Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where does the Rosary come from?

As the month of the Rosary comes to a close, here's a glimpse on the history of the Hail Mary and the Holy Rosary.

1213 AD. Our Lady appears to St. Dominic and giving him the Holy Rosary, instructs him on how to pray it.

We celebrate October as the month of Holy Rosary since the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary falls on October 7th. There is a triumphant, historic event behind this feast.

In the 16th Century, when the mighty Ottoman Muslims marched into Europe to capture the Christian countries into the empire, Pope Pius V exhorted all Christians to beg the intercession of the Blessed Virgin through praying the Rosary.

Through Mary’s intervention, on October 7, 1571 Christian forces defeated the naval power of the Ottoman Turks in a great sea battle at Lepanto. In thanksgiving to this great Marian intervention in the history of Christianity, in 1573 Pope Gregory XIII declared that day of victory as The Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

Where does the prayer Hail Mary come from?

“Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you” 
Words of God the Father announced by Angel Gabriel to Mary.
From Luke 1: 28

“Blessed are you among women and
blessed is the fruit of your womb”
Greeting of her cousin Elizabeth as Mary visits her.
From Luke 1: 42

“Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners”
Slogan from the triumphant demonstration in the streets by the people of Ephesus upon the proclamation of the Dogma of the “Mother of God” at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.
“Now and at the hour of our death”
Petition added by the great French saint & Marian apostle,
St. Louis de Montfort in the 17th century, to aid us
in the time of death, when we cannot pray cohesively.

Today, the Rosary remains the "Queen of indulgenced devotions," i.e. the Catholic devotion to which Our Lady and the Church has attached the most divine promises. The devout praying of Hail Mary in the Rosary obtains the grace of Jesus to be born anew in us.

St. Louis de Montfort lists four things of importance in growing in prayer through the Rosary:

1. To have a good director who will counsel holy practices, especially that of the Most Holy Rosary;
2. To say the Rosary attentively and devoutly;
3. How kind and merciful the Blessed Mother is to those who are sorry for the past and are firmly resolved to do it better;
4. And finally, how generous she is in rewarding us in life, death and eternity, for the little services that we render her faithfully.

“The Rosary is a biblical prayer… It 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."- Pope John Paul II

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A powerful reminder of the most important things in life.

OUTSIDE - What it evoked in the world...

- One of the first things the miners’ relatives did at the pithead, while it still looked as though they must be all dead, was to set up a statue of St Lawrence, patron saint of miners. The Chilean president, Sebastian Piñera, named the rescue mission Operation San Lorenzo, in honour of St. Lawrence.

- Employers asked forgiveness to the miners for the mishap.

- Each miner recived a rosay blessed by Pope Benedict XVI, who said he is constantly praying for them. In thanksgiving the miners sent him a chilean flag signed by each of them from thier rocky purgatory.

- Catholic youth from Uruguay sent a statue of Our Lady to the 33 saying “We pray for your liberation and we ask the Virgin Mary to intercede before her Son and to give you courage and hope to get through these difficult times.”

INSIDE - The heart of this unfloding "sermon"

- Esteban Rojas aged 44 - a maintenance mechanic told Jessica Ganiez with whom he's been living-in for 25 years and have three children - When I get out, I want to marry you in the Church.

- Nasa doctors' survival advise - no alcohol, no cigarettes underground.

- A crucifix had already been sent down, but the men requested that statues of Mary and the saints be sent down as they turned a section of the chamber they are in into a shrine where they can pray.

- The oldest of the trapped men - Mario Gómez, aged 63 who has survived a previous a mining accident years ago that severed his fingers and mutilated his hands, took upon himelf to be a father to the 33 and took charge of thier spiritual needs, leading them in prayer.

- When it was annouced to them that their imminent rescue was to be one by one, a heated argument arose underground as to who should be rescued first. When the health minister questioned them, it turned out that each one insisted another be the first to be rescued.

- The first words of Mario Sepulveda to journalists after his rescue was: "I was with God, and I was with the devil, But God won, I held onto God's hand, the best hand, and at no point in time... did I doubt that God wouldn't get me out of there."

What a profound lesson in Chariry and the power of the Risen Christ and as The Guardian put it, that beacon of hope, (from) the shrine set up in a corner of that unspeakable underground hell. "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Holy Father to preside over the Beatification mass, breaking his own precedent - Newman, the first to be honoured thus.

Cardinal Newman T Shirt from PopeShirts
Pope Benedict XVI is making a statement about the importance of Cardinal John Henry Newman - the illustrious son of England by breaking his own precedent - by presiding personally at his Beatification Mass on Sept. 19 - a rare honour - the first time in his pontificate!

From the begining of his pontificate, the Pope established that Beatification ceremonies would take place in the diocese of origin of the blessed, and that they would be presided over by the president of the Pontifical Council of Saints' Causes.

Pope Benedict's decision to preside over Newman's beatification reflects his love and respect for a fellow theologian whose work he has studied from his seminary days, and whose influence on the Second Vatican Council made him perhaps the most influential theologian on the council, even though it was meeting more than 70 years after his death.

Father Lombardi the Vatican spokesman said the Holy Father's decision to make "an exception should be seen in a positive sense." He said, Cardinal Newman's beatification ceremony is not only "very much united to the Pope's trip to the United Kingdom", but it is also undoubtedly "a particular sign of the appreciation, interest and importance" the Holy Father attributes to the figure of Ven. Cardinal Newman.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Take your love for the Pope to the streets of UK.

It's a good time to be a Catholic in the UK! With our streets and public spaces used to all kinds of voices and signs from far-wingers to gay pride - we are now called upon to make the Catholic voice - and our noble love for the Holy Father Pope Benedict visible, loud and clear in public.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput says: "Christian discipleship, demand more than a polite relationship with Jesus and His Church. The Church is the spouse of Christ - (it) is finally not an institution, corporation or bureaucracy, but our mother and teacher.”

Even as the world's media eyes are upon UK, here's a great way to show your love for Benedict XVI: a special Catholic Pope Poster from  PopeShirts. You can order one online here. Let's keep the Holy Father in our prayers daily - and don't leave home without one next week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Make your Catholic voice heard in the UK.

Catholic Pope T Shirt - "You Are Peter"
Excitement builds as the Papal visit to UK draws near. Sadly many youth are lured by anti-Pope messages. Help let the Catholic voice be heard - be seen in a Catholic PopeShirt! Above is one I designed called "You Are Peter" featuring the famous words of Jesus from the Gospel (in Latin) installing the first Pope. This grunge style composition incorporates the symbol of the keys of the kingdom (Mt 16: 19). You can see the Tee online at:

Commemorative T Shirt on the Beatification of Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman
A historic moment during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England will be the Beatification of one of the most illustrious English converts to the Catholic Faith - John Cardinal Henry Newman (1801 - 1890) at Burmingham. The above Commemorative T shirt may be viewed at:

So make this great occasion unforgettable - be seen in a Catholic PopeShirt - from just £11. These fabulous online Papal T shirts, Souvenirs and Newman Memorial gifts ship in 24 hours and there is no min. order!
Spread the word - hit "share" - let all your friends know! Order now online at:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A meditation with Corregio's Assumption of the Virgin

Holy Father, Benedict XVI says: "Mary is indeed the first fruit of the new humanity, the creature in whom the mystery of Christ - his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven - has ALREADY fully taken effect, redeeming her from death and conveying her, body and soul, to the Kingdom of immortal life."

As an aid to mediate on the Assumption I’d like to share with you a fabulous Late Renaissance fresco by Antonio Correggio. He painted this inside the dome of the Cathedral of Parma in Italy. Unlike other famous Assumption paintings, Correggio shows Mary cramped between a lot of human figures. This is to remind us that Mary is one among us. But, by virtue of her extrodinary creation, most intimate and radical discipleship of Christ while on earth, HE chose to honour her, after His ascension to the Father, with a share of his own unique power and glory.

So the Catholic Church teaches as an infallible Dogma - that “On her death, Mary was taken up body and soul into Heaven.” So Heaven is no longer a very remote place unknown to us. Because we have a mother in Heaven.

Mary has assumed body and soul into heaven – yeah – very nice – but how does it affect me? In his “Assumption of the Virgin” Correggio – hides within the Assumption story - another story. A story that plunges us into the very heart of the mystery of Mary’s assumption. A strange nude woman character to the top right of Mary – here she is:

Any idea who she is? The fruit she is holding will give you a clue – that is Eve! Why is Eve here?

St Iraneus – one of the early Fathers of the Church called Mary the “New Eve”. Now did you know Mary and Eve were exactly in the same state of the fullness of grace at birth! Many saints in their writings over the centuries show us – what Eve did with her original sin, Mary undid with her obedience & love. The same is true with Adam & Jesus – the new Adam.

So hidden within Correggio’s Assumption is a great encounter: The meeting of the two Eves. Notice Eve’s face - it is swollen with years of grieving. It is a face wrought with tears of repentance; her left hand on her chest is a sign of her sorrow. She seems to be offering up the forbidden fruit – her sin to Mary. It doesn’t hold any promise for her anymore – she knows she has been deceived. This is why we pray to Mary in the words: "To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve" (Hail Holy Queen) and "Before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful" (The Memorare)

This encounter then is deeply, deeply symbolic of the story of OUR life. This is the good news of Assumption for you and me: Cry out to Mary to help you give up the life of sin. Have you been trying to battle against sin and failed? Then look at your life - where is Mary there? Do you honour her in your life? This is the encounter which the Feast of Assumption demands. An encounter – if it happens in MY life - will change my life of sin FOREVER!

Offer yourself daily to her, cling to her closely that she may take your heart with her into heaven – even as she is assumed into eternity and plunge it into the very heart of the love of the Trinity.

Happy Feast of the Assumption to all!

UK Papal Visit T Shirts & Souviners