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."

All Hallows' Eve

Posted by Jacob

October 31st, in popular culture, is Halloween—a secular holiday of dressing up as someone you’re not, trick-or-treating, an in the worst cases, mayhem and troublemaking. Of course, for Catholics, Halloween is really the vigil of the Solemnity of All Saints, or All Hallows’ Eve (from the British “hallowed,” indicating holiness… and who is more holy than the saints and martyrs?)

In understanding the Catholic history of All Hallows’ Eve, it is necessary to know that it was not an over-write of a pagan holiday. We read in the Martyrology of the Extraordinary Form for November 1:

The Festival of All the Saints, which Pope Boniface IV instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of the holy martyrs, after he had dedicated the temple called the Pantheon on May 13, and ordered to be celebrated annually in the City of Rome. But Gregory IV decreed later that the same festival, which was already celebrated in different ways in various Churches, should be solemnly observed on this day in the Universal Church for ever in honor of all the saints.

Of course, Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. We are reminded over the course of the next three days—Halloween (October 31), the feast of All Saints (November 1) and the feast of All Souls (November 2)—of the interrelatedness of the Church on earth with the saints in Heaven. That is, we are in constant communion with the saints in the following manner: The Church Militant (those of us on earth, striving to get to heaven) pray for the Church Suffering (those souls in Purgatory) and rejoice and honor the Church Triumphant (the saints, canonized and uncanonized) in heaven. During this octave, and continuing throughout the month of November, we ask the Saints to intercede for us, and for the souls in Purgatory.

All Hallows’ Eve is the preparation and combination of the two upcoming feasts of All Saints and All Souls. While we should not dwell on the mainstream macabre and fear that Halloween promotes, we are called to consider our impending death as well as those who have gone before us and remain in Purgatory. In this contemplation, we turn to the model of the saints—those that reside in heaven and intercede on our behalf. What do their lives teach us? What actions led them to their heavenly repose? How can we emulate their lives to the benefit of not only our souls, but the souls of the departed.

Have a safe and blessed All Hallows’ Eve!


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