October is the month dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary and also the month when we commemorate the conclusion of the Apparitions at Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun. This year, were celebrate the 90th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparition.
I remember that when I was a kid, we would gather in front of our family altar every evening after dinner during the months of May and October to pray the rosary. Those sessions in prayer have left a very deep impression on me till this day and I remember them as vividly as if it were only yesterday. My grandparents thought me all the prayers, the Aves and Paters and Glorias when I was very young and so assumed that I knew how to pray. But somehow, during the prayer, I would always finish faster than anyone else, even when I tired praying slower. They always wondered about it… but I did assure them I COULD count to ten! Then one day, we figured out what was wrong. Instead saying one Hail Mary for of every bead, I said the Hail Mary on one bead and moved on to the next bead for the Holy Mary, Mother of God =)
My grandmother has a very strong devotion of Mary and prays the Holy Rosary daily, even to this day. She stills carries it around with her wherever she goes and is always in her pocket. My late grandfather too, prayed the Holy Rosary regularly and one of the earliest gifts I received from them is a rosary. Some of my most prized possessions are my grandfather’s rosaries, which I hope to highlight in the upcoming days. The communal praying of the Holy Rosary before the Novena on Saturday which I am privileged to lead once a month is one of the highlights which I always look forward to.
After the Second Vatican Council, the practice of praying the Holy Rosary, the Novenas and other personal devotions such as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (the Eucharist if for eating, not for looking at!) fell by the wayside as many Catholics thought of themselves as too sophisticated to pray these relics of a bygone age. In my own parish Church, when I was younger, I do not remember the communal recitation of the Rosary nor Adoration or Benediction. This is, of course, like many other things such as the use of Latin in the liturgy and the pride of place occupied by Gregorian Chant, is totally opposed to the Letter and Authentic Spirit of Vatican II. But those Western ‘experts’ (who mostly later left the priesthood and married former nuns after wreaking havoc on the Church and wrecking many beautiful Temples to God’s glory) sure taught many of the local ‘missionary’ Churches better and foisted the very modernism that would incapacitate and cripple their own Churches in due course.
But now, thanks to the teaching and personal example of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI as well, these devotions, stemming from a childlike faith and confidence in God and in His saints has come back to the fore and is now mainstream and those who pray the Holy Rosary are no longer freaks of a bygone era. Pope John Paul II himself could always be seen in prayer and the rosary is always in his hand whenever he has a spare moment, whether on a place or in a meeting with the Youth. Pope Benedict XVI prays the rosary in the walks he takes in the mountains during his vacations.
In the months of October, in my own parish, the Holy Rosary is recited before the principal weekend Masses, led by the various ministries and cell groups within the Church. During the weekday Masses, the Holy Rosary is recited after the morning Masses and before the Evening Masses. On every 13th day of the month, a special Mass is held after the praying of the Holy Rosary at the outdoor altar before Our Lady’s Grotto. The Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is prayed after the Holy Rosary every Saturday evening followed by Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.
The Rosary is back for good and those with the most fervent devotion to Our Lady are often the very same people with the most devotion to Our Lord. This should not surprise us as Mary ever points us towards Christ, her Son and her Lord as the Morning Star points us towards the coming of the Dawn and the Rising of Sun.
Let us then, in this month of the Rosary, pray most fervently for the intercession of Our Lady before her Son and Lord.
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