Become a champion of the rosary

Jared Staudt

On October 13th, Archbishop Aquila will consecrate of the Archdiocese of Denver to Our Lady of Fatima, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The day marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s final apparition at Fatima, the day of the great Miracle of the Sun. Central to Our Lady of Fatima’s message was praying the rosary in reparation for sin and for conversion. On the day of the final apparition, Mary told the three visionary children: “I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day.”

Answering Our Lady’s request to pray the rosary daily is a great way to prepare for the Archdiocesan consecration. Praying the rosary invites us to enter a conversation with Mary, praising her and asking for her help as we pray the Hail Mary, and also with the Holy Trinity, as we pray the Our Father and Glory Be. In this conversation, we meditate on the central mysteries of our salvation and unite our lives to them, allowing them to shape our thoughts and desires. Praying the rosary also means entering into a spiritual battle by taking on an apostolate of prayer. We pray not only to grow closer to Jesus and Mary, but also for the good of those we love, our country, and the Church.

As we enter into this prayer apostolate, we can be aided by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC’s “Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon” (Marian Press, 2016). The Dominican Archbishop Augustine DiNoia described it as “probably the most comprehensive book ever written on the rosary.” The book has three major parts. First, it presents a detailed history of the rosary from the 13th century to present. The second part lays out 26 holy figures who were champions of the rosary. The third provides a short overview of how to pray the rosary.

Fr. Calloway describes the ancient origins of the rosary in the practice of reciting the Our Father or Hail Mary 150 times as a way to imitate the monks’ recitation of the 150 psalms each day. St. Dominic, in the thirteenth century, formulated the rosary as we know it, with decades focused on the mysteries of our salvation. St. Dominic used the rosary in his preaching against heresy in southern France. Though it took a little while to catch on, the rosary gained popularity through confraternities of laypeople gathered to recite the rosary in their city.

The rosary has shaped the lives of Catholics in many ways. It brought about a number of crucial victories for Christendom over the Turks, beginning with the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571, when Catholic forces miraculously destroyed the Turkish fleet. The rosary received many significant Papal endorsements, which attached indulgences to it and the confraternities dedicated to it. In the last few hundred years Our Lady herself has spread devotion to the rosary, with apparitions recognized by the Church in countries such as Colombia, Vietnam, Belgium, Japan, Nicaragua, and Rwanda. Almost as surprising, Fr. Calloway describes Elvis Presley’s 1971 song, “The Miracle of the Rosary.”

The book also details champions the rosary, such as Bl. Alan de la Roche, a 15th century Dominican who popularized it, St. Louis de Montfort, St. Anthony Mary Claret, Pope Leo XIII, who wrote 11 encyclicals promoting the rosary, Fr. Patrick Peyton, who promoted the family rosary, and St. John Paul II, who gave us five new luminous mysteries. These figures should serve as a model for us and Fr. Calloway concludes by teaching us how we can become a champion of the rosary: 1) pray the rosary, 2) encourage others to pray it, and 3) join a rosary group. One group to consider for our area is the Confraternity of the Rosary, organized by the Central Province of the Dominicans: http://opcentral.org/confraternity-of-the-holy-rosary/.

There are some other recent books on the rosary you may find helpful as well. Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Praying the Rosary for Spiritual Warfare (OSV, 2016); Dan Burke and Connie Rossini, The Contemplative Rosary – with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila (Sophia, 2017); Johnnette Benkovic and Thomas Sullivan, The Rosary: Your Weapon for Spiritual Warfare (Servant, 2017); Gretchen Crowe, Why the Rosary, Why Now? (OSV, 2017).

COMING UP: Getting to know Mary, Our Mother

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Leading up to the Oct. 13 consecration of the Archdiocese of Denver to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the archdiocese will release a series of five videos called Marian Moments, that seek to help the faithful grow closer to Mary by learning more about her virtues, and imitating those virtues in daily life.

The videos will be accompanied by suggested readings from Scripture and Tradition, and a classic Marian prayer to memorize.

In English, the videos feature Father Ryan O’Neill, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Denver.

In Spanish, the videos feature Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, auxiliary bishop of Denver, Msgr. de los Santos, pastor of Our Lady Mother of Church in Commerce City, Father Benito Hernandez, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Father Mauricio Bermudez, parochial vicar at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Aurora, and Father Mario Ramirez, parochial vicar of Ascension Parish in Denver.

Below are the dates the preparation material will be released with a brief description of the theme of that day.

The simplicity of Mary
September 21

Mary lived a quiet life in Nazareth with Joseph and Jesus, doing God’s will in her daily duties as a wife and mother. She is blessed among all women, yet in her life she was mostly quiet and hidden.

Scripture: Luke 1:39-56 (The Visitation)
Prayer: The Magnificat
Quote: “Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.” -Saint Bede the Venerable

Marian Moment #1: The Simplicity of Mary

Abandonment to the will of God
September 26

This is a quality best portrayed in the Annunciation, where Mary completely accepts God’s will for her life and whatever it meant for her. When she said, “Yes,” she became the vessel of the Savior of the world.

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 (The Annunciation)
Prayer: The Angelus
Quote: “You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.” -Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Marian Moment #2: Abandonment to the will of God

Mary’s love for the Cross
September 28

At the Presentation, Simeon told her that a sword would pierce her heart also. When Jesus’ side was pierced, that act pierced her heart as she watched. Mary accompanied Jesus in his life, and in his death.

Scripture: Luke 2: 22-38 (The Presentation)
Prayer: Hail, Holy Queen
Quote: “The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.” -Saint Sophronius

Marian Moment #3: Mary’s love for the Cross

Mary’s love for souls
October 3
Mary loved souls and for that reason she is called “Queen of the Apostles.” Jesus gave her to us as Our Mother. Mary consented to Jesus’ death on the Cross because she loved us so much and knew his plan of salvation for us.

Scripture: John 19: 26-27
Prayer: Memorare
Quote: “With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you shall not be deceived; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection, you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.” -Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Marian Moment #4: Mary’s love for souls

The Heart of Mary
October 5

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is overflowing with life and grace, and it is tender, inviting and beautiful. We should always go to Jesus through Mary, because this is the way Jesus ordained it.

Scripture: Luke 2:1-20 (Nativity of Jesus)
Prayer: Rosary
Quote: “God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.” -Saint Anselm

Marian Moment #5: The heart of Mary