By Father Jacob Dankasa
Special to The Texas Catholic
October has been observed as the month of the Rosary in the Catholic Church for centuries. It is a month dedicated to devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary. This practice was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical, On Devotion of the Rosary (Sept. 1, 1883).
The pope outlined how devotion to the Blessed Mother through the rosary has helped the church to triumph in times of crisis. He explained that in the past when the church was threatened by heresies, moral corruption, superstition, barbarism, and so many other evils, the church came out strong through the power of praying the rosary.
As a result, he admonished the faithful to continue their devotion to the Blessed Mother by praying the rosary, so that through her intercession God would alleviate the sufferings of the church and the world. The pope in his encyclical declared: “Not only do we earnestly exhort all Christians to give themselves to the recital of the pious devotion of the Rosary publicly, or privately in their own house and family, and that unceasingly, but we also desire that the whole of the month of October … should be consecrated to the Holy Queen of the Rosary.” He believes that the rosary is of great benefit to the Catholic world because it is effective in “removing the calamities of our time.”
Since the time of Leo XIII the Catholic Church has held with ultimate devotion the month of October as the month of Mary and the rosary. This devotion creates an awareness of the power of the rosary to strengthen faith and promote a virtuous life. It is an invitation for Catholics to be aware of a powerful intercessor to whom they can go in times of need. It is also a reminder of the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in both the history of salvation and our everyday lives as humans.
October as the month of the rosary began as a response to the sufferings of the church.
Today, this October devotion is equally important as the church faces a new set of crises. As we struggle through this hard time in the life of the church, whatever healing we seek must be accompanied by prayer. The rosary has proved to be a powerful weapon for fighting the evils that have engulfed the church in the past, and it has been the cradle for healing. It is one of the most powerful spiritual tools we possess. Therefore we must use it, especially in this Month of the Rosary, as a reparation for the sins of the church. Above all, we must use it to invoke the intercession of our Blessed Mother for the healing of the church and the strengthening of faith in the faithful.
Setting aside October as the Month of the Rosary helps draw our attention to the importance of the rosary in our everyday lives. It also helps us to come to a deeper understanding of the mystery of our faith. We come together as a family to pray the rosary in the month of October as a reminder of the value of a united family. If we stand together, we will win the battle over the troubles that besiege our world.
Father Jacob Dankasa is a parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Plano.
Editor’s Note: Bishop Edward J. Burns has asked all priests, ministers and parishes of the Diocese of Dallas to pray the rosary before every Mass throughout the month of October for the healing of all victims of clergy abuse and the sanctification of priests. Check with your parish for times and further details.