October: A Month of Devotion to the Holy Rosary

October 17, 2023

October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. This month commemorates the Victory at Lepanto, a pivotal event for the Church and a significant moment in the history of the Rosary.

The History of the Holy Rosary

The Holy Rosary has ancient origins. The idea of using beads in prayer was practiced by the earliest Christian monks who used beads while they recited the Psalms. The beads provided
structure and focus to their prayer life.

The Rosary as we know it today is often attributed to Saint Dominic, a 13th-century Dominican friar. Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary herself appeared to him and gave the Rosary as a
spiritual weapon to combat heresy and to promote unity and peace. Saint Dominic embraced this practice and spread its devotion throughout the Catholic world.

In the earliest form of the Rosary consisted of 150 Hail Marys which corresponded to the 150 Psalms. In the early Church (and through today) monks and consecrated religious pray the
Psalms daily. But many lay people were unable to read and so the Rosary was a way for them to adapt the monastic practice of daily and meditative prayer to their daily lives.

Over time the Rosary evolved into the form with which we are familiar today. Rosary beads are divided into sets of ten, each representing one Hail Mary. Each decade is preceded by an Our
Father then followed by a Glory Be and the Jesus Prayer.

Each decade also focused on a particular event in the lives of Jesus and Mary, known as the mysteries. There are four groups of mysteries: The Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries,
the Glorious Mysteries and the Luminous Mysteries.

The Feast of the Rosary

Lady of the Rosary, or the Feast of the Rosary, commemorates the Battle of Lepanto; a pivotal conflict between the Holy Catholic Church and the encroaching armies of the Muslim caliphate.
The battle took place on October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Patras, near Greece. The Christian fleet, led by Don John of Austria, was substantially outnumbered by the formidable Ottoman navy.
Pope Pius V called all Christians to unite in praying the Holy Rosary for a victory.

Miraculously, the Christian fleet beat overwhelming odds and scored a decisive victory against the Ottoman armada. Pope Pius V attributed this triumph to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. He initially celebrated the Feast of the Rosary on the First Sunday in October. But in 1913 Pope Pius X changed the date to October 7th which is the anniversary of the Battle of

October: A Month of Devotion

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