By Dan McWilliams
More than 80 people attended the annual All Saints Day rosary Nov. 1 at Calvary Cemetery in Knoxville.
“It’s about 85 people, which is the biggest in the last few years anyway,” said Father Ron Franco, CSP, pastor of Immaculate Conception in downtown Knoxville, which maintains the Catholic cemetery.
Father Franco, vicar general Monsignor Xavier Mankel, Father John Dowling, pastor of Holy Ghost in Knoxville, and seminarian Michael Hennessy, CSP, took turns leading a decade of the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary.
Those attending the rosary followed the presiders as they processed around a circular drive at the cemetery.
“Many of these people have relatives or close friends who are buried here, and so certainly for them it’s an important thing,” said Father Franco, “but it’s for all of us to realize that we’re all connected with these people, and we all need to pray for one another and for those who have died, and so it’s a good opportunity for us all to gather and do that.”
Donna Irwin Stokes and Patsy Connelly were among the many attending the rosary.
“It means a lot to me,” said Mrs. Stokes. “My parents are buried here, most of my aunts and uncles, my grandmother. It means a lot, so that’s why I keep coming. I try to [keep coming every year]. I have for about the last five.”
Those attending the rosary have a special camaraderie.
Mrs. Connelly’s family has long been associated with Calvary Cemetery.
“I have relatives who have been here for over a hundred years, and it was a tradition that my mother started us coming as children [to the rosary],” she said. “Then I’ve got four brothers here, and my husband is also buried here, so it means a whole lot to me.”
The Ladies of Charity of Knoxville provided refreshments at the rosary. ■