DELRAY BEACH | The Diocese of Palm Beach celebrated the 2023 International Marian Rosary Festival honoring Mary with “splendor and joy” May 7 at Emmanuel Parish in Delray Beach. The theme of this year’s festival was “Blessed Virgin Mary, Cause of Our Joy.”
Father Gaudioso Zamora, Emmanuel’s pastor, said he was joyful and thankful to host the Marian event every year since 2007.
“This is the International Marian Festival with all the different images and statues of Mary and devotions to the Blessed Mother that came from all the different countries around the world,” he said. “I love this kind of diocesan event because, as a diocese, we love and honor Mary. Our diocese represents the many cultures all over the world, and when we honor Mary here, we honor her through the different cultures all around the world.”
The ceremony began with Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito leading the Marian procession from the church, with the Knights of Columbus color corps, clergy and ministry representatives processing to the adjacent lake carrying colorful images and statues of Mary representing the cultural diversity of nationalities within the Diocese of Palm Beach.
The bishop welcomed everyone, saying that the Blessed Mother “brings us into one as God’s family. It is a joy to greet you and to be with you this afternoon, and we begin with the rosary.”
Each decade of the joyful and luminous mysteries of the rosary was prayed in different languages and cultures: Nigerian, Filipino, Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Italian and Polish.
The ceremony included Marian hymns honoring Mary, with the faithful and clergy praying the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, followed by a May crowning by children.
Bishop Barbarito led the faithful in the prayer of consecration to Mary. After the prayer, he gave an inspirational reflection on being joyful despite hardships by looking to the joy of Mary as a model in our lives.
“Mary truly is the cause of our joy because it was through Mary that Jesus Christ became incarnate, that the Son of God became one of us, that the Son of God took flesh in her, bringing us the joy of our life,” he said.
Explaining the joy of God, Bishop Barbarito said, “God’s joy was in creating us, and God’s joy was in us, and God’s joy will be to forgive us, to forgive us when we turn to him in our sorrow.”
The bishop ended with a prayer: “Mary, Our Mother, cause of our joy, may you always be with us and may you strengthen us to help us realize that God made us to be alive and to be joyful.”
The ceremony included Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the faithful in unison praying the Divine Praises, concluding with singing of “Ave Maria.”
This was the first year that Venezuela was part of the International Marian Festival with the statue of Mary representing their culture, Our Lady of Chiquinquira, “La Chinita,” Colombia/Venezuela, led by Mariela Castillo of the Venezuelan community.
The many Marian statues that were carried during the festival were Our Lady of Sorrows, Order of the Secular Servants of Mary; Our Lady of Vailankanni (Our Lady of Good Health), India; Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, Heralds of the Gospel; Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Emmanuel’s rosary group; Our Lady of Guadalupe, the parish youth group; Our Lady of Chiquinquira, “La Chinita,” Colombia/Venezuela community; Our Lady of Grace, St. Joan of Arc Parish and St. John the Evangelist Parish; Our Lady of Pilar, Spain; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Holy Name of Jesus Parish Legion of Mary; Our Lady of Hope, Birthline/Lifeline Pregnancy Care Centers; Our Lady of Charity, Cuba, Cofradia de la Caridad del Cobre, St. Juliana Parish; and Our Lady of the Rosary, Damas Catolicas en Accion, Chapter 11, Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Parish.
Armando Garcia of the diocese’s Office of Hispanic Ministry said, “This was a wonderful day for us to be together as a diocese with our bishop and to be able to pray the rosary in the many languages and cultures.”