces Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramírez, CSB, delivering the keynote address.

“It’s a great opportunity in the state to encourage the faithful and get people together to pray the Rosary,” said Larry Costanzo, a former supreme master for the Knights of Columbus and the state council’s representative on the planning committee. “The Knights have been pushing the Year of Mercy from the Supreme headquarters, so we’re just joining with that,” he added, referring to the celebration’s theme.

Costanzo added that the Supreme Council has encouraged other state councils to look at Arizona as a model for sponsoring statewide spiritual gatherings such as the Arizona Rosary Celebration.

A woman holds up her rosaries to be blessed at the 40th annual Rosary Celebration held Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Phoenix Convention Center.
A woman holds up her rosaries to be blessed at last year’s Arizona Rosary Celebration. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)

He expects solid catechesis from Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, a member of the newly established Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit, who will deliver the keynote. Fr. Ignatius recently completed his doctoral studies in Rome with an emphasis on the mercy of God.

“I am focusing on Mary as Our Lady of Mercy and in particular how that is related to her being with Jesus at the Cross. She is the Mother of Mercy throughout her life but in a unique and singular way she participates at the Cross as Jesus is pouring out God’s merciful love to us and the world,” said Fr. Ignatius.

Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, chaplain of the Catholic Physicians’ Guild of Phoenix, concelebrates at the Oct. 15 White Mass sponsored by the guild. (Tony Gutiérrez/CATHOLIC SUN)
Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, concelebrates at the Oct. 15 White Mass. Fr. Ignatius, who recently completed doctoral studies in Rome on the topic of the mercy of God, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Arizona Rosary Celebration Oct. 23. (Tony Gutiérrez/CATHOLIC SUN)

Reflecting on his own devotion to the Rosary, Fr. Ignatius said that Mary accompanies Jesus in the good times and the bad, “and so we too are called to be with our friends, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, and mothers and fathers during the good times and the times when we are tempted to run away. Mary is our model for this kind of love and praying the Rosary as I meditate on her life and Jesus’ life gives me encouragement to love in the same way.”

Westfall said that there are petition boxes throughout the diocese that will be placed at the shrine of Our Lady following the opening procession in which various parish groups are represented. More than 1,000 people participate in the procession. Prayer intentions will also be collected by Charismatic Renewal Ministries before the celebration starts.

“Many people look at Rosary Sunday as a time they feel they have one foot in heaven for a while. It’s a very moving, spiritual experience for them,” said Westfall.

Organizers also emphasized the importance to pray since this year is a presidential election year.

“This is an election year, and we wanted to pray for Mary and Jesus’ intervention to save the country,” said Costanzo. “We don’t make it a political issue, but we need to pray for the leaders of our community and our country, and our world.”

Parking is available at the southeast corner of Third and Jefferson Streets, where the Phoenix Suns have extended their discount parking rate of $5.