As fall descends on the Northern Hemisphere, the Catholic liturgical year draws to a close. In the traditional calendar, many of the feasts between mid-September and the First Sunday in Advent make reference to conflicts between Christianity and Islam, and great victories in battles in which the Church--and, more broadly, Christendom--was threatened. The memory of these events turns our thoughts to the end times, when the Church will undergo trials and tribulations before the return of Christ the King.
It may not be obvious how dedicating the month of October to the Holy Rosary fits into this pattern. But the rosary--and, more specifically, Our Lady of the Rosary--is credited with victory in a number of the battles that those feasts celebrate. Chief among these is the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571), in which a Christian fleet defeated a superior Ottoman Muslim fleet and stopped the westward expansion of Islam in the Mediterranean.
In honor of the victory, Pope Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, which is still celebrated today as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7). And, in 1883, when Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the month of October to the Holy Rosary, he made reference to the battle and the feast.
The best way to celebrate the Month of the Holy Rosary is, of course, to pray the rosary daily; but we can also add other prayers to our daily prayers this month, especially those that encourage the daily recitation of the rosary.
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!
(A statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Italy. Photo © Scott P. Richert)
More on October, the Month of the Holy Rosary:
- Prayers for October: The Month of the Holy Rosary
- How to Pray the Rosary
- Rosary Prayers
- Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary
- Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
- Meditations on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary
- For the Crusade of the Family Rosary
- The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
- Prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary
- Ottoman-Habsburg Wars: Battle of Lepanto, by Kennedy Hickman, About.com Guide to Military History