Rosary Crusade sparks Marian devotion


Over the course of three weeks, Knights of the Holy Queen Household held a Rosary Crusade” aimed a sparking a devotion to the Virgin Mary around campus.

The idea was conceived after the household coordinator, Christopher McGurn, was approached by a graduated household brother now working for the university. McGurn said that this household brother told him that the university’s campus was in dire need of a renewal in Marian devotion and asked him to find a way to re-ignite that on campus.

That was it, though,” McGurn said with a laugh. He didn’t give us any blueprints or instructions and left the idea wide open for us to do really anything.”

McGurn said that he was approached late in the fall semester and wasn’t able to start working on possible ideas until over winter break, when he selected an assistant coordinator to help with the planning. After a few meetings, an idea began to form that would become The Rosary Crusade.

During the planning, McGurn kept coming back to the Rev. Donald Calloway’s book Champions of the Rosary,” which became his inspiration for the project. Calloway, an honorary member of the household, writes in the book that the rosary is a weapon for spiritual warfare and that Catholics are called to carry it with them into everyday battle.

In the book, Fr. Don mentions how there is a need for a modern crusade in today’s society and the Rosary is one of, if not the most powerful prayer we can give,” he said. What better way to unite and renew ourselves as a university than by coming together and praying the rosary together?”

Once they figured out the theme, everything else started falling into place, McGurn said.

Though many different ideas were thrown around, McGurn and his assistant coordinator decided to divide the crusade into two parts: the first would focus on what Marian devotion is and what it means to consecrate oneself to the Virgin Mary; the second part emphasized the power of the rosary in practice.

The first phase of the project took place before spring break. On Feb. 26, Br. Daniel Klimek, TOR, gave a talk on the significance of the Rosary, and on Feb. 27, Br. Michael Baker, MIC, spoke on the importance of Marian consecration and how to consecrate oneself.

That led into the third event: a campus-wide Marian consecration, designed by St. Maximilian Kolbe. McGurn said that this specific consecration, which spans nine days, is used by the household in their own intent formation.

From personal experience, I know how powerful this consecration is,” McGurn said. I wanted people to be able to have the same experience I was able to have through my household.”

The consecration ended just before everyone headed off to spring break and was attended by members of several different households.

Upon returning from spring break, the household began the Crusade’s second phase. On March 20, the household held a viewing of Calloway’s filmed presentation entitled The Rosary: Spiritual Sword of Our Lady.” On March 23, students participated in a candlelit walking rosary, going from the Steel Cross to the grounds in front of the JC Williams Center.

The pinnacle of the entire Rosary Crusade was on March 24, when McGurn and other members of Knights of the Holy Queen led students in a procession around the university campus. Hoisting a statue of the Virgin Mary on their shoulders, the Knights prayed all 20 decades of the rosary, singing Marian hymns upon their completion.

The amount of grace that I and other people on the procession felt was unexplainable,” said McGurn. Carrying Our Lady, I felt like we were really claiming her as our mother for all of campus.”

While not as many people attended the Rosary Crusade as McGurn and the household had hoped, McGurn said that he was at peace with what he called humble beginnings.”

Plans are already beginning to form for next year’s Crusade, which McGurn hopes will become an annual event the household puts on. He said that Calloway has been involved in the Crusade from the start and McGurn hopes to have him more involved in the coming years.

McGurn said that he believes that this year’s Rosary Crusade is a starting point to renewing Marian devotion on campus and hopes that future Crusades can reach into the local community and world outside of Franciscan University, as his household’s covenant calls for.

The goal of The Rosary Crusade isn’t for our household to get attention or anything,” McGurn said. As Knights, we are called to spread Marian devotion on this campus, in the community and around the world. We see this as our small effort in bringing people closer to Our Lady and through that, to Our Lord.”