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Blog Post - October 7th

Our Lady of The Rosary| Video on the Rosary| Pope S. Mark I| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection

Our Lady of the Rosary

Both Calendars

St. Pius V (April 30) established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.

The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus' life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.


The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glorys remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.

The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.


“The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel messge in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb.... It can be said that the rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter that discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church" (Pope John Paul II, apostolic letter The Rosary of the Virgin Mary).

Why Are May and October Months of Mary?

Honoring Mary during the month of May has early roots. According to Catholic Encyclopedia, “In some manuscripts of the “Transitus Mariae,” which dates from the late fifth century, three annual Marian feasts are noted, including one on “the 15th day of Iyar, corresponding more or less to May. . . . Still later in date (seventeenth century at earliest) is the adoption of the custom of consecrating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin by special observances.”

Pope Pius XII further solidified May as a particularly Marian month when he instituted the feast of the Queenship of Mary (May 31) as part of the Marian Year he proclaimed in 1945). May 31 is now the feast of the Visitation of Mary. The Queenship of Mary has been moved to August 22. In addition, in the Church's Enchiridion of Indulgences, there used to be special mention of indulgences for May Marian devotions. In the new Enchiridion, there is specific enumeration of general norms for Marian prayers that make a plenary indulgence obtainable not just in May, but any time of the year. The month of May as a Marian month was further affirmed by Mary’s first apparition at Fatima (May 13, 1917).

Regarding the month of October, October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Church chose that day and, apparently by extension, the month of October to honor Our Lady of the Rosary because a great victory took place on October 7. In October 1571, the Church in Europe faced a seemingly hopeless challenge. The Muslim Turks had already conquered the Middle East, slaughtering millions and forcing the survivors to convert to Islam. They then moved across the Mediterranean Sea, taking the crucial islands of Crete and Cyprus. From these islands, they set their sights on the Christian kingdoms of the central Mediterranean, threatening Sicily, Venice, and even Rome herself.

Pope Pius V called on the Christian princes of Europe to rally to defeat the Islamic threat. In addition, he called on rosary confraternities in Rome and all over Europe to undertake special processions and public recitation of the Rosary, asking the intercession of the Blessed Mother. What ensued was the famous Battle of Lepanto. The Christian fleet was far outnumbered and appeared to have no human hope of winning. On the first Sunday of October 1571, the Christian fleet met the invading Muslims off the coast of Greece in the Gulf of Lepanto.

As Christians all over Europe prayed for Our Lady’s intercession, the Turks surrounded the Christian ships. But the European fleet broke through. By days’ end, almost all of the Turks were driven to shore or drowned.

Europe was saved. Pope Pius established an annual commemoration to honor Our Lady of Victory, and his successor, Gregory XIII, decreed that the first Sunday in October would be the feast of the Holy Rosary.

In summary, the decision to designate October as the month of the Rosary apparently stems from the Church’s desire to extend its thanksgiving to Our Lady for victory in the Battle of Lepanto from one Sunday to a whole month. In addition, when Our Lady appeared in Fatima in May 1917, she identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Finally, Catholic Encyclopedia adds that “the practice of reciting the Rosary every day during the month of October can hardly be said to be older than the Rosary Encyclicals of Leo XIII.”

Musical video on the Rosary sung by Mario Lanza on September 23, 1951

Also today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate Pope S. Mark I.

Date of birth unknown; consecrated 18 Jan., 336; d. 7 Oct., 336. After the death of Pope Sylvester, Mark was raised to the Roman episcopal chair as his successor. The “Liber Pontificalis” says that he was a Roman, and that his father’s name was Priscus. Constantine the Great’s letter, which summoned a conference of bishops for the investigation of the Donatist dispute, is directed to Pope Miltiades and one Mark. This Mark was evidently a member of the Roman clergy, either priest or first deacon, and is perhaps identical with the pope.

The date of Mark’s election (18 Jan., 336) is given in the Liberian Catalogue of popes, and is historically certain; so is the day of his death (7 Oct.), which is specified in the same way in the “Depositio episcoporum” of Philocalus’s “Chronography”, the first edition of which appeared also in 336. Concerning an interposition of the pope in the Arian troubles, which were then so actively affecting the Church in the East, nothing has been handed down. An alleged letter of his to St. Athanasius is a later forgery.

Two constitutions are attributed to Mark by the author of the “Liber Pontificalis”.

According to the one, he invested the Bishop of Ostia with the pallium, and ordained that this bishop was to consecrate the Bishop of Rome. It is certain that, towards the end of the fourth century, the Bishop of Ostia did bestow the episcopal consecration upon the newly-elected pope; Augustine expressly bears witness to this . It is indeed possible that Mark had confirmed this privilege by a constitution, which does not preclude the fact that the Bishop of Ostia before this time usually consecrated the new pope. As for the bestowal of the pallium, the account cannot be established from sources of the fourth century, since the oldest memorials which show this badge, belong to the fifth and sixth centuries, and the oldest written mention of a pope bestowing the pallium dates from the sixth century (cf. Grisar, “Das römische Pallium und die altesten liturgischen Schärpen”, in “Festschrift des deutschen Campo Santo in Rom”, Freiburg im Br., 1897, 83-114).

The “Liber Pontificalis” remarks further of Marcus: “Et constitutum de omni ecclesia ordinavit”; but we do not know which constitution this refers to. The building of two basilicas is attributed to this pope by the author of the “Liber Pontificalis”. One of these was built within the city in the region “juxta Pallacinis”; it is the present church of San Marco, which however received its present external shape by later alterations. It is mentioned in the fifth century as a Roman title church, so that its foundation may without difficulty be attributed to St. Mark. The other was outside the city; it was a cemetery church, which the pope got built over the Catacomb of Balbina, between the Via Appia and the Via Ardeatina.

The pope obtained from Emperor Constantine gifts of land and liturgical furniture for both basilicas. Mark was buried in the Catacomb of Balbina, where he had built the cemetery church. His grave is expressly mentioned there by the itineraries of the seventh century. The feast of the deceased pope was given on 7 Oct. in the old Roman calendar of feasts, which was inserted in the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum”; it is still kept on the same date.

Daily Meditation

Dialogue of Love:

Prayer is not a formula or an empty ritual. It is a friendship. It is a relationship. That means it is a dialogue of love by which people in love talk to each other.

Quote by S. Padre Pio:

How often do we receive from Jesus this kiss of peace in the most holy Sacrament? ... and let us show our gratitude for it. What precious gift can we wretched mortals desire from God?

Divine Mercy Reflection

Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326

As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.

It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.

As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.

Reflection 280: Ignoring God

Do you ignore God? It’s far too easy to do and, therefore, all too common. Very often, God is ignored after receiving Holy Communion. Many people get in the habit of coming forward to receive Him and do so with many distractions and little attention to the sacredness of this encounter. Do not allow yourself to fall into this habit. Receiving our Lord in Holy Communion must become a profoundly intimate encounter. Our souls are fused as one in this moment and we must be attentive to this reality. Though Holy Communion is the most profound encounter we can have with our Lord, we must be deeply aware of His presence all the time. When we pray to Him, we must allow ourselves to not only say prayers, but to be drawn into His glorious presence and consumed by His Mercy. As we go throughout our day, we must be constantly aware of Him walking with us, leading us and speaking to us. Do not ignore our Lord. If you find that you do this at times, or if it has become a regular habit, know that the opposite habit can be formed. Making regular choices to be aware of Him within you and all around you will open the door to you walking in His Mercy every day (See Diary #1385).

Reflect upon your attentiveness to our Lord as honestly as you can. Reflect, especially, upon your attentiveness to Him as He comes to you in Holy Communion. Seek Him, listen to Him and receive Him and your life will take on a new direction.

Lord, I know that I ignore You at times and that I fail to be attentive to Your gentle and holy Voice speaking in the depths of my conscience. I know that I do not properly reverence You and adore You in the countless ways that You come to me. Give me the grace to form a holy habit of always knowing that You are near. As I form this habit, give me the grace to love You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.

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