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Our patronal feast

From my youthful years this prayer has held an important place in my spiritual life. … The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort. Twenty-four years ago … scarcely two weeks after my election to the See of Peter, I frankly admitted: “The Rosary is my favourite prayer. A marvellous prayer! Marvellous in its simplicity and its depth ….” — Pope St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae

"Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario" by Damián Domingo (1790 -1832)Today is the patronal feast of the Diocese of Duluth, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, from which our Cathedral gets its name. The liturgical feast was originally called “Our Lady of Victory,” and it was established by Pope St. Pius V in honor of a victory by the Christian naval fleet at Lepanto, which was attributed to the faithful praying the rosary.

How to pray with this feast? Here’s what the Liturgy of the Hours advises: “The celebration of this day invites all to meditate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God.”

In particular, today is a wonderful day to pray the rosary. St. John Paul II, in that same 2002 letter, noted that the rosary is a “compendium of the Gospel,” a path to contemplation, and a training in holiness as we gaze upon Jesus through the eyes of Mary.

He also noted that it is a privileged prayer for the intentions of peace and the family — two intentions that have lost none of their force in the succeeding 13 years. He writes:

A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another critical contemporary issue: the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

— Kyle Eller