By RENEE WEBB
WEST BEND – The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption will be one of the host sites for the Worldpriest Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests to be held throughout the world on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The rosary relay, which is slated for 6 p.m. on June 23 in West Bend, is being organized locally by Susanne Reding, a parishioner at St. Michael Church in Whittemore.
“This is an event that’s happening world-wide, so whether you can make it to the shrine that day or not, I would love it if you could pray the rosary that day for our priests and all the priests of the world,” she said. “We know that priests need our prayers in many different ways whether it be physical, mental or spiritual – whatever the health needs of our priests.”
The Diocese of Sioux City has been assigned the Glorious Mysteries.
Reding pointed out that she first saw the Wolrdpriest Rosary Relay advertised about three years ago and when she contacted this Ireland-based group about hosting a rosary, they let her know it must be held at a shrine.
“It was perfect timing because the grotto had just been designated as a diocesan shrine,” Reding explained. “This will be our third year and it’s something we would like to not only continue to do but get more people involved each year.”
In the first year, the rosary drew about 20 people and last year there were about 50 in attendance. She would love to see the numbers grow both in participation and volunteers to help with the event.
Reding noted the foundress of the relay, Marion Mulhall of Ireland, set up the relay so that it starts at midnight on one side of the world and then progresses, concluding on the other side of the world that same day at midnight.
“We actually hand-off the rosary. When we get finished praying it, someone else starts it,” she said. “It’s now up to about 120 shrines throughout the world.”
For those who cannot make it to the grotto, Reding said they can pray a rosary that day from anywhere. Those who do make the trip to West Bend for the rosary, she mentioned they can walk around the grotto and pray for their own intentions too.
Organizing the rosary relay is just one ways Reding has actively worked to pray for priests. She is the leader of the St. Gianna Cenacle, a prayer cenacle she formed in 2009 in thanksgiving for the healthy delivery of her daughter, Sheila.
“Our group is composed of mostly laity, a few priests and deacons who pray weekly via a Thursday Thought that I write and send out in an email,” she explained. “We also gather monthly to pray a rosary of intercession for priests focusing on the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary.”
Reding stressed the fact there is never a lack of things to pray for. The cenacle prays for priests, deacons, deacon candidates, deacon wives, seminarians and consecrated religious.
One of the reasons why she is so intent on keeping the rosary relay going in this area is to help develop an awareness of how much priests and all religious need prayers.
“It also shines a great light on the rosary and the intercession of Mary in helping to strengthen our priests and the church as a whole,” she said. “We all need to be a part of that. The global aspect of the rosary relay demonstrates how much we all need to work together to strengthen the Catholic faith through the foundation of praying for priests. It is a truly critical piece of the faith life of each one of us as Catholics.”