My dear one, I welcome you into the month of October 2020. We have the opportunity to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I will journey with you throughout this month. On this first day, I want us to look at the reason why October is associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In October 1571, the Church in Europe faced a seemingly hopeless challenge. The Muslim Turks had already conquered the Middle East, slaughtering millions and forcing the survivors to convert to Islam. They then moved across the Mediterranean Sea, taking the crucial islands of Crete and Cyprus. From these islands, they set their sights on the Christian kingdoms of the central Mediterranean, threatening Sicily, Venice, and even Rome herself.
During that time, Pope Pius V called on the Christian princes of Europe to rally to defeat the Islamic threat. Additionally, he called on rosary confraternities in Rome and all over Europe to undertake special processions and public recitation of the Rosary, asking the intercession of the Blessed Mother. What ensued was the famous Battle of Lepanto. The Christian fleet was far outnumbered and appeared to have no human hope of winning. On the first Sunday of October 1571, the Christian fleet met the invading Muslims off the coast of Greece in the Gulf of Lepanto.
As Christians all over Europe prayed for Our Lady’s intercession, the Turks surrounded the Christian ships. But the European fleet broke through. By days’ end, almost all of the Turks were driven to shore or drowned. Europe then was saved. It was out of that Pope Pius established a yearly commemoration to honor Our Lady of Victory, and his successor, Gregory XIII, decreed that the first Sunday in October would be the feast of the Holy Rosary.
In summary, the decision of the Catholic Church to designate October as the month of the Rosary apparently stems from the Church’s desire to extend her thanksgiving to Our Lady for the victory in the Battle of Lepanto from one Sunday to a whole month.
My dear one, we are also on the battle field of life. There is the need for us to seek the intercession of our Mother Mary as we journey through. I humbly invite to take this year’s holy rosary devotion very serious. If you have any special intention that you want me to pray with and for you, kindly alert me. I wish you a fruitful rosary month journey.
May Mary through whose cooperation our redemption come always and everywhere intercede for us!
Source: Rev. Fr. Wisdom-Bakhita Y.D. Anane
(A Catholic Priest of Keta-Akatsi Diocese)