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Priest’s Devotion to Rosary Proves Good Way to Rally Faithful

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Father Jeffrey Pomeisl’s devotion to the Rosary goes back a long way. He remembers praying decades of Hail Marys on car trips with his parents and six brothers as a youth.

During his undergraduate years, first at Dutchess Community College and then at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, the Rosary became a daily prayer practice for him.

“Since then, I say it every day,” said Father Pomeisl, 33. “I’m faithful to that.”

“I would be missing a lot if I wasn’t saying it every day.”

Father Pomeisl was ordained for the archdiocese in 2013 after studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. A profile in Catholic New York just before his ordination included this telling quote:

“When I started praying the Rosary every day, my vocation became more sure. The connection that Mary has with our Lord in his priesthood—she has that same special care for men in the priesthood.”

For the past three years, Father Pomeisl has served as the chaplain and a religion teacher at Msgr. Farrell High School, a boys’ school on Staten Island.

An interesting facet of Father Pomeisl’s Farrell service are his regular “Pomcasts” on YouTube, often featuring a “Farrell Family Rosary.”

On May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Father Pomeisl hosted what he called #MillionRosaryMay13th. It brought together the Staten Island Catholic school community and others from around the archdiocese and the world for a virtual recitation of the Glorious Mysteries and a crowning of the Blessed Mother at Our Lady Help of Christians Church on Staten Island.

Father Pomeisl believes the Rosary was a good way to live out the reconsecration of the United States to Mary by the U.S. bishops May 1.

Cardinal Dolan expressed his support for the initiative in an email to Father Pomeisl.

Leading Rosary decades that evening were several Staten Island priests, including Father Michael Reilly, principal of St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School; Father John McCarthy, chaplain of St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School; and Father Rhey Garcia, chaplain of Moore Catholic High School and parochial vicar of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish; along with Christina Mistretta, campus minister of St. Joseph Hill Academy, and Sister Antonia Zuffante, C.S.JB., chair of religion department and a religion teacher at Msgr. Farrell, who also crowned the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Father Pomeisl emphasized to the many participants that their prayers were being joined with others across the globe. The Rosary was being offered for the whole world during the coronavirus epidemic, for “the health of mind, body and spirit.”

“There is a lot of power, a lot of grace coming down on the world,” he said.

Nearly 2,000 people were viewing, including participants from “every inhabited continent” around the world, the priest said.

Father Pomeisl told me he has been greatly inspired by the work of Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., the famed “Rosary Priest,” whose rallies in the 20th century drew hundreds of thousands of people to prayer in many countries.

“He’s a saint who inspired me with his love of teaching the Rosary,” Father Pomeisl said. “He spent his whole life in that regard, and I hope to do so.”

Father Pomeisl said the idea for #MillionRosaryMay13th was a result of prayer. The May 13 rally was just the initial outreach. As the effects of the coronavirus hopefully continue to recede over time, the priest said he would like to be able to lead an outdoor Rosary on a grand scale for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary Oct. 7.

Looking to Father Peyton’s example, Father Pomeisl said he believes the united prayers of many and the good example they foster have the power to effect social change. “That’s a big reason why we’re doing this,” he said.

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