Ted Harasti drivers Cardinal Thomas Collins around the Rosary Path at MaryLake Shrine for it's inaugurating blessing on Aug. 14. Photo by Rick Rigelhof

Rosary Path at Marylake opens

  • August 16, 2016

Marylake Shrine’s Rosary Path is now open for prayers. On Aug. 14 Cardinal Thomas Collins opened the path with a blessing of each of the 59 beads. Collins also celebrated Mass that day at the shrine with about 2,000 in attendance, many of whom provided the funding for the path.

The Rosary Path is a 1.5-km path running alongside a life-sized rosary throughout the Marylake grounds.

“With the Rosary Path we offer that oasis whereby people can come and pray in solitude amongst nature,” said Joseph Gennaro, executive director of the shrine.  

He said ”there was a chill in my spine” the first time he walked around the completed project, believed to be the largest rosary in the world. 

“When you look at the rolling hills and the nature and the beads and the crucifix going up and down the rolling hills, it does give you a sense of awe,” he said. “It is inspiring and it is fulfilling.” 

Genarro credited the people of the archdiocese for making the path possible.

“The full 59 beads that are out there, they were all donated as well as a bunch of benches that align the Rosary Path for people to rest as they do their pilgrimage.” 

Each Hail Mary bead represents a $3,000 donation while the Our Father beads required a $5,000 gift. Although the beads are no longer available donors can still sponsor a bench by making a $2,000 contribution. 

The project, which began in the fall of 2014, was completed about two years ahead of schedule. 

“I don’t think it could have gone any smoother,” said Gennaro. “But the Rosary Path will never finish. It’s got to evolve.” 

The hope is that people will continue to donate funds to add benches and plant trees along the Rosary Path. 

“Then we have other ideas like gazebos (and) street lights,” he said. “We want this to be a pilgrimage that can be done both during the day and in the evening and during winter, summer, spring and fall. It may not happen this year but that is our long-term goal.” 

Construction has begun on a similar project on the outer periphey of the path which takes pilgrims along a 15-stage Way of the Cross ending with the Risen Christ. 

The path was designed by Ted Harasti who said the idea came to him during a two-day locution while on retreat at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ont. 

“I was with Mary in the locution and she showed me what she wanted me to do,” he said. “So in actual fact the design is her design” 

Harsati, who accompanied Collins around the path for the blessing, said pilgrimages provide a platform for people to deepen their connection with the Lord, enrich their faith and evaluate their role in this life. 

“People in today’s society are really searching for answers as to why society has become as disjointed as it is,” he said. “This will help them to answer some of their questions.” 

Access to the Rosary Path is available at no cost although a parking fee of $10 per car is required on weekends and holidays.

“Praying outdoors is not something everybody does every day and it is quite special and quite relaxing,” said Gennaro. “We’ve been able to preserve that oasis ...  (and) we invite anyone to come and walk the Rosary Path solemnly. Until you’ve been here you can never understand the grandeur of the project.”  

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