by Susan Mikula Campbell
The 32nd annual Rosary Crusade for World Peace will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at Our Lady of Fatima Basilica, 1023 Swann Road, Lewiston.
Monsignor J. Thomas Moran, pastor of St. Bernard's R.C. Church in Youngstown, once again will serve as moderator of the crusade, which is sponsored by the Niagara Council of Catholic Women of the Diocese of Buffalo.
Moran started the Rosary Crusade 32 years ago, when he was stationed at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Niagara Falls. Back then it was held at the former Lackey Plaza. In recent years, the event has been held at the Lewiston shrine.
"The purpose is to have an external display honoring our Blessed Mother, particularly under her title of Our Lady of Peace," Moran said.
After 32 years, he still looks forward to the annual event that brings together parishioners from the many Catholic parishes of the Western New York area.
"I enjoy doing it. I enjoy the people who get so much out of it," he said.
Theme for this year's crusade is "Our Lady of Fatima, we consecrate our lives to you," said Dolores Laurrie of Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Parish in Niagara Falls, who is chairman of the annual crusade.
The crusade consists of an outdoor living rosary procession, coronation of the statue of Mary, blessing of children and benediction. The Rev. Leon Biernat, pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii of Lancaster will be the homilist. The Cantara family from Divine Mercy Parish in Niagara Falls will crown the statue of Mary. Niagara County students will recite the rosary, and members of Niagara University's ROTC will participate in the ceremony.
Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed his apostolic blessing upon all participants in this year's event, Laurrie said.
The crusade is open to the public. Free rosaries and instructions on how to pray the rosary will be distributed, she said.