Getting the rosary into others’ hands

Catholic layman works to spread devotion via campaign

Nissa LaPoint

Sam Perry has always had a rosary in his hands. Now he wants to get it into others’.

Local parishioner Perry, a lifelong believer in the power of the rosary, has vowed to travel parish-to-parish bringing the love of Mary and her promises.

With Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s stamp of approval, Perry and his wife, Becky, of St. Thomas More Church in Centennial, decided to spend their retirement encouraging others to finger those rosary beads.

“My goal is to take it across the state,” said 74-year-old Perry. “We’ve got to get people praying the rosary.”

Though the “Pray the Rosary” campaign, the pair will work to deliver some 300,000 colorful how-to booklets and rosaries to the Denver Archdiocese’s 140-plus parishes to spread devotion to Mary. Then he wants to take the campaign statewide.

Using his own funds and support from the Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado, where he’s a board member, and Knights of Columbus, Perry will print booklets and collect rosaries to begin his ministry.

The campaign seeks Mary’s intercession for the country, help in the fight for religious freedom and the right to exercise one’s conscience.

“The rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon, so let us encourage all families to pray the rosary for our country and for the protection of religious liberty,” wrote Archbishop Aquila in a letter about the campaign Sept. 24.

The archbishop encouraged all parishes to participate.

So far, Perry distributed thousands of booklets and rosaries at St. Thomas More Church, 300 at St. James School in Denver and plans to visit Queen of Peace Church in Aurora and St. William Church in Fort Lupton with Spanish booklets and rosaries.

Perry said praying to Mary has always helped him through life.

“Most kids grew up with toys. I grew up with the rosary,” he said.

After he survived a couple of car wrecks, Perry said he’s always kept one handy in his pocket.

Later, he began buying extras and giving them away.

After learning about the rosary’s impact on historical events, Perry became further encouraged to launch a campaign.

In the 13th century, St. Dominic promoted the devotion for the conversion of the Albigensians— believers in a heresy claiming there were two gods—and other sinners. Pope St. Pius V credited Mary with the Holy League’s victory over the Turkish invaders in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

In 1960, Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., held a rosary rally in San Francisco that drew over half a million people.

These facts drew Perry to realize that the rosary can change Colorado and the country, which he said is plagued with moral and social ills.

“With 300,000 people praying in our archdiocese, I think we can change this state,” Perry said.

 

Support the Pray the Rosary campaign
Parishes are invited to contact Sam and Becky Perry to participate in the campaign.
Phone: 303-882-3396
Email: samnperry@aol.com

COMING UP: Seeking justice, transparency and accountability, archdiocese voluntarily enters agreement with Colorado attorney general

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

Seeking justice, transparency and accountability, archdiocese voluntarily enters agreement with Colorado attorney general

Initiatives include independent investigation and independent reparations program

Mark Haas

With a desire to “shine the bright light of transparency” on the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors within the Church, Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has announced that the three Colorado dioceses have voluntarily partnered with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to conduct an independent review of the dioceses’ files and policies related to the sexual abuse of children.

In a joint news conference on February 19 at the attorney general’s office, it was also announced that the three dioceses will voluntarily fund an independent reparations program for survivors of such abuse.

“The damage inflicted upon young people and their families by sexual abuse, especially when it’s committed by a trusted person like a priest, is profound,” said Archbishop Aquila. “While this process will certainly include painful moments and cannot ever fully restore what was lost, we pray that it will at least begin the healing process.”

It is well known that child sexual abuse is a societal problem that demands attention and action,” said Weiser. “I am pleased the Church has recognized the need for transparency and reparations for victims.”

Discussions for these two initiatives began last year with former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and then finalized recently with Weiser. Both Coffman and Weiser praised the dioceses’ willingness to address this issue.

“It is well known that child sexual abuse is a societal problem that demands attention and action,” said Weiser. “I am pleased the Church has recognized the need for transparency and reparations for victims.”

Coffman added: “Childhood sexual abuse is not specific to one institution or to the Catholic Church. The spotlight is on the Catholic Church, but this abuse is indicative of what has happened in other institutions. We want to shine a light on what has happened.

“[The dioceses] demonstrated their commitment to acknowledging past abuse by priests and moving forward with honesty and accountability.”

The independent file review will be handled by Robert Toyer, a former U.S. Attorney for Colorado. His final report is expected to be released in the fall of 2019 and will include a list of diocesan priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors, along with a review of the dioceses’ handling of the allegations. The report will also include an evaluation of the dioceses’ current policies and procedures, something that was not included in other states’ reviews, such as the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.

“We in Colorado have found our own way in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report,” said Weiser. “We have a set of dioceses here who came to the table to develop appropriate solutions that are collaborative, committed to transparency and put victims first.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, alongside Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, speaks during a press conference announcing a comprehensive joint agreement with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to conduct an independent review of the dioceses’ files and policies related to the sexual abuse of children at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center on February 19, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Archdiocese of Denver)

“This is not a criminal investigation. This is an independent inquiry with the full cooperation of the Catholic Church,” said Weiser.

Since 1991, the Archdiocese of Denver has had a policy of mandatory reporting of all allegations to local authorities. The procedures were further strengthened by the 2002 Dallas Charter to include comprehensive background checks, zero-tolerance policies, safe environment training, and training for children as well.

“This independent file review presents an opportunity for an honest and fair evaluation of the Church in Colorado’s historical handling of the sexual abuse of minors by priests,” said Archbishop Aquila.  “We are confident in the steps we have taken to address this issue and that there are no priests in active ministry currently under investigation.”

We have a set of dioceses here who came to the table to develop appropriate solutions that are collaborative, committed to transparency and put victims first.”

The independent reparations program will be run by two nationally recognized claims administration experts, Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, who will review individual cases and make financial awards to victims who elect to participate. The victims are free to accept or reject the award, but the Colorado dioceses are bound by what the administrators decide.

The program will have oversight provided by an independent committee chaired by former U.S. Senator Hank Brown. More details will be announced in the coming months, and the program will officially open closer to the release of the final report.

This is similar to a program instituted by former Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput in 2006. Archbishop Aquila said it is important for local Catholics to know the program will be funded by archdiocesan reserves, with no money being taken from ministries or charities at parishes, annual diocesan appeals, or Catholic Charities.

“With humility and repentance, we hope the programs announced today offer a path to healing for survivors and their families,” Archbishop Aquila said.

And acknowledging how painful this has been for everyone in the Church, Archbishop Aquila said he hopes this is step towards restoring confidence among the faithful.

“Helping people to restore their trust, to live their faith, that is essential,” said Archbishop Aquila. “And to help them have a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ, so that is my goal in all of this. I know that healing is possible in Jesus Christ.”

For a copy of the full agreement and a detailed FAQ, visit archden.org/promise.