Joyce Coronel

Joyce Coronel is a regular contributor to The Catholic Sun and author of “A Martyr’s Crown.”

Phoenix are focusing on what it means for the faithful and how the year will be celebrated. The pope has asked that all dioceses around the world designate a “Door of Mercy” at their cathedral or another special church or shrine, and that every diocese implement the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative on the Friday and Saturday before the fourth week of Lent.

The first of a series of blogposts from Joyce Coronel as she reports from Israel.

They came from across the Diocese of Phoenix and beyond to show their love for Mary and ask for her intercession. The 40th annual Arizona Rosary Celebration drew several thousand Catholics to the Phoenix Convention Center Oct. 25 to pray the Rosary, listen to an inspirational message and soak up the blessings that poured out on a colorful display of faith and heartfelt affection for the Mother of God.

Sherry Weddell stood before a hall packed with 500 local Catholic leaders and issued a challenge. “What if you set out to double the number of intentional disciples in five years? What if you set out to make your parish a center of evangelization and discipleship?” Weddell queried the group.

I was still coming down off the high of the papal visit and engrossed in Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted’s exhortation to men when the news broke of yet another school shooting. This time, it was at a community college in a small town in Oregon where Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, killed nine people and wounded nine others.

Dcn. James Battista, 88, who once served at All Saints Parish in Mesa, died Sept. 29. Dcn. Battista was ordained Feb. 13, 1982 for the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois.

Taking place during the month in which Catholics worldwide renew devotion to the rosary — and thereby draw closer to Christ — the Arizona Rosary Celebration is celebrating its 40th year.

Claretian Father Darrin Merlino was baptized a Catholic but not raised as one. It wasn't until young adulthood that that he nonchalantly prayed, "Whatever Your will is for me, God."

They came from more than 100 countries around the globe — including several groups from the Diocese of Phoenix — to hear high-profile speakers challenge and encourage them to build up family life.

“When you’re 51 years old and you’re screaming your head off like that — just like everybody else — you lose yourself in it. It was so much fun," a Mesa Catholic said.


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