By Emilie Ng
SUNNYBANK parishioner Yvan Maurice takes part in a relay once a year, but instead of holding a baton in his hands, he holds his powerful Rosary beads.
The faithful Catholic organised Brisbane’s slot in the sixth worldwide, 24-hour Rosary Relay for Priests on Friday, June 12, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
At the front of his mind is undoubtedly his own son, Lismore priest Fr Nicolas Maurice.
“I hold all the priests very much in my heart, having a son being a priest as well,” Mr Maurice said.
Australia’s two contenders, Brisbane and Melbourne, are listed as the third global participants praying in the annual event, following Siberia and China, according to the official website www.worldpriest.com.
Brisbane has been asked to pray the Luminous Mysteries.
Forty-six countries are participating in the global Rosary, and there are 84 participating shrines listed.
Mr Maurice has always loved the Rosary and knowing the power it can bring to priests, including his own son, he was compelled to join the global relay.
Six years ago, the now retired family man joined the Pauline Fathers at Gold Coast hinterland’s Marian Valley for Brisbane’s first run in the relay.
“But there was only about five people, not many,” Mr Maurice said.
Disappointed in the turnout in the relay’s second year, he spoke to then Pauline Father now Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green to see if he could start the relay in Brisbane.
“(Bishop Macbeth-Green) said, ‘Do what you can do’,” Mr Maurice said.
Four years later, he is expecting more than 100 people and their Rosary beads, to fill the pews at Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
Mr Maurice helped start Sunnybank parish’s first Rosary group in 1994, and almost 20 years later, still turns up every Wednesday to pray.
“The Rosary is a very powerful prayer,” he said.
“When you look at our priests here, they’re fairly okay, but when you look at a priest in Arabic countries, they are being persecuted physically and psychologically.
“So we have to pray to sustain them.”
Mr Maurice said the Rosary relay also provided an opportunity to pray for more vocations to the priesthood.
According to Holy See statistics from 2014, there were 414, 313 priests worldwide. Mr Maurice said that equated to one priest for 3000 Catholics.
“That is not enough,” he said.