Facebook Group Is An Example of FaithInWV
How many times have you heard, “I’m done with Facebook because of the toxic negativity”?
Cynthia Dimmey of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling was certainly frustrated, but instead of giving it up the social media platform she chose to use it to create – the Legion of Rosary Warriors – a prayer space for like-minded people and those searching for an online prayer group.
She said the page is more than intentional evangelization, it is fostering lifelong catechesis.
“There’s no holier call, no holier accomplishment, than to bring people home (to the Church),” Dimmey said. “For our group, evangelization isn’t as much a focus as the idea of continuing conversion. To continue to get better in our prayer life. To be aware of intentions beyond our own bubbles, and to have heart for the Church at large. When you work on those, I think evangelization – and NEW evangelization – happens naturally. When your faith becomes a bigger part of you, it also becomes a part of your personality, and you can’t help but share it.”
When you become a member of the group your Facebook feed would then be filled with prayerful posts or inspiring images. As someone who struggles with ADHD, Dimmey said she needed a group of prayer warriors at her fingertips as a reminder to pray, especially the Rosary.
“If it shows up on my feed in bite size pieces, I can take 2 minutes when the post pops up to pray a half a decade,” she said.
Soon after the group was formed Mary Anne Cleavenger of Philippi and Mark Witzberger joined after being invited by friends of Dimmey. Soon all three were administrators of the page, because of their evident passion for prayer, hope in God, positivity, and the Church. Between the trio posts blossomed, and prayers were reaching all over and outside of WV.
The fact that the group was started in October – the month of the Rosary – was guided by God not coincidental. The Rosary is Dimmey’s favorite prayer, bringing her balance and focus back to her Catholic faith.
“The rosary is where I’m reassured in my faith,” Dimmey said. “(Like) the Eucharist, I’m most intimately reminded that I’m where Christ called humanity to be – within the Catholic Church. I struggle to grow my faith life, but the rosary has been the one constant that always comes through. It really has been a weapon of faith, and a life preserver to hold out to the drowning.”
The Rosary became a treasured prayer for Dimmey after the birth of her first child.
“Late night nursing meant either doom scrolling, or dozing off,” she said. “So, I turned to Our Lady instead. I had a bad habit of putting our baby down before she was good and asleep. I discovered that praying 5 decades of the rosary was the perfect amount of time she needed. My hands were often full holding a tiny baby and my rosary app open on my phone, so I often used my daughters fingers to keep track. To this day (now 6 years old) she loves it when you gently tickle her hands and arms while she’s going to sleep.”
The first post on the Legion of Rosary Warriors page was on October 2, 2021. It detailed Dimmey’s prompting for the group:
“Hello all and #welcome! This all started from a post by Fr. Patrick Hyde, OP, challenging us to pray the rosary daily. I shared the post, friends responded, and it became an opportunity to create an accountability group to spread the rosary…. Please spread the rosary and invite people!”
The group remains a private group, meaning members invite their like-minded friends to join, or individuals searching Facebook for a Rosary group can find it and ask to be a member and wait for approval from the page administrators in an effort to keep the page authentic, positive, and Catholic.
Cleavenger said the page is not for debate or disrespect that would need moderating.
Keeping the page private keeps it, “safe and sane,” she said.
The Legion of Rosary Warriors page “is for real people seeking to be inspired and inspire with prayer,” Cleavenger said. Life is hard enough; the page is an effort to provide comfort through prayer.
“It’s not always been an easy life, but thankfully, God has stuck by me,” she said. “I’m a mom of seven (aged 41 to 53). I lost (a daughter) when I was five months pregnant. She is buried with my grandfather.”
Only two of her children are still active in the Catholic church. We all have “so many things to pray for,” she said, noting that her intentions lovingly surround her growing family, which includes 24 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
She was raised Catholic and went to St. Joseph Catholic School in Lucinda, Pa., and Facebook allows her to stay connected with former schoolmates from Pennsylvania, people she has met in prayer groups, and those who like Witzberger and Dimmey, whom she has not even met in person but are firm believers in the power of prayer through the Rosary.
Sharing the group is an “opportunity to grow in our faith,” Witzberger said. “Anytime we have an opportunity to share our faith and reach out to others I think we should as we are called to do so. I may not be the strongest in praying the rosary, but I believe in its importance and pray it a lot more often than I ever have. It’s more than a repetition of words. Some people think that praying is only asking for something. But it’s much more. Sometimes it’s just as simple as being quiet and listening for a reply in a conversation. And I try to end every day giving thanks for something no matter how the day has gone. Not a day goes by when I am not praying or conversing with God.”
Witzberger hopes the page is a way to help others develop the habit of the Rosary and “to add weight to prayer intentions. I gain peace when praying it.”
If you are interested in joining the page on Facebook, you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/legionofrosarywarriors