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From the Pastor 10/07/18

A blessed Month of the Most Holy Rosary to all.

Pope St. Pius V established the Feast of Our Lady of Victories at the end of the 16th century to give thanks to God and our Lady for the victory of Christian forces over the Muslim Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571 — a naval victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. His successor, Pope Gregory XIII transferred the feast to the first Sunday of October under the new title of the Most Holy Rosary. Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716. In the reform of the liturgy the feast was returned to its original day of October 7.

From its beginning the Order of Preachers has shown special honor and devotion to Mary, Mother of God. The Rosary, which places before us the chief mysteries of the life, passion, and resurrection of our Savior, has been one of the chief ways in which the Order has expressed this devotion.

The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Mary’s. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary’s giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as “the apostle of the rosary.” He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form — with the 15 mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious). In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.

The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pope Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus — his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus’ Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Mary’s remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glory Be’s remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.

The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.

“By its nature the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are unfolded.” ( Pope Paul VI from his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus)

“The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb ... It can be said that the rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter that discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church.” (Pope John Paul II, apostolic letter The Rosary of the Virgin Mary)

“I have said it is right to meditate on these truths, and I have thought it right to recall the abundant sweetness, given by the fruits of this priestly root; and Mary, drawing abundantly from heaven, has caused this sweetness to overflow for us.” (St. Bernard)

The Dominican rosary ends with a prayer in which we ask: “Grant, we beseech them, that meditating on the mysteries of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.” Our model for the praying of the rosary is Mary, who, as we read in Sacred Scripture, “heard the word of God and cherished it in her heart.”

May we also hear the word of God and may we always cherish Jesus and Mary in our hearts, until we are united with them in the Kingdom of Everlasting Life.

Mary Queen of the Most Holy Rosary ... Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor