EL CENTRO — Our Lady of the Valley will be holding its second annual Community Rosary on Thursday, Oct. 6, as a vigil celebration for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The event’s coordinator, Eddie Madueño, the city’s retired police chief, said the event will be held outdoors again at St. Mary Catholic Church in El Centro. Faithful from across the Imperial Valley and the surrounding areas of Yuma, San Diego, and Mexicali, Mexico are invited to join.
The Community Rosary started last year in the courtyard between St. Mary Church and its parish center. It will again be held there and will be in English and Spanish.
Madueño said about 200 Catholics attended the Community Rosary last year, with another 100 having attended the same day at Sacred Heart Church in Brawley.
Madueño said the idea for the Community Rosary came from his interest in the movie “Pray: The Story of Father Patrick Peyton,” wanting to hold an event to bring Catholics together after the pandemic shutdowns, and his own devotion to the Blessed Mother.
“I reached out to Father Mark (Edney) last year and asked if I could organize a Community Rosary. I recruited volunteers to read a different mystery, the Knights of Columbus and office staff to help, José Martinez to sing, and it just worked out,” he said.
“The event was supposed to be a one-time shot,” Madueño said, “but the response was positive, so we decided to make it an annual event.”
The idea also stemmed from “Live Fire Rosary,” an online recitation of the rosary that is streamed every Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Facebook.
“Two parishes in San Diego already had the same (Community Rosary) idea going, so I reached out to them,” he said, “and they sent us some supplies. We had a raffle. I made some rosaries;, my wife, Margie, made some prayer journals;, and we raffled them off.”
The former pastor of the Catholic Communities of Brawley and Westmorland, Father Ed Horning, has returned to El Centro as assistant pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. He will be giving a talk on the rosary at this year’s Community Rosary.
In addition, Madueño said he hopes a public showing of the “Pray” movie on July 27 at St. Mary’s will spark interest in the Community Rosary.
Madueño said fellow Christians are invited, as are atheists and agnostics.
“On a personal level, if people pray the rosary, I believe they’ll get a sense of peace,” he said. “We need to pray to know God’s will and to bring us that peace.”
Father Mark Edney, pastor of Our Lady of the Valley, agreed.
“It was a beautiful experience last time because it was one of the few experiences where we were back together, and I think there was a strong sense of solidarity,” Father Edney said. “We need that still, so come out and join us.”
The Community Rosary will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 795 S. LaBrucherie Road, El Centro.