Wonder Lake Parish Hosts 29th Annual Rosary
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 16, 2018
WONDER LAKE—Pat Wightman, vice president of the McHenry Deanery Council of Catholic Women, arrived several hours before the International Living Rosary at Christ the King Church, here, on Aug. 11. 
 
The women of the McHenry Deanery hosted the 29th annual event for the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. 
 
With the help of a few other women, Wightman meticulously created a colorful, giant rosary crafted from azure blue and white balloons. It was placed to encircle the altar and rested gently off the steps in front of a statue of Mary. 
 
It would later play an integral part in the living rosary recitation.
 
The presence of the rosary was a beautiful sight, and it set a devotional tone to honor Mary on this special morning as Father Joel Lopez, parochial administrator at Christ the King, and Father Paul White, pastor of Church of Holy Apostles in McHenry and spiritual director for the McHenry Deanery CCW, celebrated Mass.
 
In his homily, Father Lopez said, “You are a Marian. Let us reflect on Mary’s fiat, and her ‘yes’ to God, love, life, work and service.” Using each letter of the word “fiat,” he offered a deeper understanding of its meaning and how this one word changed the world. 
 
“F,” he said, means fidelity to intimacy with Jesus; “a” for availability to others; and “t” as trust in God.
Visual screens on the wall behind the altar echoed the message. 
 
“Let us follow Mary’s example,” he said, “and imitate the Blessed Mother by giving everything back to God. We must be transformed as Mary will lead us home to heaven and show us her Son. Jesus is the right answer to our problems. We need Jesus.”
 
Following Mass, a short break was taken as those in attendance paused for refreshments and signed up to “ be a bead” for the recitation of the rosary. Barbara Russell, president of the McHenry Deanery DCCW and a member of St. Joseph parish in Richmond, welcomed those in attendance.
 
Sarah Kuester and her mother Joanna Sondgeroth, drove well over an hour from Sandwich, where they are members of St. Paul the Apostle parish, there. “When I read about the International Living Rosary, we really wanted to take part,” Kuester said. “We recite a living rosary at our annual mother-daughter banquet each year in May at St. Paul’s and it is always so moving. I love the beautiful balloon rosary on the altar. It is giving me ideas.” 
 
When the time had come to begin, Father Lopez and several women took the rosary from the altar and carried it outside the church where it was hot and sunny. The men, women, and children gathered by their assigned beads and were filled with anticipation and reverence in the moment.
 
Father Lopez began the rosary and individuals said the Hail Mary as each “bead” was spoken and moved through the rosary circle. At the conclusion, the balloon rosary was untied from its several anchors. At first, it struggled to go up into the air. An audible and grateful “oh” was exclaimed by everyone as the rosary lifted up and went higher and higher as it moved southeast towards the blinding sun. The group lingered for five minutes until the rosary was no longer in sight. They thanked Father Lopez for the spiritual uplifting and expressed doing this once again next year.
 
It was an emotional moment for many of the people who took part; a memory that will not be forgotten.  “I am so awestruck at seeing the rosary fly into the sky,” said Fran Wiser, a member of St. Mary’s parish in McHenry. “It just gives me the chills.”
 
Kuester added, “I’m in awe. This was a beautiful way to say the rosary.”