The church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary yearly on October 7, and in tandem,
the month of October is dedicated to praying the Holy Rosary. Pope St. Pius V instituted the feast in the year 1571 to commemorate the miraculous victory of the Christian army over invading enemies in the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V gave credit for the win to the weapon of the Rosary rather than the power of cannons fired and bravery of the soldiers.
The Church traditions tell us that the Rosary was given to St. Dominic (1170-1221) by the Blessed Virgin Mary as the weapon to fight the scourge of the Albigensian heresy. The form of the devotional and meditational prayer took the standard format that we know today when the Dominican Pope St. Pius V issued a papal bull, Consueverunt Romani Pontifices. In the updated form, the second part of the Hail Mary and the “Glory be to the Father” at the end of each mystery were added. In its early iteration in the Middle Ages, the Rosary consists of 150 “Our Fathers” that lay monks said in place of the 150 Psalms of the Divine Office. With the upsurge of Marian devotion in the twelfth century, 150 Hail Marys” were said in place of 150 “Our Fathers.” Dominicans were very instrumental in the subdivision of the 150 Hail Marys to fifteen decades, with each focusing on a significant event in the life of Jesus and Mary. It was the Dominican Alanus de Rupe who gave us the categories of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries before Pope St. John Paul II added the luminous mysteries.
Many saints, including St. Pope John Paul II and St. Pio of Pietrelcina considered the Rosary an effective weapon in the fight against the enemies of our faith. We need to turn closer to Our Lord Jesus and his Blessed Mother Mary at this time as we fight the forces of death in our culture. We should pray the Rosary more earnestly this month as we strive to promote the Gospel of Life, emphasizing respect for human life from conception to natural death. In this regard, I employ you all to join the Knights of Columbus as they lead us in the recitation of the Rosary at Mary’s grotto after 8:30 am mass throughout October. Also, Patti Becker will lead a Rosary Rally in front of the Historic Church on October 11 at 4 pm. Also to be held on Sunday, October 11, from 1- 4 pm, is our parish youth outdoor program led by Shawn Marker, our new Youth Program coordinator. Pray Hail Marys for these events to bear fruits of the Kingdom.
In Christ through Mary,
Fr. Bernard-Mary Oniwe, OP