This year (2016) the Dominicans celebrate the 800th anniversary of their foundation. In 1216, St. Dominic Guzman received papal permission for his fledgling community of preachers. In 1214, St. Dominic received an apparition of the Blessed Virgin, in which she asked him, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” The answer revealed by Mary was the angelic psalter, which we call the rosary. This was to be Dominic’s tool to overcome the Albigensian heresy.
Since the time of Dominic and to this day, the sons and daughters of St. Dominic promote this Marian devotion in a variety of ways, including the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. In addition to the Dominicans, many priests and religious have promoted the rosary devotion, most popularly Servant of God Patrick Peyton. In the immediate years following the Second Vatican Council it seemed as if the rosary devotion waned in popularity, despite the attempts of Bl. Paul VI and Fr. Peyton.
The rosary experienced renewal in 2002-3, when John Paul II called for the Year of the Rosary, publishing Rosarium Virginis Mariae and adding an additional five decades to the rosary with the Luminous Mysteries. On the feast day of Our Lady of Victory, now Our Lady of the Rosary, it is an appropriate time to look at signs of how the rosary devotion is being renewed in 2016 with new projects you should know about (listed in alphabetical order).
All Souls to Heaven
The author of Gifts from Our Father: A Catholic Prayer Book for Kids and Light for the World: A Catholic Kid’s Guide to Advent and Christmas, now brings us a book for children on the rosary, All Souls to Heaven. This book is a sign of rosary renewal, because not only does it teach children about the rosary, at the same time it teaches their parents. For several decades, as already mentioned the rosary fell out of favor among the laity, and many people never were taught about the rosary or even how to say it. With fun illustrations and simple explanations, this book will help all souls realize that the rosary is more than just Our Fathers and Hail Marys, but that it is a timeless treasure. Tom Wall believes “If we can introduce and teach this powerful prayer to future generations of Catholics, the future of our Church will benefit from the graces received through meditation on the mysteries and the intercession of our Blessed Mother.” All Souls to Heaven is a rosary project which will renew devotion in our families, the domestic church.
A Rosary Litany
I hate to include my own devotional, but A Rosary Litany has received favorable responses from those who use it. Many report they have greater focus during the mysteries and pray the rosary with greater frequency. A Rosary Litany seeks to renew a pious custom of praying the rosary recommended by St. Louis de Montfort and promoted by Bl. Paul VI and St. John Paul II in their Marian writings (Marialis Cultus and Rosarium Virginis Mariae, respectively). In The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort proposed the insertion of a simple meditative clause after the name of Jesus in the Hail Mary, thereby focusing one’s meditation. For example, the five Joyful Mysteries would be: thy womb Jesus, incarnate; thy womb Jesus, sanctifying; thy womb Jesus, born in poverty; thy womb Jesus, sacrificed; thy womb Jesus, saint among the saints. While St. Louis de Montfort recommended only one phrase, I developed the devotion to include each bead of the rosary, making it similar to, yet different from the scriptural rosary, since the clauses are inserted within the prayer itself. If your recitation of the rosary has become rote and unfruitful, consider trying this method and acquire a copy of A Rosary Litany.
Champions of the Rosary
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, known for his conversion to the faith, recounted in his memoir, No Turning Back: Witness to Mercy, brings us one of the most authoritative historical works on the rosary in his latest release Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon. Fr. Calloway seeks to defend the position that St. Dominic received the rosary, a position that some scholars call into question. This comprehensive work has received high ranking endorsements from the Catholic hierarchy and Dominican order. Readers will discover the rosary as a spiritual weapon capable of overcoming the world, self, and the evil one; the many accounts of victories the rosary gained in the last 800 years; the indulgences attached to the rosary; and twenty-six vignettes of the greatest heroes and promoters of the rosary devotion. This book will spark a historical and spiritual renewal of the rosary for our day and age. Read the book, and prepare yourself for battle.
Power in My Hands
For years The Rosary Evangelization Apostolate based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has sought to promote devotion to Mother of God, especially through the rosary. In a time of spiritual crisis which envelopes humanity, the organization’s belief is we need the rosary to address our world-wide crisis. The apostolate hopes to release their 78 minute film, Power in My Hands in 2017 as a way to spark spiritual transformation. Through real-life witness stories, historical perspective of the rosary, and insights on approved apparitions, this film will share with viewers the beauty of this devotion in a positive, hopeful, passionate, and creative will and feature well known Catholic personalities. In the era of the New Evangelization, the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate will renew the rosary devotion among a media-savvy culture. Keep a look out for its release in 2017.
This year and next will be an exciting time for devotion to the rosary, especially as we come to the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima. Many rosary projects are renewing this devotion in our day and age, among people of all ages–children and adults, and in many ways, through books, devotionals, and media. Share the rosary with the little ones in your life, enhance your own devotion, study the history of the rosary, and share the power that is in your hands. If we do these things, devotion to Mary in this way can only become stronger.