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Mardi Gras Rosary is alive and kicking — The perfect beads

The Rev. Sinclair Oubre, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Orange and Diocesan Director of the Apostleship of the Sea, said in a prior News article he and some fellow Catholics noticed the meaning of Mardi Gras was changing.

“We came to the realization the roots of Mardi Gras are tied to Ash Wednesday and Lent. We’ve lost the connection of the religious purpose and it’s become a big party,” he said.

As a result, Oubre and others wanted a Catholic presence again at Mardi Gras and developed Encounter Catholic in 2009.

“We have a conversation with the community about faith. It’s been a tremendously successful,” Oubre said.

Some of the activities at the Encounter Catholic booth include passing out information, having photographs taken, and blessing more than 1,800 rosaries over the Mardi Gras weekend.

In fact, there will be a living rosary recited at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25th beside the Encounter Catholic booth at the corner of Waco and Procter Streets in downtown Port Arthur for the Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas.

Registered Rosary participants will be granted free entry at South side Waco street gate next to the Sertoma Center provided they have preregistered.

Ron Jackson, an organizer and a member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Bridge City, said the living rosary started at Mardi Gras in 2012. The rosary is an 80-foot long half-inch braided nylon rope. Every knot represents a decade as with an ordinary sized rosary. Every person holds a knot and recites a prayer.

He wrote in an email they will be creating a list for Rosary Prayer Warriors and to reply by Feb. 20 so there will be an accurate entrant list at the South Waco entrance gate for all the prayer supporters. To register RSVP by email to: ssellers@gt.rr.com.

He said to bring a friend, a chair and water if need. The Rosary lasts 45 minutes to complete.

“Your are invited to pray the Most Holy Rosary at the Port Arthur Mardi Gras at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2017,” Jackson wrote. “Also, let your friends know about the Living Rosary and invite them to bring their rosary and join us at Mardi Gras in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.”

The rosary is also composed of mysteries and the sorrowful mysteries — Jesus’ agony in the garden, his scourging on the pillory, and carrying his cross — are recited during Lent.

“We have people from all over to participate, even from Louisiana. Mardi Gras is a Catholic festival and we wanted something to do with religion instead of a just a big, raucous party,” Jackson said. “We got the idea of doing the rosary outside the building (booth) and raise more awareness.”

Many people stopped by to observe the rosary. People even stopped serving beer and some joined in reciting the rosary. Jackson said some non-Catholics stopped by the booth.

“We’re trying to bring the message of Christ to the public,” he said.

Fellow St. Henry member Darrel Latiolais said it’s for evangelistic purposes to get the message out about Christ.

“Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday. We need to remember that. There’s also a living rosary page on Facebook,” Latiolais said.

Alvin Terro, also of St. Henry’s, said they want to leave an impression on other people.

Pertaining to the rosary, Jackson said one of the biggest misconceptions about Catholics is other faiths think they’re worshiping Mary.

“Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine because his mother asked him to do so. Wouldn’t you do what your mother asks? We’re just asking Mary for her intercession,” Jackson said. “We believe Mary is in heaven and hears our prayers and she asks her son.”

Ultimately, the rosary really about Jesus and the different mysteries such as joyful, glorious, and luminous in addition to the sorrowful.

“It’s the whole history of Jesus,” Jackson said.

Oubre said the living rosary and Encounter Catholic is nice synergy for Mardi Gras.

Karen Gilman, associate director of communications, said three parishes in Port Arthur started Encounter Catholic.

“They go out to community festivals and talk and visit with people,” she said. “They share the faith if they have questions and the priests are there. “They give out information, rosaries, and things for kids to do. Mardi Gras was founded as a Catholic type of day. We wanted it to be a little more about the Catholic faith back to Mardi Gras.”

Email: david.ball@panews.com