The entire month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The rosary is made up of mainly the prayer of Christ, the “Our Father”, and the angelic greeting to Mary by Gabriel which is contained in the first sentence of the “Hail Mary”, along with the words of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth in the second sentence. The petitioning part of the “Hail Mary” was formed by the Church from the official Catechism of the Council of Trent. Therefore, it can be seen that the words of this most powerful prayer are indeed from the Bible as well as from the Church.
Having its root in such excellent sources, it is not surprising that the rosary is especially precious to Mary, our Blessed Mother, and so powerful in heaven. There have been numerous triumphs of the rosary throughout Catholic history, dating as far back as the thirteenth century to present time.
The Church makes up the Body of Christ, and the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous Mysteries of the rosary set forth the entire life of Jesus Christ, His passion, death, Resurrection, and glory. The rosary also honours and reflects on Mary, as her life is so closely linked with that of her Son, Jesus. The Liturgical Year acknowledges her for this reason also and the month of October is dedicated to praying the rosary. The best way to celebrate this month is to pray the rosary every day.
At the parish of La Divina Pastora in Siparia, we are encouraged to arrive at least 20 minutes before Mass is celebrated to join in a communal praying of the rosary and to make time each day for family prayer and especially to pray the rosary during this month. Our midday Mass each Friday is the weekday Mass with the best attendance. Both the faithful and the faith-seeking make it their duty to attend and participate in this Mass. Our parish priest, Fr Martin Sirju, encourages the participation of the teachers and pupils of his two schools – St Brigid’s Girls’ RC and the La Divina Pastora (Siparia) Boys’ RC at this Mass. On alternating weeks, each school is charged with the responsibility for the readings and the collection of offerings. As one of the teachers, I have seen the growth of our pupils when they are encouraged to actively participate at Mass; they gain confidence and overcome their fear of being in front of lots of people. At both schools the rosary is prayed every day during the months of October and May. In the Religion period for a great part of the month of October the Mysteries of the rosary are taught. These sessions are quite interactive and activity-based, with pupils constructing rosaries using chords, beads, beans or crumpled paper. Marian hymns are the focus of our singing at this time. The feast days of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (October 7) and Our Lady of Fatima (October 13) are taught and observed.
The catechists of our parish engage their various groups in devotion to the rosary and Mary, since we are after all a national shrine dedicated to our Blessed Mother under the name of La Divina Pastora, the Divine Shepherdess. The virtues of our Blessed Mother are reinforced at all levels and our young people are engaged and challenged to adopt these as their guiding principles in building character and directing their spiritual journey.
Mary made 15 promises to those who fervently pray the rosary every day. Who among us does not want blessings of grace, peace, protection, mercy, and eternal happiness for our loved ones and ourselves? Mary offers all this to us without hesitation through the rosary. The Church offers us the month of October to recommit ourselves to this devotion. We do not know how much time we have been given in this earthly life, but we do have today. So let us spend more of our time contemplating this beautiful prayer of the rosary to build a closer relationship with Mary, our Mother, and her son Jesus, our Saviour.
– Natasha Voisin, Catechist, La Divina Pastora, Siparia