ST. JOHN PAUL II ROSARY WALK
San Juan Pablo II Paseo del Rosario

The Rosary Walk is a place of remembrance of the strong Catholic faith and the Catholic traditions that brought early Hispano settlers to La Garita.  Here, the old traditional prayers are merged with the contemplative prayers brought to us by Saint John Paul II.  Having him as the patron of the Rosary Walk, is a constant reminder of what he taught us when he was Pope John Paul II and how we are inspired by his example:  to always accept God's will for our lives; to respect and value life and the dignity of every human person; to be persistent in living a Catholic life; what it means to forgive; how to accept and endure suffering; how to live and die with dignity; and how prayer and devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary can help us achieve holiness.

Blessed John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014.  On September 11, 2014, Pope Francis included John Paul II's optional memorial feast day to the worldwide General Roman Calendar of saints.  Traditionally, saints' feast days are celebrated on the anniversary of their deaths, however, St. John Paul II's feast day is celebrated on October 22 which is the anniversary of his papal inauguration.  Construction for the Rosary Walk begin in October 2011 and was completed and dedicated to Blessed John Paul II in October 2012.  The dedication was the 10th anniversary of his declaring October 2002 - October 2003 as the "Year of the Rosary," and his announcement that the Luminous Mysteries be added to the traditional mysteries of the Rosary that included the Joyful Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries, and Glorious Mysteries. 

 

The Saint John Paul II Rosary Walk offers a spiritual journey through prayer.  Each decade of the Rosary (a series of 10 Hail Mary’s) offers a means to meditate on “a different aspect of Jesus’s life, from his conception to his public ministry, his passion and death, his resurrection triumph, and beyond.” (1) The rosary “is fundamentally a Christ-centered prayer containing the entire Gospel in the prayer’s mysteries”.(2) With the Rosary, Christians sit at the school of Mary and are led to contemplate the beauty of the face of Christ and experience the depths of his love”.(3)  When “coming in touch with the sadness and the pain of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we come to understand that because of their mutual love, she suffered along with Jesus with all the pain that He endured.”(4) 

 

The Saint John Paul II Rosary Walk is a place to pray the rosary while meditating on the traditional mysteries and the mysteries of the life of Jesus, with Mary, Mother of God, as the intercessor. The Rosary Walk begins with a 20-foot Crucifix with a buon fresco painting of Jesus.  Along the 800 foot walkway, all five mysteries of the Rosary are displayed on four-sided monuments, each with original fresco painting depicting each event. Circles along the way represent Rosary beads.  Each bead or circle was positioned carefully to be timed as each Hail Mary is prayed.  At the center of the Rosary Walk is the Shrine of Our Lady where the Rosary prayer is concluded. Plaques displaying concluding prayers include the traditional Hail, Holy Queen (Salve), and En El Monte Murio Cristo (On the Mountain Christ Died), a prayer brought from Spain and recited by Los Penitentes/Los Hermanos.  Each prayer is displayed in Spanish and English.

The concept for the Rosary Walk was initiated by Ed Kulp, parishioner of the San Juan Catholic Community and who also designed and engineered the construction of the decade monuments. The craftsmanship for the six-point crosses at the top of each monument was created by Robert Herbert.  Artist, Anthony T. Archuleta, shared his talent with original buon fresco paintings of the Crucifix, the Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Blessed Virgin Mary in addition to the painting of Jesus being baptized by Saint John the Baptist located on the San Juan Bautista Monument.

References:

1 - Praying the Rosary Like Never Before, Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth, Edward Sri (2003)

2 - Pope John Paul II Prayer Book, Bart Tesoriero, 2006

3 - Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae - The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, Pope John Paul II (2002)

4 – Lent and Easter Sunday in La Garita, Celestino E. Archuleta (2019)