Newsletter 4
The Rosary



1.         The month of the Holy Rosary

·         The tradition in the Church is that St. Dominic (1170-1221) introduced the practice of saying the Rosary as an antidote to heresy that was circulating at the time.   The Feast of the Holy Rosary is on 7th October.  This was established in 1573 by St. Pius V.  The practice of saying the Rosary has been followed in the Church ever since.   Most of the events commemorated in the Mysteries of the Rosary can be found in the Bible, so to pray the Rosary is an effective way of meditating on the Scriptures. 

·         September 30, 2001, saw the opening of the Synod of Bishops when Pope John Paul II asked people to pray the Rosary.  This is what he said:


"October is the month in which Mary Most Holy, Queen of the Holy Rosary, is venerated. Within the current international context, I invite all -- individuals, families, communities -- to pray this Marian prayer, possibly every day, for peace, so that the world can be preserved from the wicked scourge of terrorism.

"The terrible tragedy of September 11th will be remembered as a dark day in the history of humanity. In the face of this, the Church tries to be faithful to her prophetic charism and remind all men about their duty to build a future of peace for the human family. Certainly, peace is not separated from justice, but it must be nourished by mercy and love.


"We cannot forget that Jews, Christians and Muslims adore God as the only God. The three religions, therefore, have the vocation of unity and peace. May God allow the Church's faithful to be agents of peace, in the front line of the search for justice and the prohibition of violence.

"May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, intercede for all humanity, so that hate and death never have the last word!"


·         On October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II issued his Apostolic Letter entitled Rosarium Virginis Mariae.    He declared that the following year would be Year of the Rosary, and added the Mysteries of Light, focussing on events of Christ's ministry.

·         May I draw your attention to the notes on this website for Session 10 on The Blessed Virgin Mary and Prayer.  There are quite comprehensive notes on how to say the Rosary included in this section.



2.         Relics: a balanced view!

This is a topic which may worry some people especially as it may seem to be associated with superstition.  During the Middle Ages, there were scandals associated with relics.  For example, some people sold pieces of wood claiming that they were part of the true cross.  It is quite possible that after the Crucifixion, parts of the Cross may have been kept by some of the followers of Jesus but no doubt, not all on the ‘open market’ would have been.  Other relics claimed to be parts of the body of a Saint or something that had touched the body. 


A certain amount of superstition grew up around these relics but the Church has always spoken out against any form of superstition, especially regarding relics and categorically forbade the sale of them.  In recent years, the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux were taken to various Cathedrals in England.  Such visits have been welcomed by some but have caused concern among others.  The veneration of relics is still a valid practice in the Church but we must remember that the idea behind such a practice is to remind us of the holiness of the saint and how by her example she can bring us closer to Jesus Christ whose Gospel she tried to follow.  It must be said that those who have visited St. Therese’s relics, seem to have had a renewal of their faith, some after not practising the Catholic religion for many years. Therese joined the Carmelite Order when just fifteen and longed to be a missionary but ill health prevented her from doing this.  In fact she led quite an uneventful life, by secular standards but always kept Jesus close to her heart and aimed to be perfect when doing just the little things in life.  The Church has declared her to be The Patroness of the Missions and a Doctor of the Church.