Nightly rosary walk inspires faith in midst of uncertainty


On Friday night, in the middle of drizzling rain and flashes of lightning, students gathered in the Rosary Circle to begin a rosary walk through campus, continuing a Franciscan University of Steubenville tradition just established at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.

At 9 p.m., Resident Assistant Lane Tschirhart started the Apostles’ Creed, and all the students prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries in unison as they walked past Antonian Hall and made a circle around campus, returning to the Rosary Circle for the concluding prayers.

“These are the moments where we need to have the same dependency that our Lady had, and it’s very beautiful to see everyone on campus come out and pray with that faith,” said Tschirhart.

That faith and dependency in the midst of uncertainty, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, is the theme of the rosary walk. The Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, university president, emphasized that theme on Monday, Aug. 24, the first night of the rosary walk. He encouraged students to entrust the success of the semester to the Blessed Mother and her intercession.

“We will have a procession around the campus asking the intercession of our Lady to watch over our community, protect us and lead us closer to her son, Jesus,” said Pivonka in an Instagram post a couple hours before he appeared in person on Sunday.

When asked how the idea for a rosary walk came about, Gabriel Salamida, coordinator of household life, said, “Honestly, it was all Father Dave’s idea.”

Salamida said that Pivonka wanted to have various households lead the rosary on weekdays and resident assistants lead it on weekends to ensure that there will always be someone praying every night for the rest of the semester.

Students who participated in the rosary walks throughout the first week displayed enthusiasm for this new idea and its implementation into campus life.

“It’s just so amazing that the university has set this up,” said sophomore Elijah Kim. “It’s beautiful to walk around the campus with the community, lifting up our prayers and intentions to Our Lady.”

Junior Elizabeth Williams affirmed Kim’s sentiment.

“It was so great to come together as a campus and pray the rosary alongside Father Dave and the friars,” said Williams. “It’s been really inspiring to see students gathering every night, come rain or shine, to pray together as a community.”

The rosary walks will continue every night at 9 p.m. for the rest of the semester.