WA’s Rosary Bouquet turns 20

13 Aug 2008

By The Record

By Anthony Barich
One day in 1989, Margaret Bowan was sitting around having a cup of coffee with a group of fellow Marian devotees in Northam when they thought it would be nice to find a practical way to honour Our  Lady’s birthday.

Freed French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt wears a hand-made rosary on her right wrist as she talks with Reuters in Paris July 8. She and 14 other hostages held by rebels for years were rescued by Colombian soldiers in a bloodless operation on July 2. The Rosary is also being embraced by school children around WA. Photo: CNS

Twenty years later, the 48-hour Rosary Bouquet has spread across the State as groups from far and wide have committed themselves to the 48-hour event, in accordance with Our Lady’s plea in each of her six apparitions at Fatima: “Say the Rosary every day to obtain world peace.”
A scroll with names of parishes, schools and individuals taking part will be taken up in a procession during a Mass on September 8 at St Joachim’s Pro-Cathedral in Victoria Park at 12.10pm, preceded by  meditative Rosary led by Fr Paul Carey at 11.30am.
All WA Catholic schools have been invited to take part, and more and more schools have been marshalling their forces; while this treasure of the Church has enriched students.
Among the schools taking part this year, Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in Lockridge will hold a whole-school Rosary on September 4.
Children will have posters as they introduce the Mysteries and the school will purchase coloured plastic balls to make a human set of Rosary beads.
This will give a whole new meaning to the prayer commonly said at the end of the Rosary, after the Hail, Holy Queen: “Let us pray…meditating on the mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise.”
Indeed, the students will become the Rosary, in a sense.
For Archbishop Barry Hickey, the act of hundreds of school children praying the Rosary together is a treasure in itself.
He looks forward to celebrating the special Mass on September 8 for the 20th anniversary of the Rosary Bouquet.
“Let us hope that many people will be attracted to celebrate Our Lady’s birthday in this way, especially our school children, who we hope will develop a special devotion to Mary as we call for her intercession,” he said.
The Rosary Bouquet’s popularity and devotion has spread across the State.
Geraldton Bishop Justin Bianchini has also thrown his support behind the Rosary Bouquet.
A participant from Geraldton called the Bouquet a “very powerful gift for (Mary’s) birthday”, while one from Broome who represents a small group said that they are aware of a greater cause.
“By linking up with others throughout WA praying the Rosary, we feel part of our mother’s family because she is mother to us all,” the Broome participant said.
One from Albany said: “We are obeying Our Lady’s request in offering Rosaries to Her which links us with others in a chain of prayer around WA. It is the least we can do.”
Rosary Bouquet Coordinator Margaret Bowen
Ph: 9341 8082 Fax: 9341 8083 Email: bowen@iinet.net.au Website: www.rosarywa.info