Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Feast: Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is a lovely feast -- Our Lady of the Rosary commemorates the amazing victory of the European troops (led by Austrian Don Juan) against the Turks at Lepanto. This was the battle that GKChesterton immortalized in his poem, Lepanto (which we read today to give the kids the flavor of the battle).

[here's Bam-bam's version of the "ships" -- they then got out all their stuffed animals (I mean, Turks) and proceeded to fire on them!]

Here's an article from EWTN that explains the origins of the feast:
[this painting, by an unknown artist, shows the port of Lepanto during the battle]

On October 7, 1571, a great victory over the mighty Turkish fleet was won by Catholic naval forces primarily from Spain, Venice, and Genoa under thecommand of Don Juan of Austria. It was the last battle at sea between "oared" ships, which featured the most powerful navy in the world, a Moslem force with between 12,000 to 15,000 Christian slaves as rowers. The patchwork team of Catholic ships was powered by the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct material disadvantage,the holy pontiff, St. Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory. We know today that the victory was decisive, prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe, and evidenced the Hand of God working through Our Lady. At the hour of victory, St. Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and exclaimed with supernatural radiance: "The Christian fleet is victorious!" and shed tears of thanksgiving to God.

At Lepanto, the Victory over the Moslems was won by the faithful praying the Rosary. Even though they had superior numbers, the Turks really were overmatched. St. Padre Pio,said: "The Rosary is the weapon," and how right he was!

The Battle of Lepanto was at first celebrated liturgically as "Our Lady of Victory." Later, the feast of October 7th was renamed "Our Lady of the Rosary" and extended throughout the Universal Church by Pope Clement XI in 1716 (who canonized Pope Pius V in 1712).

Here's what we did today to help remember this lovely feast:
Coloring page from our ever-resourceful Waltzing Matilda ...and "shrinky dink" plaque for the Marian feast.
We then put together a "Rosary Book". I bought "rosary cards" from Magnificat last May (but with moving, etc, never used them) and ...

we pasted those on card-stock. Here is the card for 5th Luminous mystery, the Institution of the Eucharist. Each set of mysteries is separated with a "summary" sheet so we know which mysteries on which days! All the cards are put in order in sheet protectors and the final page of our book is this quote from Servant of God, John Paul the Great:

… it becomes natural to bring to this encounter with the sacred humanity of
the Redeemer all the problems, anxieties, labors and endeavors which go to make
up our lives. “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Ps 55:23).
To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ
and his Mother. … I feel the need to say once more, as a warm invitation to
everyone to experience it personally: the Rosary does indeed “mark the rhythm of
human life”, bringing it into harmony with the “rhythm” of God's own life, in
the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest
longing. (
paragraph 25, Rosarium Virginis Mariae)

And for dinner ... well, since Don John of Austria is the main man behind the Battle of Lepanto, we opted for an Austrian feast -- sausages, potatoes with apples and beer (add a salad and you got a great meal!). Since dh's birthday is tomorrow, we didn't make any sloppy-gloppy dessert as those will come over the next days (dh really likes to celebrate his birthday with food!).

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