HILTON HEAD—Steve Wood will be the featured speaker at the eighth annual Diocesan Rosary Celebration Oct. 10 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Francis by the Sea Church, 45 Beach City Road.
The event will include the rosary and Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. The theme is “St. Joseph in Our Day.”
Originally an evangelical pastor, Wood entered the Catholic Church with his entire family in 1990. He responded to the challenge of Pope John Paul II to strengthen families, by starting the Family Life Center International in 1992. Using various forms of the media he has networked with thousands of families in over 80 countries.
Wood is also the founder of St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers, a movement that seeks to improve society through the transformation of fathers and families.
He and his wife Karen have eight children and live in Greenville.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI awarded him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pope) medal in recognition of his work with St. Joseph Covenant Keepers.
The rosary celebration is organized by Father Stanley Smolenski, director of the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina – Our Lady of Joyful Hope in Kingstree.
The importance of the event is based on the fact that this is the public expression of devotion to Mary by the faithful of South Carolina. Over 200 people attended last year.
“As mother of the church, Mary is mother of the Church of Charleston and therefore it is due her to acknowledge this publicly,” Father Smolenski wrote in an e-mail to The Miscellany.
“The diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina – Our Lady of Joyful Hope is such a statement and its foundational event was the universal year of the rosary proclaimed by the Venerable John Paul II. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, he issued an apostolic letter on the rosary and presented it as a ‘School of Mary’ — the contemplation of Christ with Mary,” Father Smolenski continued. “This is emphasized in the very introduction, ‘… it has all the depth of the Gospel in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium’. And for this reason, he points out, it is a good tool for evangelization.”
Towards the end of the 19th century, Pope Leo XIII wrote 16 brief documents on the rosary. Pope Benedict XVI said that it is a good preparation or thanksgiving for the Eucharist, which is celebrated in memory of Christ, Father Smolenski said.
“The rosary is the way the memory of the life, death and resurrection is kept fresh and alive in our minds and hearts,” he said.
“At the end of his apostolic letter, Pope John Paul II makes a sincere request: ‘May this appeal of mine not go unheard!’ As the foremost teacher in the church, he shows by this the importance of the rosary for the spiritual welfare of all,” Father Smolenski said. “Our annual diocesan celebration is a reminder of this.”
For information about the celebration, call the shrine at (843) 355-3527 or call St. Francis by the Sea at (843) 681-6350.