October is known as the “Month of the Most Holy Rosary”. The Rosary is also called the “Psalter of Mary” because as we recite the 150 Hail Marys in the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary we are mindful of the 150 Psalms in the Book of Psalms. It is a summary of the Gospels as it recalls the lives of Jesus and Mary as we meditate on each mystery.
In 1114 the Rosary was given by Our Lady to St. Dominic as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians from their false beliefs. In October 1571 at the naval Battle of Lepanto the Christian soldiers were victorious over the Turks due to the power of praying the Rosary. At the time Pope Pius V asked all of Europe to pray the Rosary as the Turks, with their great naval fleets and bigger armies, were advancing into Mediterranean waters and the odds were against the Christians. Due to the powerful intercession of Our Lady the Pope gave her the title “Our Lady of Victories”. Later his successor Pope Gregory XIII changed that title to “Our Lady of the Rosary”, whose feast day is on October 7th.
St Louis Marie De Montfort, in his book “The Secret of the Rosary”, said that he attributed much of his many successes during life to the power of the Rosary. During the month of October, Mission Sunday is celebrated. On that day we are reminded of our many Irish Missionaries who have served abroad and endured much hardship in preaching the Gospel, building up and bringing hope to the less fortunate. The “Far East” magazine of May 1988 gives an account of Columban priest Fr. Patrick Ronan, who spent 16 months in solitary confinement in a Chinese prison. In this devastating ordeal his devotion to Our Lady helped him. The Rosary beads which he made himself from bread proved invaluable. He soaked the bread in water, moulded the beads and left them to dry. He then strung them together with threads taken from his socks. The Crucifix was carved from a piece of leather off his shoe. In spite of many searches made round his cell the Rosary beads were never discovered.
The two churches in our parish are dedicated to Our Lady. Boherlahan Church, dedicated to The Immaculate Conception, depicts on the entrance the Apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in 1858 in Lourdes. Our Lady appeared to her 18 times and requested her to ask her priest to build a church in Her honour. The priest on hearing this requested Bernadette to ask the Lady to give Her name. When he heard the reply “I am the Immaculate Conception” he knew that Bernadette, an uneducated girl, was telling the truth as the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed four years before that in 1854. The Church was built and since then Lourdes has become a great place of pilgrimage and very much associated with praying for the sick.
Dualla Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. In 1917 Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children, Lucy, Jacinta and Francesco. On each of her six visits to them she asked for the recitation of the Rosary. The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima holds their mortal remains.
During the Penal Laws it was the Rosary which kept the Irish people strong in Faith when the Mass was only available in secret at Mass Rocks and by priests on the run.
Archbishop Eamon Martin has requested families to pray the Rosary or even a decade together during the month of October.
During these unprecedented and challenging times experienced today throughout the world the praying of the Rosary and devotion to Mary can be a source of help to so many affected by this present pandemic.