May 13, 2015
By Kristina Dean
CARTHAGE - During the 13th Annual Rosary Crusade at St. James Minor Church on Friday, many across the world will join their prayers together for special intentions during a seven hour Rosary after Mass concelebrated by Bishop Terry R. LaValley and pastor George F. Maroun.
Mass begins at 5:15, followed by Eucharistic Adoration where Jesus will be present for the seven hours of praying the Rosary, based on the seven sorrows of Mary, Mother of God. Each hour, three complete Rosaries are prayed for specific intentions and are led by different families or groups.
Prayer intentions include all life, families and the sacrament of marriage, innocence and all children and grandchildren, the Holy Church, vocations, all priests and those consecrated to religious life, the Holy Father’s intentions, soldiers, world peace, and all sinners and poor souls in Purgatory. The last hour is for prayers of thanksgiving. Benediction follows at 1 a.m.
Carthage resident and event organizer Robert R. Renaud plans on starting the first hour with an explanation of this year’s theme, “Mary, Undoer of Knots.”
Each year Mr. Renaud, an art teacher and celebrated Catholic artist, creates an original painting based on the theme. Those who attend the event and stay for at least three hours, in honor of Our Lord’s Passion on the cross, will receive a free print of this year’s piece, titled, “Undoer of Knots.”
Mr. Renaud said he received the current idea after listening to a Lighthouse CD talk about this particular title of the Blessed Mother, Pope Francis’ favorite Marian title.
This is the first time Bishop LaValley will attend and celebrate Mass. Mr. Renaud said he was excited to learn the Bishop’s schedule allowed him to attend.
“It is not only an honor, but to me is a true testament that Bishop LaValley is a true shepherd to our diocese and that he has a great love for Our Lady, and knows of her power of intercession through the means of the Rosary,” he said.
Father Maroun has participated in the Crusade with Mass and Benediction since its start, 13 years ago. He recently announced he will be retiring.
“I always remember the number of years that Bob Renaud initiated the Rosary Crusade because it coincides with the number of years I have been pastor here at St. James in Carthage and St. Mary’s of Copenhagen,” he said. “This June will mark the completion of 13 years as pastor.
“It was near the end of my first year that Bob approached me with the idea of having a Rosary Crusade,” he said. “At first I didn’t know what to think about the idea, but was impressed with Bob’s faith in God and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Father Maroun said he’d learned over his years as pastor not to obstruct ways in which the Holy Spirit may be the source of inspiration. He recognized this in Mr. Renaud’s efforts.
“I figured if it was of God, it would succeed,” he said. “I must say it has been very successful thus far and has been spiritually fruitful for those who have participated over the years. “Anything that enhances our faith in Christ and devotion to His Blessed Mother has got to be good,” he said.
The Crusade reminds Fr. Maroun of the “popular religiosity” that he experienced serving as a missionary in Mollendo, Peru as part of the Ogdensburg Peruvian Apostolate from 1982 to 1988, he said.
At the beginning of the Crusade, approximately 75 to 100 people attend the Mass and stay for the first hour. The following hours contain anywhere from 30 to 40 people, and never less than 20, Mr. Renaud said.
In the past, Crusade participates have traveled from Clayton, Potsdam, Ogdensburg and in this year, Albany. People who can't be at the church physically can join in spirit by praying the Rosary. Many from across the United States and the world including Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Korea and Great Britain join in saying the Rosary although their hours of prayer may be different.
The world needs our prayers, Mr. Renaud said. “It is through this simple string of beads that Satan will be defeated,” he said.
Besides creating and painting the artwork, Mr. Renaud organizes the groups to lead the Rosary and sends out emails to many people asking for prayers. He credits two women with helping him, the Blessed Mother, and his wife, Mary Beth.
“I’m convinced I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world to have these two by my side,” he said.
He lives in West Carthage with his wife, where he sells many works and prints out of his studio, located next to his house.
The schedule for the Crusade as well as all the previous artwork can be seen at the church's website: