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."

October 23: Saint John of Capistrano, the "Soldier Saint"

Posted by Jacob

Today, October 23, we celebrate the feast day of Saint John of Capistrano (1386-1456), “the Soldier Saint,” confessor, acclaimed preacher, miracle worker, and crusader. Saint John lived at a time of difficulty and despair across Europe, having just suffered the plague, currently embattled in several wars, and attacks from Muslim forces of the East. Similarly, the Church was embroiled in battles regarding the identity of the pope (as schisms had created three separate individuals identified as pope), and the Franciscan Order was similarly divided. Saint John was a man of hope and action. His deep Christian optimism and complete faith in the Lord drove him to attack problems at all levels with the confidence engendered by trust in Christ.

John was born at Capistrano in the Italian Province of the Abruzzi. His father, who died while John was quite young, had been a well-respected German knight. John received a thorough education, seen to by his mother. As a student, John excelled, leading to immediate career successes. He became a lawyer and was granted the position of governor of Perugia at the young age of 26. He fought corruption and bribery and became renowned for his high ethical standards and commitment to justice.

When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John tried to broker peace between the regions. Unfortunately, his efforts led only to his imprisonment. During his time in prison, while he had plenty of time for contemplation, John felt a deep spiritual stirring within in, vowing to change his life for the better upon his release. Shortly thereafter, following the death of his wife, he entered the order of Friars Minor, was ordained a priest, and began to lead a very penitential life.

John became a disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena and was immediately recognized for his sermons and ability to touch the hearts of those who listened to him. As an Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, Saint John preached to tens of thousands. He reportedly healed the sick by making the Sign of the Cross over them. He also wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day. His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion. Together with Saint Bernadine of Siena, Saint John spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Mary, Mother of God.

History tells us, “Saint John traversed the whole of Italy; and so great were the crowds who came to listen to him that he often had to preach in the public squares. At the time of his preaching all business stopped. At Brescia, on one occasion he preached to a crowd of one hundred and twenty-six thousand people, who had come from all the neighboring provinces. On another occasion during a mission over two thousand sick people were brought to him that he might sign them with the Sign of the Cross, so great was his fame as a healer of the sick.”

When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, Saint John was commissioned (at age 70) by Pope Callistus II to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Barefoot and dressed in his humble robe, Saint John visited the kings of Europe, uniting them and their armies against the invading forces. He led an army of 70,000 Christian soldiers to Belgrade, and when it appeared that they were outmatched by the Muslim army, he ran to the front lines. Holding his crucifix up high, this thin, small old man kept crying, "Victory, Jesus, victory!" Full of courage in Christ, the Christian army won an overwhelming victory and freeing the city from siege. Worn out by his age and efforts, Saint John succumbed to the infections present on the battlefield and died several months later. “An infinity of miracles” followed his death.

Saint John of Capistrano was a man of action, who gave up a successful and lucrative career and life to follow Christ. His commitment to the Word of God reminds us that the highest goal of this life is not worldly honors, but union with God in heaven. On his tomb in the Austrian town of Villach, the following message is inscribed: "This tomb holds John, by birth of Capistrano, a man worthy of all praise, defender and promoter of the faith, guardian of the Church, zealous protector of his Order, an ornament to all the world, lover of truth and religious justice, mirror of life, surest guide in doctrine; praised by countless tongues, he reigns blessed in heaven."

From the writings of Saint John of Capistrano:

“Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life. They must completely remove from their lives the filth and uncleanness of vice. Their upright lives must make them like the salt of the earth for themselves and for the rest of mankind. The brightness of their wisdom must make them like the light of the world that brings light to others. They must learn from their eminent teacher, Jesus Christ, what he declared not only to his apostles and disciples, but also to all the priests and clerics who were to succeed them, when he said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what is salt goes flat? How can you restore its flavor? Then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Jesus also said: “You are the light of the world.” Now a light does not illumine itself, but instead it diffuses its rays and shines all around upon everything that comes into its view. So it must be with the glowing lives of upright and holy clerics. By the brightness of their holiness they must bring light and serenity to all who gaze upon them. They have been placed here to care for others. Their own lives should be an example to others, showing how they must live in the house of the Lord.”

you raised up Saint John of Capistrano
to give your people comfort in their trials.
May your Church enjoy unending peace
and be secure in your protection.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Day 298 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage and faith in the Lord; For all those who serve in the armed forces
Requested Intentions: Successful immigration and employment (S); Conversion of an unloving daughter (M); Recovery of husband, health of mother, economic freedom (R); Freedom from depression, restoration of family relationships (N); Restoration of a relationship (J); Healing of friends from cancer (J); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Recognition of God’s Will; Obedience in vocation (J); Successful employment (M&I); For a son who struggles (S); Conversion (P); For family, peace, and social justice (J); Son’s employment (K); Discernment of the Lord’s will (A); Mother’s full recovery from a stroke (K); Employment (P); For family’s prosperity and employment (M); For a husband’s addiction (F); Health in a relationship, literary representation (D); For a mother struggling with cancer (P); Employment and financial assistance (L); End to work troubles, return to health (R); For a husband’s recovery from alcoholism (M); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).


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