By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — To honor Mary, St. Paul the Apostle Parish invites everyone to recite the rosary and attend Mass in the church each Friday during May.
Don Heidemann, who has helped coordinated the annual tradition that began about 10 years ago, said the rosary starts at 6 a.m. and Mass follows at 6:30 a.m.
Throughout the year, eight to 20 people regularly recite the rosary before daily Mass, he said. During May, the number swells to about 150 people on average. The day the bishop celebrates Mass tends to draw about 300 people.
On May 7 the rosary will be led by Father Marty Goetz, director of vocations for the Diocese of Davenport. Bishop Martin Amos is scheduled to celebrate Mass afterward.
The following Fridays, volunteers will be asked to lead each decade of the rosary. Sometimes a group of youths or a parish or other Catholic organization will lead.
Father William Kneemiller introduced the tradition when he was a parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Parish. “He challenged us to get groups in back then,” Heidemann said. And when Fr. Kneemiller left for Iraq, the men of the parish took over. After his return from Iraq and subsequent transfer to another parish, the men continued to host the rosary crusade each May.
“Usually Fr. Kneemiller comes back to celebrate with us,” Heidemann said. “But this year he is in Afghanistan.”