As I write this, we are counting the days to the inaugural Rosary Pilgrimage event, at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Washington, DC, right across the street from our own Dominicans of the Eastern Province of St. Joseph. You will most likely receive this just before or just after this wonderful gathering. However blessed this event, and may God bring its good work to completion, it is still an event. Usually after something special like this, the question is “How can we keep this going?”
Although we are focused in this first year mostly on just getting it off the ground, we do so with an eye to the present and to the future. Namely, how do we get more people praying the Rosary, and how do we add more prayer warriors to the membership of our blessed Confraternity? Therefore, we must think globally, but act locally, as the planning motto goes.
For this reason, we would like to encourage members to erect a local Confraternity of the Rosary (sometimes called a Rosary Altar Society), whose members (like all of us already enrolled) are not bound under sin, but who would actively encourage the recitation of the Rosary and enrollment in the Confraternity. How would one go about this endeavor?
First, the Pastor of the parish or shrine should write to the Provincial Promoter of the Holy Rosary. In the United States, we Dominican friars are divided into four provinces. This letter should be written on parish letterhead and indicate that the Pastor requests the establishment of a local chapter of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. The letter should also note the (Arch-)diocese in which the church is located.
Once this letter is received by the Provincial Promoter (in the Western United States, Fr. Dismas Sayre, OP, here at the Rosary Center), he will contact the Prior Provincial of the Province and begin the process for establishing a new Rosary Confraternity. As part of this process, the Prior Provincial will request the consent of the diocesan Bishop and, following upon that, he will issue an official decree erecting the Rosary Confraternity. This will be mailed to the Pastor, formally establishing the Confraternity at the parish. If you are unsure as to where you will need to mail your request, please contact us.
Note: Rosary Confraternities (or Rosary Altar Societies) that were established in former decades and which have lost contact with their local Dominican provinces may also wish to contact the Promoter of the Holy Rosary to revive the connection. Once erected, a Confraternity exists in perpetuity.
Each local chapter would have the power to enroll members. Much of the apostolate is left to the discretion of the Director (that is, the Pastor), for the needs of the local community. However, the central mission should always be focused on Our Lady’s Rosary and increasing devotion to the Most Holy Mother of God. While this does not exclude some kind of Corporal Work of Mercy, there are many fine societies and sodalities that are dedicated to these specific works.
Questions may always be sent to us electronically or by mail.
These are exciting times for us – let us go forth, rosaries in hand, spreading this wonderful devotion for the good of Holy Mother Church and all members of our blessed Confraternity!
*Much of this material graciously provided by the Eastern Dominican Province.