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Arlington Knights pray the rosary 150 days for an end to the pandemic

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For the past 150 days, the men gathered, rain or shine, beads in hand, to pray a rosary for the end of the pandemic. Each week, they travel to one of the churches connected to the Knights of Columbus Arlington Council: St. Ann, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Agnes, all in Arlington, and St. James in Falls Church. Those who can’t join in person follow along on the livestream. So far, the afternoon rosary videos have accumulated 10,000 views. 

“We like to think that every time someone pressed the button to watch, they were grabbing their rosary and saying their rosary with us, even if they couldn’t join us live,” said Knight Collin McGowan. 

For years, the Knights have gathered every Sunday afternoon at their headquarters to pray a rosary for their deceased brothers. But on Palm Sunday, Knight Kenny Goss got a call saying the grounds were closed due to pandemic restrictions. Goss decided not to let that stop the communal prayers. Instead, he called his pastor, Father Ramel O. Portula, to ask if they could pray at St. Ann. “Father Mel said absolutely, you’re welcome every day,” said Goss. 

With the schools closed, Goss, a school bus driver, was able to organize the rosary daily. A handful of others who are retired or unable to work joined him. In mid-April, they decided to stream the gatherings live on Goss’s public Facebook page for those who couldn’t safely attend. 

On a recent weekday, four Knights and a friend stood in front of a statue of Our Lady outside the St. James parish hall. Goss began with a prayer to Mary for the end of the pandemic. One by one each person stepped up to the microphone to lead a decade. McGowan videotaped with his tablet, panning from the participants to the statue to nearby flowers and the cross on the building. 

“I didn’t realize there was such a need and it’s such a blessing to be able to help,” said McGowan. There have been some technical hiccups, though. Recently, McGowan accidentally hit a button that triggered a Facebook Live filter that automatically gave the men sunglasses and dark fedoras as if they were Blues Brothers. McGowan almost dropped the tablet from laughing so hard, the men recalled. 

The rosary has meant a lot to the community, from the virtual viewers who frequently send in prayer requests to those who happen to be passing by and join the men in prayer. It’s also been important to the Knights, such as McGowan. 

A year ago, a defibrillator restarted McGowan’s heart during a heart attack. It’s taken months and three heart surgeries to recover. As he began to get back to normal, the daily rosaries began. “This rosary has made all the difference in the world to me,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous gift for me to be able to share the rosary with my brothers in Christ.”

The Knights plan to continue the daily rosaries and hope more people can join them. “Miracles happen here with our rosary,” said McGowan. “They sure do.”

Find out more

For more information on how to join the Knights of Columbus Arlington Council’s daily rosary either virtually or in person, email kenny265@cox.net. 



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020