Many who pray the Rosary recommend it for bringing peace to the mind and heart. Rich Hundley photo
Many who pray the Rosary recommend it for bringing peace to the mind and heart. Rich Hundley photo

After daily Mass in Howell’s St. Veronica Church, Priscilla Lagdameo can regularly be found among faithful from a number of area parishes who stay to recite the Rosary.

“It’s such a powerful reflection of love that I try to say several Rosaries each day. It’s my prayer. It walks me through the life of Jesus. It is always there for me,” she said.

The familiar sacramental consisting of 59 strung beads, a Crucifix and often a decorative centerpiece is used by Catholics of all ages to contemplate the Lord and Blessed Mother. Lagdameo said she finds praying the five decades of Hail Marys, each framed by the Our Father and a Glory Be, a deeply moving experience.

The Rosary is so woven into her devotional life that it would be inconceivable to go a day without it, she said. As the mother of a daughter and son, she feels a connection to the Mother of Jesus and identifies so strongly with this “beautiful tradition of prayer” that it has been incorporated into the home she and her equally devout husband, Vic, share. From the garden to the inside of the house, flowers, pictures and statues reflecting the Rosary hold places of pride.

Her dedication captures the consensus of Catholic scholars who describe the Rosary as a powerful method of prayer. As a way to thank God for blessings bestowed, it has long been associated with spiritual and temporal favors from God and miracles at holy sites including Fatima in Portugal and Lourdes in France.

Like Lagdameo, JoAnn Milazzo, a member of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, and Patrica Friel of St. Rose Parish, Belmar, said they received the gift of praying the Rosary from their parents and strove to do the same for their children.

“I have prayed the Rosary for most of my life,” said Milazzo, who encouraged her children to follow her lead. Her devotion intensified after a health scare for her daughter many years ago. Today, her daughter is in good health, and Milazzo continues to pray the Rosary.

“Sometimes, you are tired at night, but it’s hard to go to sleep without saying the Rosary. I recommend it for everyone who has [difficult] situations. You pray the Rosary and the problem will still be there, but you handle it better because you know you are not alone.”

Friel strongly recommends the Rosary for people of all ages. It’s a great way to start the day or end it, said Friel, who sometimes says three Rosaries a day. “I’d rather say a Rosary than be upset or overwhelmed any time. It calms me down.”

Friel said her children respect her devotion and believe in its purpose. “If they are in need – if they are going to a job interview or feeling sick, they’ll say, ‘Mom, say a Rosary for me. They believe in the power of the Rosary.”

Though many see secular society encroaching on religious practice as never before, Milazzo, Friel and Lagdameo all believe their descendants will be praying the Rosary long into the future.

“There is always turmoil, and things go in cycles, but I think that things will change and the next cycle will see more people involved in prayer. That’s why I always give Rosaries to the kids and encourage them,” Milazzo said.

Added Lagdameo, “It’s the story of Jesus. How can it not survive?”