We conclude our week touring our mission in México by learning about the work of Family Rosary in the country from the ministry’s Director, Fr. David Scheidler, C.S.C. Family Rosary is a part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which was founded by Servant of God Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. By promoting prayer and building up families, it is a key part of our ministry in México.
México is a land of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mexican cultural and religious experience is rooted in an event that marked the history of the Mexican mixture. Mary came with a message of hope, looking like one of us, and told Saint Juan Diego: “Am I not here who am your Mother? What else need you fear?” These words still echo in the heart of every Catholic, and even some non-Catholics in México.
That is why Family Rosary has begun to flourished in this country. The family in México is central in Mexican society and life, and plays an important role in the formation of faith in each individual. That is why our motto – “The family that prays together, stays together” – resounds in the heart of every Mexican, convinced that family prayer is a source of unity and family well-being.
Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., who founded Holy Cross Family Ministries, including Family Rosary, stepped on Mexican soil several times, promoting the rosary and campaigning for evangelization and prayer. In the 70s he campaigned and organized rallied in several Mexican dioceses. Guadalupe, a suburb of Monterrey in the state of Nuevo Leon, was the place chosen to found Family Rosary in México.
In 1999, the Cardinal Archbishop of Monterrey, Bishop Adolofo Suarez Rivera, authorized the activities of Family Rosary in the Archdiocese under the direction of Fr. Daniel Panchot, C.S.C. Since 2011, Fr. David Scheidler, C.S.C., has served as the director of Family Rosary México.
Recently, with the resurgence of drug-related violence in México, especially in the north of the country, Fr. Peyton's other motto – “A world at prayer is a world in peace” – has become an increasingly urgent mantra. In the month of May, devoted to Mary our Mother throughout the world, we take part in the Holy Cross Family Ministries International campaign entitled: “Try Prayer: It Works”. Here, we place a special emphasis on the power of prayer to overcome violence and evil, and encourage young people and families to focus their prayer on building a culture of peace and justice.
Last year, children spent the month constructing three-dimensional crosses with the word "PAZ" (“peace”) emblazoned across the horizontal beam. We are currently preparing to present this year's campaign to the archdiocese. Each day during the month of May the children will construct a dove feather by feather, and this dove, representing the Holy Spirit and peace at the same time, will be embracing the earth in its wings. Each feather is added as a task or a prayer is completed, and at the end of the month, families will gather and present their doves at a large rally in a park in the city. The rally always features the praying of the rosary while a giant rosary made of balloons is lofted into the air.
Lent is upon us, and as we strive as individuals to use this season to draw close to the Paschal Mystery, we in Family Rosary México are busy preparing for another important event as well. On the weekend of March 24-25, we will have our semiannual Family Retreat. We are finally getting large enough that the core team of “missionaries’ are doing less and relying more on volunteers from our various groups in several parishes. Our volunteers are raising money, fine-tuning talks, ironing out assignments and responsibilities, and recruiting participants.
We use these retreats as a means of “jump-starting” families into the practice of family prayer. Hopefully they might join our groups and become future leaders. In fact, many of the presenters at this retreat were participants in the retreat last fall.
So Holy Cross Family Ministries is a natural fit for the people of México, and we hope to expand further into the country soon.