Great things take time and sometimes they need more than one attempt.
That’s one way to look at the official custom rosary for the Diocese of Wilmington 150th anniversary.
The original order sent to the diocese from Ghirelli Rosaries in Italy has been popular among local Catholics and from people in various places.
“From all over the place,” said Therese M. Rubini, chancery secretary. “North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, California. A lot of people are giving them as gifts, most people get multiples.”
By the end of September, the diocese had taken nearly 700 orders, almost all of the original order of 750. An additional 250 have been made for rosary-seekers, according to Father Joseph W. McQuaide IV, diocese chancellor and co-chair of the sesquicentennial committee. Those seeking rosaries have made donations – recommended at $30 — to help cover costs, he said.
The form of the rosaries is as expected – five decades of 10 beads each. The unique opportunity was to customize around that, Father McQuaide said.
“We did gold wiring and red beads to reflect our diocesan colors from our coat of arms,” he said. “The crucifix is modeled on the crucifix from the cathedral. On the back is written 150th anniversary of CDOW. The main medal is the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace from our shrine in New Castle. On the reverse is St. Francis DeSales.”
The “Our Father” beads are a diocesan coat of arms and the opposite side is an outline of the 12 counties that compose the diocese.
“The goal was for us to have them when the bishop and 130 pilgrims were in Rome, because they were made in Italy,” said Father McQuaide, referring to the Annecy-to-Rome pilgrimage led by Bishop Malooly earlier this year.
The plan was to take them to the papal audience the group attended, and Pope Francis would bless them, and the bishop would present the pope with the first rosary.
“The problem was when they were delivered to us at our hotel, the Our Father beads had a coat of arms, but it wasn’t for our diocese,” said Father McQuaide. “It was basically a blank coat of arms. The company agreed to take them back and fix them. I was imagining a bunch of Italian grandmothers with their wire-cutters, taking off the Our Father beads and then putting them back on.”
“To look and to see all of the people in the diocese and beyond our diocese to have gotten these rosaries for themselves and for other people … Every time they pray that rosary, they’ll pray for the diocese,” Father McQuaide said.
Included with rosary orders is a postcard from the bishop thanking people for their support and asking them to keep the diocese in their prayers.