“Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”
People in cars and driveways and doorways stopped to watch and listen to the passing procession.
About 125 adults and children were praying the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary while walking together to the Pike County Courthouse in Bowling Green.
It was the evening of Oct. 7, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.
At the urging of the U.S. Catholic bishops, people throughout the nation were praying the Rosary together that day.
“There is a spiritual battle going on,” Deacon Mark Dobelmann of St. Clement Parish in St. Clement, Sacred Heart Parish in Vandalia and the Mission of St. John in Laddonia, remarked. “Especially during the pandemic, people are looking for something greater than themselves, and we need to be showing them what it is.”
A young man carrying a cross led the mile-long procession, followed by a color guard bearing flags of the United States and Missouri and a blue and white banner for the Blessed Mother.
Four young men carried an image of Our Lady of Fatima on a platform, adorned with a wreath of roses.
Scores of children took part in the procession.
The antiphonal prayers mixed with a golden sunset, the turning of trees and the sharp aroma of burning leaves.
“Who better to ask to pray for us than Jesus’s mother?” Deacon Dobelmann asked. “She’s the queen! She’s our mother! She’s the mother of the Church. As the mother of Jesus, she is the mother of everything. So we invoke her to lead us through this spiritual battle.”
This was the third monthly Rosary procession in Bowling Green this year.
Father Henry Ussher, pastor of the St. Clement and Vandalia parishes and the Laddonia mission, helped organize the events.
“His appeal was for us to take prayer out into the public,” said St. Clement parishioner Chris Hummel. “And so the suggestion was made to have a Rosary procession, and he was all in favor of it.”
In fact, Fr. Ussher picked the dates.
“This day, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, is very important to him,” Mr. Hummel noted.
Fr. Ussher took part in the past two Rosary processions but was at the diocesan Priests Institute during this one.
Deacon Dobelmann and Mr. Hummel said the most surprising thing about the processions has been the turnout.
“The last two months, we’ve had 150 to 200 people,” said Mr. Hummel.
They came from Bowling Green, Louisiana, Clarksville, Elsberry, Laddonia, Vandalia and other nearby communities.
“Always room for more!” said parishioner Stephanie Dobelmann, Deacon Dobelmann’s daughter. “We’re not going to turn anyone away.”
Deacon Dobelmann talked about the Rosary as a potent weapon against the forces of evil.
“St. Padre Pio, when he was in his last days, would say, ‘Give me my weapon!’” the deacon stated. “He was referring to the Rosary.”
It’s also a magnet for people contemplating Catholic Christianity.
“With so many of the stories of people converting,” said Mr. Hummel, “it started with somebody inviting them to pray the Rosary, and it changed them.”
What changed them?
“Christ, His Church, His mother,” said Deacon Dobelmann. “And that’s what we’re trying to share with people here in our little corner of the world.”
He said a national uptick in Bible sales throughout the country has been reported since the pandemic began.
“People are looking for something, and they might not even know what they’re looking for,” he said. “We need be out here showing them the truth is about Christ, about His love, about His mercy.
“We need to be showing them that we’re not afraid, and that there’s always someplace they can go to experience the love that God has for them,” he said.
Ms. Dobelmann added: “It’s nice to live in a place that we’re able to do this. Hopefully, it will spark something.”