Wednesday 7th October 2020
Our Lady of the Rosary
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The painting below depicts a battle that had an unexpected outcome and contributed to this day (7th October) being dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Battle of Lepanto which was part of the greater Ottoman-Venetian War (1570 -1573) took place off the western coast of Greece in October 1571. The opposing forces were a fleet from the Ottoman Empire in the East and an alliance of Catholic Christians organised under Pope Pius V from the West. The historical records show that the small papal alliance surprisingly inflicted a major defeat to the Ottoman navy. At the time the Pope declared Our Lady to be the contributing reason for the success as he had implored all his sailors to pray the Rosary before the battle. From that day on Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the battle of Lepanto.
As time went on and the graces that praying the rosary showed, the 7th October soon became the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Rosary is that simple yet profound and beautiful prayer that allows Mary to bring us closer to her Son. The 20th century American Archbishop, Fulton Sheen, wrote how the Holy Rosary is the prayer that opens up the Gospels for us and allows us to read in our hearts and minds the Life of Jesus.
“The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
At Mass this morning I mentioned a number of ways that I pray the Rosary which help me. One method in particular that helps me if my mind is distracted with all kinds of issues and worries is to break the Rosary down throughout the day. When I wake up I will begin with the Creed and the first few prayers. After breakfast I’ll think of the first mystery and then pray a decade. Mid morning I’ll pray the second mystery and decade. After lunch or in the car or out walking I’ll pray the third mystery and decade and by bedtime I will have completed the final two mysteries. By praying in this way, (for me personally), I have found that I have Our Lady walking with me throughout the day and Our Lord and been made ever present to me. Brothers and Sisters however you pray the Holy Rosary, do pray it, as Our Lady always grants many graces and blessings to those who do.
“Go to the Madonna. Love her! Always say the Rosary. Say it well. Say it as often as you can! Be souls of prayer. Never tire of praying, it is what is essential. Prayer shakes the Heart of God, it obtains necessary graces!” – St. Padre Pio
November Souls List
November is traditionally that time when, as Roman Catholics, we pray for those who have died. Over the last two years we have had an All Souls box placed in front of the Altar where people have been able to put the names of their deceased loved ones in. This year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are going to dedicate a page of our parish website for people to pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died. Throughout the month of November those names will remain on our webpage. We will send out more information closer the time.
Parish Online Advent Calendar
Advent is one of my favourite liturgical seasons. There is a sense of expectancy and a feeling of hope which of course is realised in the birth of Our Lord. There has been the idea that we could do a St. Mary’s Parish Advent Calendar. This would involve each day a reflection/prayer/story/memory etc. being posted on the website. What would make this parish advent calendar unique is that each day the prayer/reflection/thought/story etc. would be from you the parishioners. Everybody in our parish family has words and stories of hope to share that could help others during these difficult winter months. Do not worry about spelling or punctuation – you have all put up with my poor grammar for the last eight months most graciously! You may want to write a poem, retell a story, compose a prayer or recall times past at St. Mary’s etc. There is no exact word limit and if you wish you can remain anonymous. If a theme is needed then I would simply say look to the baby born in the manger who brought the world hope and love. Have a think and do email me.
We are blessed to have a number of people who volunteer to clean church each week. This, as you will appreciate, is a very important part of our church remaining open. The proverb ‘many hands make light work’ is true and so I would like to appeal for more parishioners to come forward and volunteer their services. Please contact Karen Beard, the parish housekeeper who is overseeing the weekly cleaning at St. Mary’s: email@example.com
God Bless and keep praying
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.