April 28th, Feast of St. Louis de Montfort
May is Mary’s month, a time to consecrate our hearts and our homes to the most august Virgin. And, of all the ways a family may be devoted to our Blessed Lord and his Holy Mother (at least in the West), the Most Holy Rosary enjoys a certain pride of place. How precious the Rosary is to Christian families! And yet, how often it is neglected!
I propose that, during the month of May, we join together in a campaign for the family Rosary. To promote the family Rosary, we would do well to begin with a month of prayer. I suggest that, through a joint spiritual effort, we offer prayers every day during May for the renewal of the family Rosary and in preparation for an active Family Rosary Campaign in which we would engage during the month of October (the Month of the Rosary).
If you have a blog, or a facebook page or twitter account, please consider promoting this Family Rosary Campaign!
Join us on facebook! [here]
A two tiered approach
To state it clearly: I am proposing that we make two “campaigns”, one in May and one in October.
The May campaign is meant more as a “prayer campaign”. A campaign of the interior life in which we beseech the good Lord through his Mother to prepare our families and also new families for the family Rosary. This is a time of prayer more than of action.
There will then be a second push in October with a “promotional campaign” for the family Rosary. All the prayers from May (and, of course, in the intervening months) will be directed toward the success of this exterior campaign in October. During this month, we will use concrete means to promote the family Rosary in our home, our parish, and our community.
The specifics of the May Campaign
This “May Campaign for the Family Rosary” is conceived as a period of prayer in preparation for a Family Rosary Campaign in October (the month of the Rosary).
My purpose in starting this period of prayer is twofold: First, to re-invigorate our own love for our Lady and the family Rosary; second, to ask for a special outpouring of grace in October so that we can more effectively bring new families to the practice of the daily Rosary.
These are the specifics of what I would like us to join together to do during the month of May:
1) Pray at least five decades of the Rosary every day (especially as a family)
2) Add some other form of daily Marian devotion such as
a) The “Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (see below for how to pray this)
c) Another portion of the Rosary
d) A “novena” of Memorare prayers (i.e. the Memorare said nine times) [here]
e) some other Marian prayer, like the Magnificat [here]
3) Offer these prayers with a special intention for a new outpouring of grace now and in the month of October, for a new triumph of the Rosary in homes and families throughout the world.
4) Each time we receive Communion during this month, offer the Sacred Presence of our Savior to his Most Blessed Mother dwelling in our soul, with the desire that all families may be brought closer to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
As an option, for the intention of this Rosary Campaign, some of us might consider offering up some form of fasting or mortification on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the month of May.
Further, some other regular acts of devotion – an alms, a votive candle, a corporal or spiritual work of mercy, etc. – offered throughout May for the success of the Family Rosary Campaign would be most profitable unto the salvation of souls.
Whatever we do, let us do “everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary, in order to do it more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus.” (True Devotion, n. 257)
|The Family Rosary|
What the October Campaign for the Family Rosary might look like
After a month of prayer, and surely continued prayer in the intervening months as well, we would then begin another Family Rosary Campaign for the month of October.
This would be the more outward and external aspect of the promotion of the family Rosary. Since October is the month of the Rosary, we could all find various ways of promoting the Rosary (and especially the family Rosary) in our homes, parishes, and communities.
What might this look like in practice? (below are some general ideas)
1) During October, provide a weekly (or even daily) family Rosary at the parish – perhaps in the evening, so that families could come.
2) During October, invite two or three other families (who maybe do not often pray the family Rosary) to join our family once a week for an “inter-family” Rosary. This can be a great way of witnessing to others and of encouraging them in the practice.
2) Pass out pamphlets on the family Rosary after Sunday Masses during October and in the weeks leading up to the month of the Rosary (I will happily provide links through this website as October gets closer)
3) Promote the family Rosary through the local Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, Council of Catholic Women, etc.
4) Join with others at the parish to purchase rosaries to give away after Masses (before and during October), with the special request that families pray at least some portion of the Rosary together every day.
5) Purchase and distribute St. Louis de Montfort’s classic Marian works, like: “The Secret of the Rosary” or “The Secret of Mary”. Give them away for free, if people will agree to pray some portion of the Rosary every day of October (especially as a family).
[clearly, anything at the parish would have to be approved first by the parish priest]
There are innumerable other ways of promoting the family Rosary: Speaking with our own relatives and friends, coming together as families to pray the Rosary before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, promoting the plenary indulgence attached to the family Rosary, etc.
My hope is that, through the four months between May and October, we can together consider new ways of promoting the family Rosary. There is no limit to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!
But how will all these efforts in October be successful without a period of preparatory prayer? And what better time to ask our Lady’s assistance in this great endeavor than during her month of May?
|St. Maria Goretti's family prayed the Rosary daily|
Why May and October?
Obviously, we all recognize that May is the month of Mary and that October is the month of the Rosary, but we still must admit that having a two-part Rosary Campaign with four months in between is not ideal.
There will clearly be challenges to keeping the focus from the intense period of prayer in May to the intense missionary activity in October. Will we not lose the focus and the excitement through the months of June, July, August, and September?
Perhaps we can counter-act this tendency by consecrating the Saturdays of these four in-between months to Mary under the title of “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary” and “Queen of Peace”.
Especially on the first Saturdays of these months, we can make special acts of devotion for our Blessed Mother, petitioning her to grant the grace of the family Rosary to all those families who do yet partake in this devotion.
Bl. John Paul II and the call to the family Rosary
Blessed John Paul II once stated, “The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation.” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 5)
In this same Apostolic Letter, the Venerable Pontiff called for a renewal of the family Rosary in particular: “As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. […] We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families, including the Rosary. […] The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. […] The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth.” (n. 41)
|St. Louis Marie, Apostle of the Rosary|
The “Little Crown” of the Blessed Virgin
St. Louis Marie de Montfort, called “the apostle of the Rosary”, also encouraged people to pray the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin. This is a short prayer made up of three Our Fathers and twelve Hail Marys. The prayer is said in honor of all the privileges of grace and of glory given our Lady, which are symbolized by the triple crown of twelve stars which she received from the three Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity (cf. Revelation 12:1).
The simplest form of the “Little Crown” is as follows:
1) The Our Father one time, followed by the Hail Mary four times.
2) Repeat this three times.
3) It is also customary to add the Glory be after each set of four Hail Marys.
[many will also begin with the Apostles’ Creed and finish with the Sub tuum praesidium (here)]
There are methods of praying the “Little Crown” with devotion – next week, I will go through some of these.
St. Louis de Montfort wanted us to pray Mary’s “Little Crown” every day. Here is what he had to say about this precious prayer (True Devotion, nn. 234 and 235):
“If it is not too inconvenient, they should recite every day of their lives the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin. […] This prayer is very old and is based on Holy Scripture. St. John saw in a vision a woman crowned with twelve stars, clothed with the sun and standing upon the moon. According to biblical commentators, this woman is the Blessed Virgin.
“There are several ways of saying the Little Crown but it would take too long to explain them here. The Holy Spirit will teach them to those who live this devotion conscientiously.”
Through the patronage of the Mother of God and of St. Louis de Montfort
Let us consecrate this campaign for the family Rosary to the good Jesus through his most holy Mother, under the patronage of their faithful slave, St. Louis Marie de Montfort.
Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Pray for us!
St. Louis Marie de Montfort, Pray for us!