Walk keeps faith with a promise made in prayer

The faithful taking part in last year's rosary procession
The faithful taking part in last year's rosary procession
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One of the most important events in St Helens’ religious calendar is set to celebrate its 54th anniversary.

The annual family rosary procession, which has been held in the borough since 1961, has attracted large numbers of worshippers to turn out in both good weather and foul.

The procession starts in Church Square on October 5, with participates making their way through the town centre reciting the Holy Rosary, ending with a Benediction service at Holy Cross Church.

All those whose faith embraces the practice of reciting the Holy Rosary are invited to attend. This year’s procession takes a new route, the vast majority of the walk now being on pedestrian areas.

Starting at Church Square the procession proceeds up Church Square and Ormskirk Street, turning into Cothan Street, then Victoria Square. It then turnes briefly along Corporation Street, then into Vincent Street from there the procession turns into and follows Parade Street, arriving at Holy Cross church.

The procession itself has a colourful history. It was originated in the late 1950s by Holy Cross parishioner Martin Byrne who pledged in prayer while seriously ill that if he recovered he would start an annual rosary procession in St Helens.

Paul Gaskell, the procession’s senior organiser, said: “As history shows, both these events happened and the tradition has carried on unbroken to this day.”

The first procession was open to Catholic men and boys only, with women and girls linving the route reciting the rosary.

“Time, of course, does not stand still and in latter year, women have taken their rightful place in joining the rosary procession,” said Mr Gaskell.

“Family also means family in the widest Christian sense. Hence the invitation is for all whose faith embraces the practice of reciting the Holy Rosary.

The year’s procession will start at 3pm, with participants asked to meet at 2.45pm.

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