Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
An email from the founder of the Children’s Rosary recently explained about a gift for Christmas — a gift that can bear the kind of fruits in 2015 that only heaven can count.
This specific gift — the rosary — was going overseas, the email said.
What a perfect gift at this time: Jan. 1 is the Octave Day of Christmas on which we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
This perfect mother — Mother Mary — who wants the best for her sons and daughters, told us simply and clearly what we must do to have peace in the world and in our hearts: Pray the Rosary.
She told that to three young children — ages 7, 8 and 10 — at Fatima.
At every apparition, she told the children to pray the Rosary: “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war."
In her third appearance, she told them, “Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.”
Visiting Fatima in 2010, in his homily, Benedict XVI said, “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.”
He went on to say, “At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the love of God burning in her own heart.”
Sounds like today’s world, doesn’t it?
“Mary said at Fatima the Rosary can stop wars, can bring world peace, can convert people. I take her at her word,” Father Andrew Apostoli — the author of Fatima for Today (Ignatius, 2011) and host of EWTN’s Sunday Night Prime — of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal told me for an article on two Fatima initiatives for children.
One of those initiatives is the Children’s Rosary, founded in Connecticut.
Today, the Children’s Rosary numbers 63 groups in 20 states, from coast to coast, with more starting to form, plus several international groups from Canada and England to Africa and Australia.
To spread Christmas cheer and the message of Mary, the Children’s Rosary in Connecticut collected, packed and shipped boxes of rosaries, children’s Bibles, books on saints and handmade cards to the six Children’s Rosary groups in Kenya. One group has 190 orphans who gather to say the Rosary every Monday night.
All the items were touched to first-class relics: one of St. Ann, the mother of the Mother of God, and one of St. Therese, the Little Flower.
You can even help spread this mission; a friend will match any donation to the Children’s Rosary, dollar for dollar, up to $4,000 until Jan. 6, 2015, the Epiphany. See the Children’s Rosary website for where to send a donation.
“When the children feel a sense of God’s presence, which praying the Rosary seems to bring so powerfully,” Father Apostoli said in that same article, “it’s going to be a big defense against the secular spirit of removing God from life. That’s why having the Rosary very early for children is very important.”
It’s very important for adults, too, as the Queen of Peace and her Son, the Prince of Peace, remind us.
As St. Louis de Montfort noted: “The apostles of the last days will carry the crucifix in their right hand, the rosary in their left and the holy names of Jesus and Mary in their heart.”
In Fatima, Benedict XVI concluded that the seven years — now only three! — “which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”
And in his book, Father Apostoli counseled that our Blessed Mother “has the plan for peace, so we do not have to invent another one. We only have to put her plan into practice.”
Let’s listen to our Mother and hasten her triumph. Queen of Peace, pray for us!