At the concluding Mass of the inaugural Diocese of Venice Traveling Rosary Congress Bishop Frank J. Dewane stressed the importance of prayer – citing the rosary as prayer which allows for an intimate conversation with God.
“We find throughout Scriptures that persistence and perseverance is necessary for each of us in our prayer life,” said Bishop Dewane on Oct. 7, 2021, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. “Many pray the rosary every day and it has become an integral part of your life. A devotion to Our Lady through the rosary provides strength, drawing us closer to the Lord.”
The Bishop described the rosary as a prayer which developed over time, with the combination of the beads telling the story of God’s whole message, each building to open one’s heart to a great love of the Lord. As a result, praying the rosary helps create a pathway for everyone to open a conversation with the Lord, an essential component in one’s Faith life.
For example, St. Mother Theresa often referred to the power of rosary, calling everyone to pray it and live it and persevere. And the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: “The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known.”
This is why we meditate on the Mysteries and on the prayers, Bishop Dewane explained. “By doing so you become part of this history. Our Lady calls us to prayer and to acknowledge her Son. You do this by being the instruments of the Lord and calling others to come forth. Miracles will happen within us and within those around us because of our prayers and communications with the Lord.”
The Diocesan Traveling Rosary Congress took place at nine Parishes and commenced on Sept. 30, with opening Masses at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral. At each location, the opening Mass was followed by 24 hours of Perpetual Adoration and hourly praying of the rosary before ending with Mass. With the many difficulties in the world today, whether they be hardships of antiquity or new troubles, the Rosary Congress was presented as a unique opportunity to place all prayer intentions and the needs of the faithful into the loving arms of the Mother of God. Other Parishes which participated in the Travelling Rosary Congress were: St. John the Evangelist in Naples; St. Martha in Sarasota; Our Lady of the Angels in Lakewood Ranch; Christ the King in Sarasota; St. Elizabeth Seton in Naples; St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Parrish; and Epiphany Cathedral.
The Diocese of Venice has continued to foster its devotion to the Blessed Mother. Our Lady of Mercy is the Patroness of the Diocese. Under this patronage, the Diocese was formally consecrated to Our Lady during Advent of 2017. The fruits of this consecration have been tremendous as Our Lady offers her special care through her powerful intercession. With these past years dedicated to St. Joseph, beginning with the Diocese of Venice’s Year of St. Joseph (March 19, 2020), and now in the Universal Church’s year dedicated to St. Joseph (Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021), the Rosary Congress was timed to set the Holy Family as an example for all families.
The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary directly commemorates the 1571 naval Battle of Lepanto. The Holy League (a naval coalition of European Catholic maritime states) defeated the vastly superior Ottoman navy in the Gulf of Patras near modern day Greece, overcoming tremendous odds after Pope Pius V called upon all Catholics to pray the rosary for victory. This victory successfully halted the spread of the Ottoman Empire into Rome and beyond. The Feast Day is also referred to as Our Lady of Victory.
As October is dedicated to Our Lady, and Oct. 7 is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, Diocesan Catholics schools have taken the opportunity to help instill a great appreciation for praying the rosary at all grade levels.
For example, the third graders at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral celebrated Rosary Day on Oct. 7. Students had fun creating and praying the Rosary. Students also played games and participated in a variety of rosary activities, including forming a living rosary where each students had a part.
Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria in Ave Maria held an Our Lady of Rosary Procession from the school to the Parish Church about a ½ mile away. The high school boys carried an Our Lady of Rosary statue while the high school girls led the praying of the rosary along the way. Everybody processed reverently, praying together. Once at the church, Our Lady was placed in front of the pulpit, everyone participated in Mass.
At Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary is cause for celebration, as Our Lady is Patroness of Guatemala. A Mass was celebrated on Oct. 7 and a parish-wide celebration took place on Oct. 10 with a large procession through the Parish parking lot leading into Mass. The Mass was followed by festivities outside with food and music celebrating the Guatemalan culture all in honor of Our Lady.