In a September Facebook video, Fr. Patrick McConnell announces a Rosaries for Vocations challenge for the Medford-area Catholic parishes, accompanied by, from left, Diocese of Superior seminarians Andrew Kreye, Daniel Tracy, Scott Peterson and Julian Druffner. (Facebook photo, Holy Rosary Parish)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

On Jan. 1, the Called North Facebook page for the Diocese of Superior’s Office of Vocations issued a “Rosaries for Vocations” challenge with the goal of 1,200 rosaries prayed for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. Only four months later, the goal was reached.

An update to the post now shows the goal of 12,000 rosaries, and individual parishes are getting onboard to make that happen.

Fr. John Gerritts was the first to challenge his parish of St. Patrick’s in Hudson. In July, he announced a goal of 1,200 from the parish to match what the diocese had achieved.

“With a drum roll please,” as Fr. Gerritts wrote in his weekly bulletin column on Aug. 8, “I am excited to tell you that as a parish we prayed 3,235 rosaries.”

The week before, he estimated they would surpass the goal with close to 2,000, and so was thrilled with the final result.

“What a great gift!” the Hudson pastor wrote. “For those of us who are priests, religious and deacons, it is a great affirmation that you value these vocations … This has the potential to change our diocese dramatically, and having young seminarians and priests will help recruit additional numbers.”

Building on this momentum, Fr. Patrick McConnell has taken the initiative to challenge his own parishes of Holy Rosary in Medford, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Whittlesey and Good Shepherd in Rib Lake.

The challenge is to pray 1,571 rosaries by Oct. 7, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Calling on the Medford parish’s patroness, they have set the Marian rosary feast as the deadline. The number of rosaries alludes to the same feast.

Historically, the feast was established by Pope St. Pius V as Our Lady of Victory in honor of the victory of the outnumbered Catholic Spanish and Italian fleets over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The victory was attributed to the praying of the rosary, which had been encouraged by the pope’s ordering all churches in Rome open day and night.

It was Pius V who had, only two years prior, officially established the rosary as a universal devotion of the Catholic Church. His successor, Pope Gregory VIII, changed the feast day to that of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Fr. McConnell, who personally challenged Fr. Andrew Ricci in Superior, hopes the rosary challenges continue “as parish-level grassroots efforts.”

“It marks the importance of continuing to encourage the spirit of prayer as foundation for entrusting the need for vocations to our Lord through the intercession of Mary,” he said.

View the video announcement at the Holy Rosary Parish, Medford and Called North Facebook pages.
Called North, the online presence for the Diocese of Superior’s Office of Vocations, can be found at as well as on Instagram and YouTube.