Oct. 3 marks the 14th year for Rosary Bowl NW in Oregon. The annual event sprang from seeds sown at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California in 2007. That occasion honored the lifework of now Venerable Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, his rosary crusades and his commission to promote the family rosary. My husband Rob and I, both Catholic converts, joined the crowd of nearly 50,000 Catholics for this Marian and Eucharistic celebration. We were astounded at hearing the personal conversion stories of author Matthew Kelly, actor Jim Caviezel, Immaculée Ilibagiza of Rwanda and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who each led a decade of the rosary.

In that moment, the love of the Mother of God became palpable to me. Our Holy Mother truly desires to assist each one of us in our greatest needs, particularly when we seek her heavenly intercession in the holy rosary.

Upon returning home, I shared my experience on Catholic radio, and was soon contacted by others who wanted to host such an event in our archdiocese. Suddenly, volunteers sprang forth and we began to formulate our first Rosary Bowl. It was natural to host the event in October, the month dedicated to the rosary; and choosing the first Saturday seemed appropriate to honor the First Saturday devotion. Our mission became to promote devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary while fostering a greater practice of daily family prayer, especially the rosary.

On Oct. 6, 2007 we held our first event at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer. Priests heard confessions in stadium skyboxes, the locker room was transformed into a sacristy, and the pitching mound was covered with a tented stage to serve as our altar. Toting colorful umbrellas, stadium cushions, fleece blankets, and their favorite rosaries, more than 2,000 souls came together in prayer.

After enduring heavy downpours, chilling winds, and a power outage during our second year at the stadium, we were compelled to find an indoor venue large enough for our crowd. We were fortunate in 2009 to relocate to the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion in Salem, securing a perfect site for our eucharistic and Marian exhibits, community resource tables and confessionals, plus room for holy Mass, a keynote speaker, and Holy Hour.

This year we have modified our program due to COVID-19. Thanks to the generosity of Father Gary Zerr and St. Edward Parish in Keizer, we will offer an in-person event at their parish combined with live streaming, plus a live broadcast on Mater Dei Radio. With full use of the new and old church plus the parish hall we will have limited seating in three venues, plus unlimited seating online. Parishes are encouraged to join us simultaneously with Mass and rosary in their church, or livestream the event in their church or parish hall. The event features Mass with Archbishop Alexander Sample at 8:30 a.m., a Marian prayer program at 9:30 a.m., confessions at 10:30 a.m., and a keynote talk by Father Theodore Lange at 11 a.m.

This year’s event is dedicated to Our Lady, Help of Persecuted Christians, as we implore Our Lady’s intercession on all who are persecuted for their faith. Now more than ever, we are summoning husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, priests and religious, young and old, to join our peace campaign for families and for the whole world. Let us call upon the aid our heavenly mother, and pray the rosary daily. Program details are posted online at www.rosarybowlnw.org.

Hale is a Catholic convert, public speaker, retreat leader, and one of the founding members of Rosary Bowl NW.