by Jayson M. Brunelle
With Labor Day upon us, the “unofficial” end of summer and the beginning of the truly beautiful season of autumn, Holy Mother Church, in her liturgical calender, presents us with two consecutive months dedicated to Our Lady: September – the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows, and October – the Month of the Most Holy Rosary. Moreover, within these two months are numerous magnificent feasts of our Lord, our Lady, and many very popular, patron saints to keep in mind. For instance, in September we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 8th, the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the 14th, Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th, St. Robert Bellarmine (Doctor of the Church) on the 17th, St. Joseph of Cupertino on the 18th, St. Matthew on the 21st, Padre Pio on the 23rd, St. Vincent de Paul on the 27th, and the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael on the 29th. Additionally, in October, we begin the month with a number of significant feasts and commemorations: The Little Flower – St. Therese of Lisieux on the 1st, the Holy Guardian Angels on the 2nd, the great St. Francis of Assisi on the 4th, and the great St. Faustina Kowalska (Secretary of Divine Mercy) on the 5th.
This brings us to the great feast to which this series of articles is devoted; namely, the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, formerly, Our Lady of Victory, celebrated on October 7th. Wikipedia, the very reputable online encyclopedia, quite possibly among the largest of information databases in the world, provides a very succinct history of the evolution of this particular feast: “In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted “Our Lady of Victory” as an annual feast to commemorate the victory in the Battle of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a rosary procession had been offered on that day in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XI to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays” (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_the_Rosary). Continue reading