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Holy Rosary

What is the one religious article that immediately conveys that the user is a Catholic? I would say, “The holy rosary.” Growing up as a child before the Vatican Council, I viewed the recital of the rosary as a typically Catholic practice. All through my youth we said the rosary everyday. I will never forget my dad calling us for family prayer which always included five decades of the rosary. For two of those decades we had to be on our knees. My brothers would try to find an excuse to avoid family prayer but my dad would always make them kneel down.

The month of October is the month of the holy rosary. We celebrate the feast on October 7 in commemoration of the victory of the Christian armies of Europe in the Battle of Lepanto when they engaged the Turks in 1571. The practice of the rosary itself goes back a long time. It is generally believed that St Dominic gave the Church the devotion of the rosary as we know it. He was having a difficult time converting the Albigensians (who were heretics) and at one point prayed for three days and three nights asking for the Blessed Mother’s help. She appeared to him and asked him to pray “her Psalter.” As we all know, the Psalter contains 150 Psalms which are the biblical prayers. Even before St Dominic’s day it was customary for people, especially the uneducated, to say 150 Hail Mary’s.

Some people object that the rosary is repetitive. What they do not understand is that most of life is repetitive. The sun rises and sets the same way. The seasons follow one another in unfaltering rhythm. It is the possibility of repetition that makes life easier and manageable. Thank God we do not have to learn certain skills fresh every day. We walk the same way, we talk the same way and we even love the same way. Moreover, love calls for repetition. Ask a married couple in love how often they say “I love you” to each other on any given day. Probably several times. Even though they repeat the same phrase many times, each time it is unique. Repetition is part and parcel of life and love. Many monks – including non-Christians – have used repetition for centuries to lose themselves in prayer.

The rosary is a Christo-centric prayer because we are asked to meditate on the great mysteries of our Savior’s life and ministry as we say the Our Father’s and the Hail Mary’s. It is also a Marian prayer because it enables us to join the Archangel Gabriel in praising Mary and praying for her intercession. The rosary is a simple form of prayer. It does not take much effort. You can pray it anywhere, any time. You can pray it in your car, in your home or in church. It is a great family prayer that will encourage even the little ones to join in. When you are stuck in traffic, it is better to pray the rosary than to get upset with someone who gave you the “classic American greeting.” I find it particularly helpful to say the rosary when I am in bed. It always helps me fall asleep.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this great Catholic devotion. If you are not in the habit of saying the rosary, please start. Do teach your children to pray it. I encourage all families to recite the rosary as often as possible, especially during the month of October. When you are on a long road trip, it is a good practice to pray the rosary in the car. I wish the family rosary will become a cherished habit in all our parish families.

I would like to conclude with the words of Pope Paul VI who wrote a beautiful letter, Marialis Cultus, on devotion to Mary. In it he recommended the rosary as a worthy practice in these words: “Do not fail to put repeated emphasis on the recitation of the rosary. It is a prayer so pleasing to Our Lady and so often recommended… Your Rosary is like a ladder that you climb step by step, drawing you close to our Lady, which means finding Christ. It is a devotion which leads us to Christ through Mary.”

When we pray the rosary, we not only pray to Mary; we pray with her. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope. (#2679)

Please pray the rosary for the parish, for your families and for yourselves. May our Blessed Mother watch over each and every member of our parish!

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel