Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This weekend, our parish celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary in a very special way. You may have noticed the image of Our Lady, usually, at the back of the church in a glass box, and wondered why we have that image. Many members of our Hispanic Community are from Guatemala and they have a great and historic veneration to Our Lady of the Rosary. Patron of Guatemala, her holiday is celebrated on October 7. The devotion to Mary under the invocation of the Virgin of the Rosary, dates back to the Middle Ages with Saint Dominic (1209) and gains strength during the Renaissance. The celebration of the Rosary worldwide has its origin in the battle of Lepanto, on October 7, 1571. According to the Popes St. Pius V and Gregory XIII, the help of "Our Lady" and the revelation that through the Rosary the battle would be won were the spark to institute the feast in the life of the Church.
In Guatemala, with the early establishment of the Dominicans, the tradition of the Rosary prayer quickly began to spread. The first brotherhood of the Rosary was founded in 1559, only 30 years after the first European expedition in Guatemala. Francisco Marroquín, the first consecrated bishop of America, urged the people of Santiago, today Antigua Guatemala, to establish religious houses so that “there may be such a holy devotion. The original statue of the image displayed in Church was carved back in 1592 by an anonymous artist in Guatemala. This beautiful and unique baroque image represents Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her queenship represented by the Imperial Crown, the Mace, and her royal mantle. The moon under her feet symbolizes her immaculate purity.
This month in which we also observe the prayer for the respect of life and the Missions of the Church all over the world, let’s entrust these intentions, and our own, under her care. During these 30 days, there will be blessed rosaries at the back of the church and a brochure explaining how to pray the rosary. Let us pray for one another, especially those who most need the Mercy of God.
Father Steven Clemence