By Ted Huerena
Opening a series of yearly encyclicals on the Holy Rosary in 1883, Pope Leo XIII exhorted Catholics worldwide through their Shepherds, the bishops, as to the importance of this devotion. In Supremi Apostolatus Officio, the venerable Pontiff states:
This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven, has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy spread abroad, or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies.
How applicable are these words today after witnessing over 3,500 Public Square Rosaries prayed in the United States on October 11, 2008, promoted by the TFP’s America Needs Fatima Campaign.
St. Louis de Montfort Academy participated in two of these rallies: one in front of the United States Supreme Court in the nation’s capital and the other in front of Pennsylvania’s State Capitol building.
It is not unusual for the Academy students to proclaim their Faith in public. Even during the Academy sponsored Youth Programs, participants travel to Harrisburg to protest and pray a Rosary in front of the Hillcrest abortion clinic.
Earlier this school year on September 6, students prayed in front of the Harsco Science Center in opposition to their “Bodies Revealed” exhibit. Holding signs such as “Respect for ALL Humans, Dead or Alive” and “Rosary of Reparation,” they expressed their sadness and disgust for the dishonor shown to the deceased.
It is not surprising, then, that on October 11, the students eagerly joined the America Needs Fatima Public Square Rosary campaign.
Not only on special occasions like these is the importance of the Rosary stressed to the students, but also in their daily life at the Academy. It is regularly prayed together on the school bus going to and from morning Mass as well as in the chapel before dinner.
Academy students are well aware that in history the Rosary has wrought many a victory for the Church against Her enemies. As Pope Leo XIII states in the encyclical cited above “[Besides Lepanto in the sixteenth century,] important successes in the last century were gained over the Turks at Temeswar, in Pannonia, and at Corfu; and in both cases these engagements coincided with feasts of the Blessed Virgin and with the conclusion of public devotions of the Rosary.”
Exhorting his fellow bishops, he later continues:
You have before your eyes, Venerable Brethren, the trials to which the Church is daily exposed; Christian piety, public morality, nay, even faith itself, the supreme good and beginning of all the other virtues, all are daily menaced with the greatest perils.
Nor are you only spectators of the difficulty of the situation, but your charity, like Ours, is keenly wounded; for it is one of the most painful and grievous sights to see so many souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ, snatched from salvation by the whirlwind of an age of error, precipitated into the abyss of eternal death. Our need of divine help is as great today as when the great Dominic introduced the use of the Rosary of Mary as a balm for the wounds of his contemporaries.
The Sovereign Pontiff appealed not only to the frequent recitation of the Rosary, but also that it be prayed publicly. To this end he was “pleased to open the heavenly treasure-house of the Church,” to grant generous indulgences for those who “shall have taken part in the public recital of the Rosary and the Litanies, and shall have prayed for Our [Holy Pontiff’s] intention.”
Taking this to heart, Academy students look forward to the Rosary Rallies planned to take place again this upcoming October, ready to proclaim their Faith publicly with the Holy Rosary, not as proud Pharisees but as humble publicans wishing that God’s name and that of his Blessed Mother be praised in every square in America.