Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

January 5: Saint John Neumann

Posted by Jacob

“Since every man of whatever race is endowed with the dignity of a person, he has an inalienable right to an education corresponding to his proper destiny and suited to his native talents, his cultural background, and his ancestral heritage. At the same time, this education should pave the way to brotherly association with other peoples, so that genuine unity and peace on earth may be promoted. For a true education aims at the formation of the human person with respect to the good of those societies of which, as a man, he is a member, and in whose responsibilities, as an adult, he will share.”

Today, January 5, we celebrate the feast of Saint John Nepomucene Neumann (1811-1860), the first American male saint. Yesterday, we celebrated the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), regarded as the first American-born Catholic saint. While not born in America, Saint John’s work as the fourth bishop of Philadelphia, as well as his role in the creation of the American parochial school system—again like Saint Elizabeth—earned him the glorious title of saint!

John was born in Bohemia to German and Czech parents who owned a factory. John excelled at school, noted for being small and quiet. From an early time, he felt drawn to the religious life, and when he reached age, was accepted as a seminarian at Budweis, Bohemia. He further studied astronomy and botony, as well as theology at Charles Ferdinand University in Prague.

Upon completion of his studies, John was prepared for ordination. However, at that time, the local bishop imposed a moratorium on ordinations, given that there were too many priests in Bohemia! Not one to give up, John contacted priests across Europe, only to be met with the same response. Having learned English from the factory-workers in his father’s factory, John subsequently wrote letters to American bishops, and finally received permission from a bishop in New York. Committed to the call of the Lord, John left his homeland and family, and traveled to America.

In New York, John discovered that the over-abundance of priests that Europe was experiencing was not the case in America. John found himself as one of 36 priests ministering to 20,000 Catholics. His parish stretched from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania, and he spent the majority of his time traveling from town to town, village to village, ministering to the sick, celebrating Mass in family homes, and taking lodging wherever he could find it.

The years of John’s isolation and traveling made him long for a more established community, and he eventually joined the Redemptorists, a congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to working with the poor and forgotten. Through his tireless work, he was appointed the bishop of Philadelphia at the age of 41. As bishop, he organized a system of diocesan parochial schools, increasing the number of Catholic schools in Philadelphia from two to over 100.

Bishop John was graced with the ability to easily learn languages, and during his tenure as bishop, was able to learn six languages—hearing confessions in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch. When Irish immigration started, he learned Gaelic so well that one Irish woman remarked, "Isn't it grand that we have an Irish bishop!"

Despite his achievements, Saint John remained humble and simple, preferring to give any financial compensation or privileges to the poor and needy, rather than keep them for himself. As bishop, he was famously carted to local, rural parishes in a manure wagon. On one further trip, during which he was soaked in the rain, his host suggested he change his shoes. With a smile, this humble man remarked, "The only way I could change my shoes is by putting the left one on the right foot and the right one on the left foot. This is the only pair I own."

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann died on January 5, 1860 at the age of 48. Prior to his death he wrote countless newspaper articles, two catechisms, and many Catholic works in varied languages (some reports indicate he spoke 12 languages fluently prior to his death!) Saint John was the first saint canonized from the Americas!

Saint John’s life is one of struggle and disappointment, yet one of dedication to the call of the Lord and perseverance in meeting that call. His humility and service remains inspirational to us today as we face struggles and work to discern the Lord’s plan in our lives!

Selected Quotations of Saint John Neumann:
”My God, how great Thou art, how wonderful in all Thy works! Teach me Thy will that I may begin and end all my actions for Thy greater glory.

Speak to me, 0 my God, let me know Thy will, for behold I am ready to fulfill Thy every command. The difficult, the irksome, I will patiently endure for love of Thee.

0 my God, I thank Thee for the love Thou hast planted in my heart. I will cultivate this precious flower. I will guard it night and day that nothing may injure it. Do Thou, 0 Lord, water it with the dew of Thy grace.”

“Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, . . . for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.”

"A man must always be ready, for death comes when and where God wills it."

Merciful Father, You have given me all that I have in this world, even life itself. In all my daily needs, help me to remember the needs of others too. Make me aware of the need to pray to You not just for myself but for the Church, the Pope, for the clergy and for people who suffer any need. Make me as selfless as Saint John Neumann. Throughout my life, give me the grace to direct my first thoughts to the service of You and of others. Make my prayer - “Your will be done” knowing that in Your mercy and love, Your will for me is my sanctification. I ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Looking Back: Last year’s brief post on Saint John Neumann

Year 2: Day 5 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Perseverance and Dedication to the Lord
Requested Intentions: Healing of son, cousin, and friend (L); Healing of a husband from cancer, end to medical problems (T); Freedom from persecution (E); Successful employment (R); Reconciliation of a marriage (M); Successful marriage, employment, healing (J); For a family struggling with a difficult situation (M); For family intentions (I); Reconciliation of a marriage (S); For blessings upon a family (R); Permanent employment (N); Successful employment (M); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


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