Rosary Rally Draws 1000 People

Twenty five years ago Sister Ignatius McCarthy held the first Rosary Rally on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It's been an annual event held every October since 1977.

More than 1,000 people from Catholic churches across South Mississippi gathered at the 25th annual Rosary Rally on Sunday.

Saul Gonzalez has been a part of the rallies for the last five years and said he loves the closeness that Catholics share.

"To me it is the coming together, the oneness that we all share as Catholics. No matter where you go, it's all going to be the same thing, and that is what Catholic means, it means universal," Gonzalez said.

Throughout the service, the importance of praying the Rosary was explained time after time

"We repeat these prayers, the Our Father and the Hail Mary as a way of really contemplating and calming ourselves down and thinking about the passages from the Bible," Bishop Thomas Rodi said.

There are 15 original mysteries of the Rosary that date back to the 16th century.  This week, for the first time in more than 400 years, the Pope added five more mysteries to the originals.

"These are five more events from the life of Christ and the Gospels that he asks us to reflect upon as we pray the rosary," Rodi said.

Some participants said there are common misconceptions about Catholicism; but they said elements of their religion, like the Rosary and the Scapula, are what make it unique.

"A lot of non-catholics think we pray to saints, or that we pray to Mary we're praying to God, we're just asking Mary to intercede in our prayers," Gonzalez said.

"Whoever dies wearing [a scapula], if they truly believe in Mary and God they'll go to heaven. It's not really a ritual it's something to bring everyone together," one rally participant said.

The Rosary Rally has become a ritual in South Mississippi and many said it's truly a life changing experience.

"I feel more at peace with myself peace for others really forgiving towards people," the participant said.

Participants say they hope the 25-year tradition of the Rosary rally continues for years to come.

By Ashley Fillingame