As we approach October, the month of the Holy Rosary, and the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7, there’s a grassroots effort via the Web to remember the origin of the feast and win our country back to Jesus.
The Lepanto Victory Mission Rosary novena wants to enlist people in all 50 states to unite to pray a Rosary for the U.S. during one or more of the 216 hours making up the round-the-clock, nine-day novena leading up to the feast. The intention is “peace and victory of God for our country.”
The Rosary novena begins first thing Sept. 29, the feast of the Archangels, and goes continuously until the end of Oct. 7.
The organization was inspired by the miraculous victory Christian naval forces won on Oct. 7, 1571. That tremendous Mediterranean battle off the coast of Greece, one of the greatest sea battles in history, saw an outnumbered Christian fleet defeat a superior Turkish Moor armada — the most powerful naval force of the time — that was about to invade Europe. The fate of Western Europe was in the balance.
The Christian fleet’s major weapon? The Rosary.
Pope St. Pius V knew the fleet was at a big disadvantage and called on all Catholics to pray the Rosary for victory. Throughout Europe, Christians answered his call. The Holy League’s several thousand Christian sailors also prayed the Rosary before the battle and received Communion. Afterward, Don Juan of Austria, commander of the Christian fleet, credited this major upset victory to the intercession of the Blessed Mother through the Rosary. The Venetian Senate officially declared the victory was brought about by Our Lady and the Rosary.
As a constant reminder and to commemorate the Rosary, St. Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory, and, after another victory over the Turks in 1716 credited to the Rosary (on a different feast of Our Lady), the feast for the universal Church was renamed Our Lady of the Rosary.
Speaking of popes, in one of Leo XIII’s 11 encyclicals on the Rosary he devotes a long section to the Lepanto victory and says, “Those who were unable to take part formed a pious band of supplicants, who called on Mary and unitedly saluted her again and again in the words of the Rosary, imploring her to grant the victory to their companions engaged in battle. Our Sovereign Lady did grant her aid. … The Christian fleet gained a magnificent victory, with no great loss to itself, in which the enemy was routed …”
John Paul II singles out Leo XIII’s encyclical in his own apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary), noting the Rosary is “an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society.”
Our Lady, pray for us!
Joseph Pronechen is the Register’s staff writer.
In addition to visiting the website (link above), you may also call (316) 518-9409 for more information.