God and Country Celebrated at Annual Patriotic Rosary


By Tony DeGol

How many of us long for the days when the values of family and faith set the tone for our discussion?

Bishop Mark posed the question at the eighth annual Patriotic Rosary.

“I don’t think it takes an expert to tell us that in our beloved country, it seems that we have forgotten how to have honest and decent and respectful conversations about who we really are and how we should be able to promote the true meaning of being a citizen of this great country,” the Bishop said.. 

The Catholic tradition, he continued, teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected.

“That concept is captured in the expression of the founders of our nation who cited the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as essential principles of what it means to be a citizen of this place,” he added.

Sponsored by the Diocesan Courts of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, the celebration of God and country was held on November 2 at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Bishop Mark presided.

Started during the 2012 election year and held every year since, the purpose of the Patriotic Rosary is to pray for wisdom in choosing our elected leaders and for their guidance in office.

Before each decade of the Rosary, the faithful are invited to pray for discernment, wisdom, and knowledge over each state in America.

Various elected officials read inspiring comments from past leaders in our nation’s history including George Washington and John Adams. Their words highlight their personal faith and their belief that faith, indeed, has a place in the public arena.

Among the local elected officials who participated in this year’s Rosary were State Senator Judy Ward, Altoona Mayor Matthew Pacifico, Blair County Commissioners Ted Beam and Terry Tomassetti, Blair County Judge Timothy Sullivan, Blair County Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner, Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio, Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross, Centre County Controller Charles Witmer, and Centre County Treasurer Richard Fornicola.

The gathering also included Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Marian and patriotic music.

“Today God reminds us that we can find what is better when we look at things through the lens of Saint Paul’s world view,” stated Bishop Mark. “He says very simply and plainly ‘our citizenship is in Heaven,’ which means that all that is true and good for ourselves and our country begins and ends with the Lord of the whole universe.”

[Photos: Various elected leaders from Blair and Centre counties participated in the eighth annual Patriotic Rosary at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The leaders are pictured in the top photo with Bishop Mark and Patriotic Rosary Chair Patricia Gildea (first row, right) of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. The Catholic Daughters, pictured in the inset photo with the Bishop, are the sponsors of the gathering.]