Wittenberg parish’s Council of Catholic Women construct rosary prayer garden

Parishioners gather around a rosary prayer garden outside of Holy Family-St. William Church in Wittenberg May 30 as Fr. Matt Settle, pastor, recites a prayer of dedication. The rosary garden features stones, representing each rosary bead, sponsored by families in memory of loved ones. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

WITTENBERG — Members of the Holy Family-St. William Parish Council of Catholic Women (CCW), along with other guests, gathered May 30 for a blessing and dedication of a rosary prayer garden outside of the church.

“Its purpose would be the hope that its beauty will comfort us as a place where the gift of laughter will rise above our troubles, where treasured stories will be shared to make us wiser, where the pain of loss will be embraced with arms of hope and trust,” according to Margie Mech, CCW member.

The rosary prayer garden is laid out like a string of rosary beads, with a statue of the Blessed Mother in the center, with other statues and benches along the sides. Granite stones representing each rosary bead are inscribed with a message honoring loved ones. Benches also include plaques recognizing donors who made the rosary prayer garden possible.

“We’ve been thinking about (building the garden) for maybe five years,” said Jeanette Wolff, who has been CCW president since 2019. “We started it last year. I said, ‘We can’t do anything else (during the COVID-19 pandemic), so let’s start on this.’”

An anonymous donation made several years ago to the CCW provided initial funding for the project. As donors came forward to sponsor the granite stones and benches, the entire project was underwritten.

“A committee was formed in 2020, and with a plan and theme in hand, the parish councils and Fr. Matt Settle approved the construction of a rosary prayer garden,” said Mech. 

Last fall, CCW members and spouses, as well as other volunteers began clearing the space outside of church. “A large grassy area was removed, a few overgrown trees were felled, bricks were placed to form the rosary, and rock was hauled in and spread,” said Mech. 

Granite rosary beads were shipped from India and the inscriptions were made by a local monument company. Earlier this spring, the rosary bead stones, statues and benches were put in place. 

During the dedication and blessing, Fr. Settle led the group of about 50 invited guests in prayer. CCW members also led the guests in song and prayer. Fr. Settle then used holy water to bless the newly dedicated rosary garden. A crowning of the Marian statue, recitation of the rosary and reading of each rosary bead stone concluded the dedication. 

“We hope visitors, neighbors and parishioners will come and enjoy our rosary prayer garden,” said Mech.

“We had so much fun doing it, and we are adding on in the fall,” said Wolff. “I’ve got someone lined up to build some enclosures for our Stations of the Cross that used to hang in our church. We put different ones up, so I had saved them and set them aside.”

View more photos from the rosary prayer garden dedication on Flickr