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Our Lady visited St. Joseph’s Church in Middletown, New York for the 7th Orange County Rosary Congress from October 10 to 12, 2013. Middletown is a city in Orange County in the Hudson Valley region on the northern boundary of the New York Metropolitan area. The first Mass in Middletown was offered by a mission priest from nearby Goshen in 1848.  The St. Joseph Society was formed in 1859 with the intention of establishing a parish in Middletown.

The Society's efforts were rewarded in 1867, when John Cardinal McClosky, Archbishop of New York dedicated the new church and blessed the cemetery. The parish experienced continued growth for about a hundred years.  Despite many challenges in our modern era, St. Joseph’s continues to be a thriving parish and continues to serve new immigrants to the United States, especially Spanish-speaking Catholics. 

There was an impressive list of speakers at the Rosary Congress.  Father Bill Casey of the Fathers of Mercy is a nationally- renowned speaker and frequent guest on EWTN.  Fr. Casey also happens to be a classmate of mine from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.  Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC is the former rector of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy and a chaplain for Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for post-abortion healing.  Elizabeth Lempka leads an apostolate of prayer for deliverance.  Michael Voris is the founder and president of St. Michael’s Media and Sr. executive producer of ChurchMilitant.TV – two growing evanParish Visitors of Mary Immaculate and Fr. Peter Westgelistic enterprises.  Fr. Bill Halbing is a charismatic preacher from my own archdiocese – the Archdiocese of Newark.

Mary Brescia, began organizing the Rosary Congress to educate Catholics about their faith and to equip them to evangelize the culture.  Mary, who is a registered nurse, invited to the Congress after getting to know me through Facebook.  I gave presentations on the work of Human Life International, the theology of icons and the history of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life, the sanctity of human life, and the great battle in our time between what Blessed Pope John Paul II called the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death.  I asked the people to call on the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa to defeat the Culture of Death.  Our Lady has been given power from her divine Son to crush the power of evil.  

panel discussionBetween 250 and 325 people attended the events from Thursday to Saturday night. Sister Mary Catherine, P.V.M.I., an old friend I knew before I was ordained, came for a visit along with some of her fellow sisters from the Convent of the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate in nearby Monroe. The Daughters of St. Paul were also present at the Congress as vendors. These faithful religious sisters had a special love for the pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and radiated a joy and peace in their vocations that energized all who attended the conference.

I am grateful toFr. Dennis Nikolic for his gracious welcome of Our Lady to St. Joseph’s, and his kind hospitality.

Fr. Peter West
Vice President For Missions
Human Life International
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