By Emily Drooby
The world has shut down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, but people are still holding on tight to their faith.
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Forest Hills, Queens, has proven that by finding a way to keep a wonderful tradition alive.
Twice a year, the church holds a living rosary to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“They would go outside on the front of the church and line up like a rosary bead, and each person would say a Hail Mary or an Our Father,” explained Dennis Portelli, the Director of Pastoral Care for the church.
With social distancing restrictions in place this year, the church knew the living rosary would not be possible.
“The reason why we do it is, is one to get people to participate in their faith and two to be an example for other people,” Dennis said.
Since they strive to be a strong example of faith, the church leaders knew they needed to come up with another plan.
So, they filmed a virtual living rosary with about 50 parishioners and clergy.
They released the video in May, a significant choice because it’s the month during which Pope Francis asked Catholics to make a special effort to pray the rosary.
It’s a way to unite with believers around the world, asking for Mary’s intercession in stopping the pandemic.
With the video, the long-standing church tradition has taken on a new role, Father Antonin Kocurek, the church’s Parochial Vicar explained.
“We are connected and we can see each other, and we can feel through our prayers that we are somehow together like God’s family,” he said.
“They were able to get reconnected with their church, and reconnected with something they’re familiar with that we do twice a year every year for the last 10 years,” Dennis added.
Right now, it’s a light in the dark and a beacon of hope.