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The importance of the beloved Marian devotion.
BY Joseph PronechenRegister Staff Writer
Every day we eat, sleep, work etc. But do we find time to pray the Rosary?
Is there a better time to start the practice of praying the Rosary daily than in October, the month of the Rosary?
Saints, scholars and ordinary people know the importance — and the benefits — of praying the Rosary every day. St. Pio of Petrelcina prayed many. St. Louis de Montfort said, “Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray.”
Blessed John Paul II admitted that “the Rosary is my favorite prayer.” He urged the faithful to pray this Marian prayer regularly so that it can make a monumental difference for themselves, their families and the world.
Praying the Rosary daily is important and beneficial for a number of reasons: peace in families and the world, a means to becoming more Christ-like, as well as a means of evading Satan.
Our Lady herself underlined the importance of the daily Rosary during her apparitions at Fatima in 1917, telling us through the children seers, “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”
Blessed John Paul II said in his apostolic letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, “One cannot recite the Rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace.”
Then he linked peace and the family together. “As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family.” He then quoted the famous prayer saying of the late Father Patrick Peyton (whose cause for canonization is under way): The family that prays together stays together.
Mary’s request for this prayer has been constant.
“She not only asked us to pray the Rosary daily, but also asked each time she came. It’s the only thing she repeated so many times,” says Michael La Corte, executive director of the World Apostolate of Fatima (WAFUSA.org).
Our Lady even identified herself in regards to this prayer: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
This Marian prayer ultimately draws one close to Christ. Father John Phalen, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which promotes the family Rosary (HCFM.org), says this prayer helps us become more Christ-like: “The Rosary reminds us of major events in Christ’s life. Following the life of Christ scripturally, we can pattern our life on the life of Christ. … The Christian challenge is to conform our life to Christ, and the Rosary helps us to do that.”
As John Paul II stated in his letter on the Rosary, “The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary’s side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is ‘fully formed’ in us,” and “it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to Our Lord is devotion to Mary, his holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her, the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ.”
And being Christ-like helps people remain strong in faith. As La Corte said, “Our Lady specifically said that praying the Rosary will free people from Satan’s grip, and poor souls who have no one to pray for them will be saved.”
But families in particular are strengthened by this devotion.
The Pope emphasized, “The holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together.”
Catholic families who make the Rosary a daily prayer have gained much in their spiritual journeys.
“When you pray the Rosary, your life changes. You become more spiritual. You gain insights. It’s like our Blessed Mother puts you in a washing machine and removes the stains,” says Elizabeth Fyke, who brings the Rosary message to the airwaves in her twice-weekly radio show The Message of Our Lady of Fatima, which is broadcast on a Christian station in the greater Philadelphia area.
She and her husband, Edward, began praying the daily Rosary after dinner as a family when their children were little. “No matter what was going on in our life,” Elizabeth recalls, “when everyone gathered together, there always was a difference when we were done praying. Things were better.”
The Fykes’ grown children continue this daily prayer ritual with their children; there are 22 grandchildren in the family.
In Bristow, Va., Margaret and William Loesel also pray the Rosary daily with their seven children, who range in age from 6 to 18. Ten years ago they began with a decade a day when the children were very young.
“We were able to make it part of our family life after dinner for years,” Margaret says. As the children got older, the family moved the Rosary to later in the evening.
“We turned on EWTN at the 9:30 broadcast of the Rosary and gathered the family (youngest ones sometimes were sleeping) together to pray the Rosary,” says Margaret.
Not only does the Rosary prayed by Mother Angelica and her nuns air daily — EWTN’s chaplain, Father Joseph Mary Wolfe of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, produces a pro-life Rosary that airs every Saturday.
Father Wolfe explains: “In that Rosary, I refer to Our Lady of Victory, Our Lady of the Rosary —titles which recall the miraculous victory at Lepanto, which Pope St. Pius V attributed to Our Lady’s intercession.” (For more on the Lepanto victory, see this week’s “Why Do Catholics … ?” on page B1.) We celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7.
“Mary is the patroness of the unborn, who has instructed us in various approved apparitions (Fatima and Lourdes) to pray the Rosary,” he explains. “I believe strongly that one of the most important things that EWTN does is to unite people in praying together for the various problems and needs of the world. Many, many viewers have told us that they pray the Rosary when it airs on EWTN. That cannot but bring about many fruits of graces for the world and for the building of the culture of life.”
The Loesels see fruits of the Rosary in their family. This year one daughter went off to college to study at a Catholic school faithful to the Church and magisterium, one child attended World Youth Day, another goes to weekly Gospel reflections, and the boys love serving 6:30am Mass twice a week.
Says mom Margaret, “There are so many fruits from praying the (daily) Rosary and centering our life on our Blessed Mother and entrusting our family to her.”
Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.