Special to The Texas Catholic
DUNCANVILLE — Holy Spirit parishioner John Ndunduma wasn’t sure how youth ministry director Devyn Buschow would react late last year when he suggested the southwest Dallas County parish somehow donate 100,000 rosaries to his home country of Angola.
As Ndunduma recently recalled, Buschow didn’t so much as flinch: “She said, ‘John, we’re going to do it! It doesn’t matter how long it will take; we’re going to do it!’ ”
Do it the parish did. The current count is 101,256 rosaries that will be sent to Angolan Catholics who were denied many of the practices that their counterparts around the world take for granted by civil war and Marxist rule that began in 1975 and continued until 2002.
As Holy Spirit’s campaign neared six figures, Buschow said she heard from parishioners who confessed, “I’ve got to be honest. I never thought we could do it.”
Various parish groups such as Buschow’s youth ministry, the Legion of Mary, Court 2468 of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and Council 8157 of the Knights of Columbus pitched in. Parishioners constructed 24,000 in periodic get-togethers and donated another 4,000.
The balance were sent from 42 states and Canada as Buschow enlisted the help of Our Lady of Rosary Makers in Louisville, Ky. The organization publicized Holy Spirit’s drive through its website and bi-monthly newsletters.
“By the grace of God and by the Holy Spirit, this took off,” said Father Joe Lee, Holy Spirit’s pastor. “Not just with our parishioners but people from other churches and other dioceses. Actually, the whole country.”
A rosary guild in Austin sent 17,000. A church in Virginia shipped 10,000.
“This is great!” said Ndunduma, breaking into laughter. “This is great!”
Ndunduma left Angola in 1975, came to the Dallas area in 1989 and moved his family to Cedar Hill in 1997.
Angola was originally a colony of Portugal. Its approximately 9 million Catholics, about 56 percent of the population, have a particular devotion to the Virgin Mary connected to her appearances in the Portuguese city of Fatima in 1917.
“They think that by praying the rosary, it is the same as praying to Mary, and Mary will intercede to God,” Ndunduma said.
He and daughter Margaret took 1,000 rosaries to Angola in 2013. An appreciative priest called their generosity “a drop of water in the ocean.”
Hence the request for 100,000.
“Those people are thirsty for rosaries,” Ndunduma said.
Holy Spirit’s first monthly rosary making party attracted about 60 people. Smaller groups began to meet at the homes of parishioners John and Mary Anne Rizo. Weekly sessions at the parish community center now attract at least a dozen.
Buschow said “experienced” volunteers can complete one in about 20 minutes.
“The entire campaign was extremely exciting and really brought Holy Spirit together,” she said.
The next challenge is accounting for the estimated shipping charge of about $5,000. Buschow is accepting donations.
And Holy Spirit won’t stop making rosaries now that its goal has been met. Buschow is looking into forming a full-time construction group for sending rosaries elsewhere.