The Most Holy Rosary - The Powerful Prayer to Our Lady
The month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. This is primarily due to the fact that the liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7. It was instituted to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary in gratitude for the protection that she gives the Church in answer to the praying of the Rosary by the faithful.
The rosary was first given to Saint Dominic by the Virgin Mary during an apparition in 1214 in Prouilhe of Southern France. She presented it as a source of strength and grace to persevere in his efforts to convert Albigensian heretics. Saint Dominic went on to found the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans. The image of Our Lady of the Rosary reflects this apparition, with Mary holding the child Jesus in one hand and the other hand extending to give the rosary beads to Saint Dominic.
Middle Ages where it came into being in various medieval monasteries as a substitute for the Divine Office for the lay monks and devout lay persons who did not know how to read. Instead of the 150 psalms, they would pray 150 "Our Fathers" counting them on a ring of beads known as the crown or "corona." With the growth of popularity of Marian devotion in the twelfth century, the "Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary" developed now substituting 150 "Hail Marys" in place of the "Our Fathers."
The 150 "Hail Marys" were subsequently subdivided into fifteen decades by the young Dominican friar, Henry Kalkar (1328-1408), with each decade referring to an event in the life of Jesus and Mary. The Dominican, Alanus de Rupe (1428-1478) further divided the episodes in the history of salvation into the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries. He also attributed the origin of the Rosary, then known as the "Psalter of the Blessed Virgin" to St. Dominic and thus spurred the Dominican Order to make the Apostolate of the Rosary their special concern. The Dominicans have since promulgated the Rosary with notable results.
The Dominican pope, St. Pius V, did much to further the spread of the Rosary and it thereafter became one of the most popular devotions in Christendom. It was the same Pope St. Pius V, who in 1569 officially approved the Rosary in its present form with the Papal Bull, Consueverunt Romani Pontifices. It had been completed by the addition of the second half of the "Hail Mary" and the "Glory be to the Father" at the conclusion of each mystery.
On Thursday, 7th October we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in honour of the Blessed Mother. The Rosary, more specifically, Our Lady of the Rosary, is credited with victory at the Battle of Lepanto 450 years ago, October 7, 1571, in which a Christian fleet defeated a superior Ottoman Muslim fleet and stopped the westward expansion of Islam in the Mediterranean. In thanksgiving for Mary’s intercession and protection, Pope Pius V declared the day, October 7th, as a feast day for Our Lady of Victory, now known as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. To celebrate, a Rosary procession was held at Saint Peter’s Square. After the feast day was established,
The practice of dedicating the entire month of October to the Holy Rosary developed toward the end of the last century. Pope Leo XIII (papacy: 1878-1903) strongly promoted the increase of devotion to the Blessed Mother by encouraging the constant use of the Rosary. Beginning on September 1, 1883, with Supremo Apostolatus Officio, he wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary. The entire month of October was dedicated to the Rosary in 1884 in his encyclical Superiore Anno, ending with Diuturni Temporis in 1898.
Many other Popes have contributed to help increase devotion to the Rosary by their writings, most recently John Paul II called the Rosary his favourite prayer, in which we meditate with Mary upon the mysteries which she as a mother meditated on in her heart (Lk. 2:19) (Osservatore Romano, 44; 30 Oct. 1979). In 2002, Saint John Paul II, who called the Rosary his favourite prayer, added a new set of five reflections called the Luminous Mysteries. They join the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries, in providing opportunities to reflect on the lives of Jesus and his Blessed Mother.
October is a good time to commit to praying the Rosary every day. The Rosary is the best method of honouring Mary. Let us consider this beautiful prayer of The Rosary that we too can use in order to draw closer to Jesus and Mary and bring great peace and holiness to our lives. It is a powerful instrument for conversion. It protects the Church from false teachings and keeps her safe from the attacks from the Enemy. I urge you to take up your powerful weapon and make a commitment to praying the Rosary, particularly for peace and healing in the world. Still not convinced? “The Rosary is a prayer both so humble and simple and theologically rich in Biblical content. I beg you to pray it.” – St. John Paul II “The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” -St. Josemaria Escriva “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.” – Our Lady of Fatima “The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.” – St. Francis de Sales “Pray the Rosary frequently. It costs so little, and it’s worth so much!” – St. Padre Pio
"The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying." —Pope Leo XIII
How to pray the Holy Rosary…
Below are key dates of feasts, festivals and solemnities during October:
St. Therese of Lisieux – 1st
Holy Guardian Angels – 2nd
Our Lady of the Rosary – 7th
St. Edward the Confessor – 13th
World Mission Day – 24th
St. Luke – Feast – 18th
St. John Paul II – 22nd
Ss. Simon and Jude (Apostles) - 28th
All Saints – Solemnity – 31st (Holy Day of Obligation)