Father Edward Looney, ordained in June 2015, offers a Marian gift — A Rosary Litany, Renewing a Pious Custom — to the faithful.
Not only does it renew a pious custom St. Louis de Montfort proposed and Blessed Paul VI and St. John Paul II encouraged, but it brings Father Looney’s insights into the litany, too.
“The hope is that it would contribute to the renewal of praying the Rosary,” said Father Looney, parochial vicar of St. Raphael the Archangel parish in Oshkosh, Wis., as well as assisting priest at two parishes both named St. Mary.
The book idea began when a friend shared with him a talk he heard by Edward Sri. Sri mentioned the idea of adding a phrase after the name of Jesus.
“My friend prayed the Rosary that day doing what Sri recommended, and he found that to be so beneficial for him,” Father Looney related. “I started to do that and found it to be beneficial myself. As I started adding those phrases to the Rosary, I kept a running tab and shared them with my friend so he could add them if he wished.”
Then came 10 weeks in the Holy Land as a seminarian with others from Mundelein Seminary. “At those sites I prayed this method and wrote down these phrases, and so it [the book] was born from prayer in the Holy Land. When I was there, I finished it.”
Renewing a pious custom of the way saints prayed the Rosary, Father Looney views this book “as a development of what St. Louis de Montfort did,” who gave one invocation for each decade. “I took it to each bead of the Hail Mary. Paul VI and St. John Paul II both recommended the reinsertion of a phrase after Jesus.”
In Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Most Holy Rosary) St. John Paul II wrote that adding a clause referring to the mystery contemplated “gives forceful expression to our faith in Christ. … It is at once a profession of faith and an aid in concentrating our meditation, since it facilitates the process of assimilation to the mystery of Christ inherent in the repetition of the Hail Mary.”
The Basic Method
In each Hail Mary, an invocation is inserted after “thy womb Jesus” or “Mother of God.” Father Looney adds a new invocation — in litany style — for each Hail Mary.
For example, from the Joyful Mysteries: “thy womb Jesus, whose kingdom will have no end, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners …”; “thy womb Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Ark of the New Covenant, pray for us sinners …”; from the Glorious Mysteries: “thy womb Jesus, whom Thomas doubted, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us …”; and “thy womb Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us sinners …”
Father Looney explained, “When we modify the name of Jesus and Mary reflecting each mystery, it brings us to a great understanding of Jesus in the mystery.” When people ask the difference between this and the scriptural Rosary he tells them, “This comes from Scripture but it tells us more who Jesus is in the mystery.”
Devoted to our Blessed Mother as a youngster who prayed the Rosary daily in community after Mass, Father Looney, as a seminarian, eventually became one of the youngest members of the Mariological Society of America to ever present a paper, after which his bishop assigned him to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis. That led to writing several books for both adults and children on the shrine and Our Lady’s apparitions to Sister Adele — the only approved Marian apparition in the United States — plus a litany and novena.
“I feel a servant of Mary,” Father Looney explained. “When you’re a servant, and she taps you for another project, you give a fiat, say ‘Yes’ and cooperate with her.”
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.
A Rosary Litany, Renewing a Pious Custom (Flores Mariae Publishing) is available at EWTNRC.com.