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Knights of Columbus Rosary Foundation distributes ring rosaries across U.S.

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
August 27, 2006

CARROLL - The Carroll Knights of Columbus Rosary Foundation has distributed close to 2 million ring rosaries throughout the Midwest.

The Knights of Columbus originated in Carroll in 1903, so council #780 has been in existence for 103 years.

"Since 1952 we have had the rosary on the radio - everyday on KCIM 1380 AM in Carroll," said Russ Reineke, member of council #780. "From the beginning, we have struggled to raise enough to keep it on the radio since it was costing to do so."

In 1985, a fellow Knight and his wife, who liked having the rosary on the radio, included the Carroll Knights council in his estate and put it into the Knights of Columbus Rosary Foundation.

"The money was left for promotion of the rosary," said Reineke. "With that money, we have paid for the rosary to be on the radio ever since as well as taking donations for it."

The council also donates a rosary to every fifth grader in Carroll and surrounding communities. The rosaries are personalized to say the child's name on the third decade of the rosary.

Within the last seven years, rosary rings or finger rosaries have been distributed to promote the rosary.

"It got started that we would distribute them to our own council," said Reineke. "I found a supplier for them and distributed them among our council members. They liked them so much that our rosary foundation decided that we would distribute them to parishes in the area."

According to Reineke, they have distributed about 8,000 rosary rings to parishes in Carroll County. He continued that this went over so well that he decided, as a member of the rosary foundation, to distribute the rosary rings to other Knights of Columbus councils.

"We sent a letter out with an order form explaining that we had these rosary rings on hand to all the Knights of Columbus councils in Iowa - about 80," said Reineke. "That went over so well that we said we might as well go to other states and distributing them."

They started out with the state of Nebraska and continued into Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The rosary rings have now been distributed in 26 states of the United States.

"So far we have distributed 1,778,750 rosary rings to Knights of Columbus councils throughout the United States as far away as California, Florida, New York and almost everywhere in between," said Reineke. "We are going to continue this."

Reineke noted that he currently has an order in for 3,000 rosary rings that will come in the next few weeks. He added that an average order that he gets from someone is 700 rosary rings. He has had orders as large as 8,000. Some people have been reordering them for seven years.

The rings are made of nickel in Italy and shipped from Italy, so from the time they are ordered until they are received it takes six to seven months.

When Reineke receives his order then he sends out order forms to see who would like to purchase the rosary rings. The Knights councils who are interested order the rings and give them out to their parishioners and Knight members.

"I think there is always need for prayer and always need for prayer of the rosary," said Reineke. "Our Blessed Virgin Mary has promised that she would save the world if people would dedicate their lives to saying the rosary. Our Knights of Columbus has decided that this is something that we want to do. There are so many reasons to pray - health, parents, good weather, peace and so on."

The Rosary Foundation has 13 directors that decide how the money that comes in is spent, explained Reineke.

"Our charge, basically, is to promote the saying of the daily rosary," said Reineke. "That is what we try to do."

If anyone would like to order rosary rings, they can contact Russ Reineke at (712) 792-1574. The rosary rings are 15 cents each. The minimum order at that price is 100. If a person orders 500 or more, shipping is free.