Church Celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the feast of the Holy Rosary, perhaps the most popular prayer in the Catholic tradition.

The word ‘rosary’ comes from a Latin word meaning a garland of roses, and thus, a series of prayers in honour of  God, or in this instance, of Mary his Mother.

It is believed that St Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, received this revelation from Our Lady herself in the 13th century, and Dominican preachers were the very first of those who popularized this devotion.

As a devotional exercise, it has no parallel: while the lips move in vocal prayer to Jesus and Mary, the heart is raised in contemplation of the various events in their lives, as narrated in the Gospels. These are traditionally called the joyful, the sorrowful and the glorious mysteries. Thus even simple people can learn to pray with deep feeling and focus, and have done so through the ages.

In fact in the 1950s, a Catholic preacher Father Peyton successfully made the daily rosary the basis of family prayer with his slogan: “The family that prays together, stays together.”

The date of this feast comes from the famous naval battle of Lepanto in the Aegean Sea in 1571, where the Turkish invaders were utterly routed and their fleet destroyed. Pope St Pius V, himself a Dominican, gratefully commemorated Mary’s role in this victory by instituting the feast of ‘Our Lady of Victories’.

Later Popes changed this into ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’, as this was the prayer which saved Europe.

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