BY Amanda Connelly | May 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Rosary on the Coast

On Sunday April 29, tens of thousands of Catholics came to the coast to pray the Rosary, Amanda Connelly looks at the incredible event that united the faithful across the UK and which was backed by the Pope

As the sun streamed across the coastline on Sunday, Our Lady was surely smiling upon Catholics in Scotland as Britain’s Rosary on the Coast finally came to fruition.

The faithful gathered in their thousands around the country, travelling from parishes local and afar, as they formed a chain encircling the entire country in prayer and Faith.

Sunday April 29 saw the coastlines around Britain inundated with Catholics at some 400 registered locations. At 3pm their voices joined together in unity, as they asked Our Blessed Mother for her intercession, praying for Faith, life and peace in our nation.

The Rosary on the Coast was brought about through the joint efforts of Bishop John Keenan, online media group Sancta Familia Media, and Antonia Moffat, who led the Rosary on the Coast from Walsingham.

Other members of the hardworking team included Anne Collins, John Deighan, and Fr Michael Kane of St Augustine’s Church, Coatbridge.

Among the thousands across the country taking part in the event, which was blessed by Pope Francis, where the 80 people who gathered at the shrine to Our Lady in the garden of St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Arbroath. Joining the parishioners was Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld, who led the group in the recitation of the Rosary.

“It was an honour to host the gathered for ‘Rosary on the Coast’ in Arbroath,” parish administrator, Fr Michael Carrie, said. “Hopefully many graces were won by our prayers today.”


Meanwhile in the Scottish Highlands, a gathering of parishioners joined in praying at the Lady Chapel of St Mary’s Church in Fort William, part of Argyll and the Isles Diocese. There, they had the invocation of the Holy Spirit and prayers for protection, prayer in reparation for abortion, followed by Scripture readings and the Rosary, in what was a ‘wonderful afternoon full of deep prayer and strong Faith.’

Elsewhere in Argyll and the Isles, Catholics opted for a uniquely Scottish response to the Rosary on the Coast, gathering amid the ­stunning scenery at Traigh a’ Phrionnsa, Eriskay, as they prayed the Rosary in Gaelic.

The Inverness contingent also saw an excellent turnout, just one of the parishes from Aberdeen Diocese who took part in the nationwide prayer event, which was inspired by the original Rosary on the Borders held in Poland.

The Daughters of Divine Love Sisters in Inverness organised the Rosary for the Catholic parishes in the ‘capital of the Highlands’ at ­nverness Caledonian Canal Clachnaharry, where they were lucky enough to enjoy some ‘beautiful sunshine’ too.

“It was a good turnout,” Sr Bridget Okoye said. “Over 50 in attendance from three parishes in Inverness (St Mary’s, St Ninian and St Columba). Beautiful sunshine also!”

Many bundled up against the sea air at Aberdeen Beach, proudly displaying a banner bearing ‘Rosary on the Coast’ in large lettering.

A number of leading Scottish clergy took part, with Archbishop Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh joining the faithful in Granton, Edinburgh, among them the Confraternity of St Ninian.


Pro-life groups joined in praying the Rosary, including the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative’s appearance at Wemyss Bay, with not even a flat tyre able to stop Srs Jess and Andrea, who made the best of their situation and prayed by the side of the motorway.

CEO of SPUC Scotland John Deighan was with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow and a host of other Glasgow parishioners at the Clyde, where he noted that they were ‘very pleased to support this initiative.’

“A lot of our supporters know the importance of prayer in doing the pro-life effort, and this has been a fantastic initiative with something like 400 different locations around the UK, so it shows you how many people are committed to those values and we know the importance of standing up for those values and encouraging others.”

More than 100 people gathered at the city’s link to the open sea, where they were led in praying the Rosary by Guiseppe Celico, the president of the Legion of Mary at Glasgow University’s Catholic Chaplaincy, who organised the event, while Archbishop Tartaglia gave the final blessing.

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley Diocese was at the Greenock Esplanade for the Rosary, where he was joined by parishioners from the diocese, as well as some from Sacred Heart Church, Bellshill, in Motherwell.

“We gathered at the coast of the British Isles to pray Our Lady’s intercession, in her Most Holy Rosary, for a great renewal of Faith, Life and Peace in our Land,” Bishop Keenan said.

The Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland joined more than 100 people from Paisley and Glasgow in Saltcoats, where they were led by Fr John Tormey in the Rosary, after which they planted a miraculous medal in the sand in order to protect Scotland.


“It was an amazing experience to know that thousands of our brother sand sisters were uniting with us all around Scotland at the same time praying to our Blessed Mother and consecrating ourselves and our country to her protection,” Helen Border from the group said.

Among Motherwell Diocese parishioners where those from St Augustine’s Church, Coatbridge, who congregated on Ayr Beach with parish priest Fr Michael Kane, while on the same stretch of coastline, Bishop William Nolan of Galloway led pilgrims from his own diocese as they also took part in the event.

Catholics from all across England and Wales joined with their Scottish counterparts at their respective parishes and coastal locations, uniting Scotland’s prayers with those across the rest of Britain.

Wendy Marsh told the ‘Rosary on the Coast’ Facebook page of the ‘fantastic turnout that was had from Welsh Catholics at Barry Island, which they are sure ‘will bring many blessings.’

The national pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima for Great Britain was taken to the Rosary on the Coast in Poole, Dorset and the Knights of St Columba Council 216 were with many others in Jersey, the most southerly point of the British Isles.

Fr Tom Grufferty who led a Hamphsire group at Gosport said that as they began praying the Rosary there was ‘a real spirit of a community with everybody raising their minds and hearts to God in prayer.’



Barra recites the Rosary in Gaelic

By James Farrell

Low tide on theTràigh Mhòr beach in Barra normally facilitates the landing of an aircraft, as the beach doubles up as an airfield. However, it was the Rosary on the Coast which landed there last Sunday.

“That was a once in a life time experience, I think, because the landscape of the island is so unique and the sun was out, which doesn’t happen very often,” said Jessica Giannotti, a visitor from Argyll, reflecting on her first experience of Barra.

“We had a sunny day on the beautiful beach—which is also the airport. We had a low tide so being there was incredible. Barra is a beautiful island.”

“Combining my love for the ocean and my Faith, praying the Rosary on the beach was very special for me and being part of the community there. Also hearing the Rosary in Gaelic was amazing. It was very profound in connecting with everyone.”

The event, organised by the lay people of the five different parishes on Barra, were joined by visitors to the island, a BBC film crew, SCIAF and two priests.

Fr John Paul Mackinnon, the local parish priest, was in attendance alongside Fr Etienne, a French hermit on the Island.


‘We must do this again next year’

By Matt Lynch

Picture the scene: the Rosary on the Coast in Largs ends and around 70 participants gather on the shoreline for a final prayer.

A young boy comes ­forward and places a Miraculous Medal in the sand to mark the occasion.

Someone asks: What’s your name son?”

He replies: “Andrew.”

The crowd cheers. Who else could he have been named after if not our very own patron saint of ­Scotland!

It was a fitting end to an amazing day which started outside the Tyburn Monastery which faces Millport.

First to arrive was a group of 30 from St Helen’s in Langside.

They were soon joined by other Glasgow ­parishioners who had also travelled to Largs to take part in the Rosary on the Coast. Passersby also stopped for a few moments to pray when they realised it was a pro-life event.

When asked why he had come, Frank McDonnell from Coatbridge, said: “I wanted to pray for Scotland. I wanted to pray for a respect for life to return.

“We used to have it but it has been lost and I want it back because I want a better world for my grandchildren.”

Patricia McRanor from Baillieston was so pleased to attend. She said: “This is an emotional moment. I prayed for my family and for Scotland. Our country needs prayers.”

To complete an international theme a young Polish woman, Kristina Vizit, joined the group.

She said: “It felt so great to be part of this prayer initiative. We should do this every year; we must do this every year.”

Karen Smith from Bishopbriggs was delighted that so many countries were taking part.

She added: “And when I looked at the Rosary on the Coast website it was wonderful to see that the whole of Scotland and the isles were covered. We must do this again next year! Well done the bishops for getting behind this initiative.”

Last word from Janet McKenzie, from Bishopbriggs: “It was a beautiful day, so peaceful, serene and well attended!”

The message was clear: “See you next year.”

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