“Mondays with Mary” – ‘The Joyful Mystery’ through the Words of Pope Benedict XVI

As we continue in the month of October, the Month of the Holy Rosary, I find it fitting to share with you more catechesis on the importance of the Holy Rosary. Last week, we focused on an excerpt from Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s book, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary, where he explained the importance of Mary and the Rosary. The week before that I share with you the many blog posts I have written on the Holy Rosary. At that point, I had written on the Rosary ten times, including last week’s post and now this one, we are now up to twelve posts.

CHE: Pope Benedict XVI?s Vacation Visit To Switerland

Don’t thing the Holy Rosary is important? Think again! St. Pio of Pietrelcina didn’t call it “The Weapon” against Satan for nothing.

For this week’s “Mondays with Mary”, we are going to read the great words of a future saint and future Doctor of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI. I know I have said this in the past, but if you have never read anything by Pope Francis’ predecessor – what are you waiting for?! When I read Father Benedict, what he would like to be called now, I feel as if I am reading one of the great Early Church Fathers. Yes, he is that theologically and spiritually profound in his words.

Today’s post also works perfectly since it’s Monday and on Monday’s we pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. These words were originally given during an address on May 1, 2006.

Father Benedict says…

We have recited the Holy Rosary going through the five “Joyful” Mysteries, which portray to the eyes of the heart the beginnings of our salvation, from Jesus’ conception in the Virgin Mary’s womb, brought about by the Holy Spirit, until he was found in the temple of Jerusalem when he was 12 years old, listening to the teachers and asking them questions.

We have repeated and made our own the Angel’s words:  “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”, and also the words with which St Elizabeth welcomed the Virgin who went with haste to help and serve her:  “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

We have contemplated the docile faith of Mary, who trusted in God without reserve and put herself entirely in his hands. Like the shepherds, we too have felt close to the Child Jesus lying in the manger and recognized and adored him as the eternal Son of God who, through love, became our brother, hence, our one Saviour.

We too entered the temple with Mary and Joseph, to offer the Child to God and to carry out the rite of purification:  and here, together with salvation, we felt ourselves anticipating, in the words of the elderly Simeon, the contradictory sign of the Cross, and of the sword that beneath the Cross of the Son was to pierce the Mother’s soul, thereby making her not only the Mother of God but also Mother of us all.

Thus, full light is shed on the bond that united Mary with the Holy Spirit from the very beginning of her existence when, as she was being conceived, the Spirit, the eternal Love of the Father and of the Son, made their dwelling within her and preserved her from any shadow of sin; then again, when the same Spirit brought the Son of God into being in her womb; and yet again when, with the grace of the Spirit, Mary’s own words were fulfilled through the whole span of her life:  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord”; and lastly, when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary was taken up physically to be beside the Son in the glory of God the Father.

“Mary”, I wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, “is a woman who loves…. As a believer who in faith thinks with God’s thoughts and wills with God’s will, she cannot fail to be a woman who loves” (n. 41)… Yes, dear brothers and sisters, Mary is the fruit and sign of the love God has for us, of his tenderness and mercy. Therefore, together with our brothers in the faith of all times and all places, we turn to her in our needs and hopes, in the joyful and sorrowful events of life.

As we continue in the Month of the Rosary and celebrate the Holy Rosary in our parishes or throughout diocesan events, let us remember the words of Father Benedict. Let us strive to be like Mary, Elizabeth, the Shepherds, as well as the many great saints of the past who prayed the Rosary daily with a deep devotion to Jesus and Mary. .

Our Lady of the Rosary…Pray For Us. 

The Vision of St. Dominic - Bernardo Cavallino (1640)

The Vision of St. Dominic – Bernardo Cavallino (1640)

“Mondays with Mary” – St. Louis De Montfort on the Hail Mary

Since October is the month of the Holy Rosary, I found it fitting again this week to focus on the main prayer of the Holy Rosary – the Hail Mary. But instead of going through the prayer line by line, which I have done in other blog posts that focus on the themes in the Hail Mary, today we will draw from one of the great saints of the Catholic Church, St. Louis De Montfort.

In his famous book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis De Montfort explains the many different elements of the Holy Rosary. In Rose (chapters) 15, 16, 17, and 18, the saint explains thoroughly main prayer of the Rosary. The excerpts below come from these four chapters.

As always with my blog posts, I hope you share with them others, especially your family and friends as well as copy and paste this quotes to your social media sites in order that others may learn more about the beauty and truth of Jesus Christ, the Catholic faith and her traditions.

St. Louis De Montfort said…

“The Angelic Salutation is a most concise summary of all that Catholic theology teaches about the Blessed Virgin. It is divided into two parts, that of praise and petition: the first shows all that goes to make up Mary’s greatness and the second all that we need to ask her for and all that we may expect to receive through her goodness.”

“The new hymn is that which Christians sing in thanksgiving for the graces of the Incarnation and the Redemption. As these marvels were brought about the Angelic Salutation, so also do we repeat the same salutation to thank the Most Blessed Trinity for His immeasurable goodness to us.”

“When we praise and bless Our Lady by the saying the Angelic Salutation she always passes on these praises to Almighty God in the same way as she did when she was praised by Saint. Elizabeth. The latter blessed her in her most elevated dignity as Mother of God and Our Lady immediately returned these praises to God by her beautiful Magnificat.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary

“The Hail Mary is a blessed dew that falls from heaven upon the souls of the predestinate. It gives them a marvelous spiritual fertility so that they can grow in all virtues. The more the garden of the soul is watered by this prayer the more enlightened one’s intellect becomes, the more zealous his heart, and the stronger his armor against his spiritual enemies.”

“By each Hail Mary we give Our Lady the same honor that God gave her when He sent the Archangel Gabriel to greet her for Him. How could anyone possibly think that Jesus and Mary, who often do good to those that curse them, could ever curse those that bless and honor them by the Hail Mary?”

“The Hail Mary is a sharp and flaming shaft which, joined to the Word of God, gives the preacher the strength to pierce, move and convert the most hardened hearts even if he has little or no natural gift of preaching.”

“In each Hail Mary we bless both Jesus and Mary: ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is thy fruit of thy womb Jesus.’”

“If we make ourselves worthy of the greeting and blessings of Our Lady we shall certainly be filled with graces and a flood of spiritual consolations will come down into our souls.”

So as this month of the Holy Rosary continues, let us ask for the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of the Rosary to always intercede for us, bringing our prayers to Jesus Christ. Let us also ask for the prayers of St. Louis De Montfort who through divine wisdom and great spiritual insight loved the Blessed Virgin Mary and helped further the understanding of the Holy Rosary. Amen.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

October is considered the Month of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that is why for the next three weeks; we will take up Mary’s Role in the New Testament. Mary’s role in the New Testament is deeply rooted in the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Let’s first begin today with the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.

ROSARY IS 'FAVORITE PRAYER' OF POPE JOHN PAUL IIFor many Catholics, who pray this Marian prayer worldwide every day, the Rosary is a daily prayer offered through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that meditates upon the Gospels and the life of Jesus Christ. Blessed John Paul II says, “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae On the Most Holy Rosary).

On October 7, 1571, the first Sunday of October, Don Juan of Austria won his famous naval battle over the Turks at Lepanto. When giving praise and thanksgiving, he attributed the victory because of the praying of the Holy Rosary and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because the Christians were victorious over the Turks through Our Lady’s intercession, Pope St. Pius V (1566-1572) established an annual feast on October 7 and titled it, Our Lady of Victory.

Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585), the immediate successor to Pope St. Pius V, enhanced the title to “of the Rosary.” He gave its Office to any church that there was an altar consecrated to Our Lady of the Rosary.

In the year 1716, the army of Emperor Charles VI, under the military leadership of Prince Eugene, had a tremendous victory near Belgrade over the Turks. This occurred on the Feast of Our Lady of Snows and while the Society of the Holy Rosary members were offering sacred prayers in the city of Rome. Some time after, in the city of Corcyra, the Turks were forced to surrender that city.

Mary and the Rosary

In light of these great victories, Pope Clement XI (1700-1721), gave the Universal Church the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. Before this time, it was only a regional feast in the Church. Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) entered the feast into the Roman Breviary. The feast was given a feast of second class under Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903). Pope Leo also made an invocation addition to the Litany of Loreto. He implemented – Queen of the Most Holy Rosary…Pray for Us.

In the year 1961 and during the pontificate of Blessed John XXIII, the title of this feast became, Our Lady of the Rosary. The Rosary, which has played a major role in the Church for centuries, has its birth and infancy through the great saint and founder of the Dominicans, Saint Dominic de Guzman.St. Dominic

For a more information on the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please see these five “Mondays with Mary” posts –

1. “Mondays with Mary” – The Holy Rosary

2. “Monday with Mary” – The Holy Rosary, Part Deux and St. Therese of the Child Jesus

3. “Mondays with Mary” – The Holy Rosary Through the Words of Blessed John Paul II

4. “Mondays with Mary” – The Saints and the Popes on the Holy Rosary

5. “Mondays with Mary” – 7 Benefits of Praying the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady of the Rosary…Pray for Us!

This post is dedicated to the repose of the soul of my grandmother (on my Mom’s side), Carmela Tino, who passed away 33 years ago on this day.

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Source:

Hoever, Rev. Hugo, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., Lives of the Saints, Catholic Book Publishing, New York, 1989.

“Mondays with Mary” – 7 Benefits of Praying the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From the beginning of his Papacy, Pope Francis, has been giving us a continual catechesis on the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the first day as the Bishop of Rome, he went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major and offered flowers to the Blessed Mother. Since that first trip, he has been back twice now. Just like his predecessors, he has a deep love for the Blessed Mother and continues to direct us on how we are to love her more.

This past Thursday for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass outside the Papal Residence at Castel Gandolfo. Focusing his attention on more catechesis of the Blessed Mother, he encouraged us to pray the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary everyday.  He said, “Mary joins us, she fights at our side. She supports Christians in the fight against the forces of evil. Especially through prayer, through the rosary.” Many of the great Popes and Saints of the Church over the centuries had a devotion to the Rosary.

Saint Louis De Monfort said there were 7 benefits of praying and meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary – 

  1. The Holy Rosary gradually gives us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  2. The Holy Rosary purifies our souls, washing away sin.
  3. The Holy Rosary gives us victory over all our enemies (St. Pio of Pietrelcina – the Rosary is the greatest weapon against the devil).
  4. The Holy Rosary makes it easier to practice virtue.
  5. The Holy Rosary sets us on fire with love of Our Blessed Lord.
  6. The Holy Rosary enriches us with graces and merits.
  7. The Holy Rosary supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow man, and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces for us from Almighty God.

This Thursday we will celebrate the Queenship of Mary. As Queen, one of her duties is to intercede for us. She is our Advocate. On this role of Mary in relation to the Rosary, Blessed John Paul II said, “When in the Rosary we plead with Mary, the sanctuary of the Holy (cf. Lk 1:35), she intercedes for us before the Father, who filled her grace, and before the Son born of her womb, praying with us and for us” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae).

During this week, I would encourage you to pray the Rosary and form a habit of praying it everyday. If you can’t pray all five mysteries at one time, it’s okay to break it up during the day. Make the effort to pray the greatest Marian Prayer and hear the call from our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Our Lady of the Rosary…Pray For Us!

“Mondays with Mary” – 37th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona

Yesterday I attended the 37th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona. This event is one of the largest events (5,000 attendees) that shows honor to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Rosary in the United States. Most of the parishes from the Diocese of Phoenix are in attendance as well are many of the Marian ministries that have homes at those parishes. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix was there and at his side was Auxiliary Bishop, Eduardo Nevares. The guest speaker was Rev. Zachary Mother of God, SOLT.

It was a glorious day that gave honor to our Blessed Mother under her title of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is the Dogma that solemnly declares that Mary was conceived without sin in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. The Immaculate Conception is NOT the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. I will write more about the Immaculate Conception in the month of December.

As I entered the Phoenix Civic Center, many faithful Catholics greeted me. I walked through the entire hall and ran into friends that I had not seen in some time. One of the friends I ran into was Patrick Schuller, the Knights of Columbus Immediate Past State Deputy for the State of Arizona. Pat and I worked together at St. Mary’s Catholic High School when I taught there and oversaw the Columbian Squires Circle #5000 as a 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Counselor.

A main sponsor of this event is the Arizona Knights of Columbus. You see the Knights everywhere! It’s one of the most impressive gatherings of the 4th Degree Knights in all their regalia. The 4th Degree is the visible arm of the Knights of Columbus.

I also ran into Debbie Georgianni who was at the Immaculate Heart Radio table in the back of the hall. She was there with her husband Marty, Doug Slater, and a gentleman named Francesco. I am going to be on the “Bishop’s Hour” soon here in Phoenix which airs on 1310 AM.

I ran into April Yeager who is a friend from my former parish, St. Thomas the Apostle. Two of her children are former students of mine. She was dressed in Native American attire and was carrying a first-class relic of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was one of two Americans along with five others who were canonized yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

One of the big attractions of this event is the massive procession that occurs around the hall. The parishes, ministries, Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies, and Los Matachines participate. The parishes and the Knights of Columbus carry and wave in the air their banners while Los Matachines dance to the beat of the loud drums. I love being Catholic in the Southwest part of the United States! They all have a great devotion to the Blessed Mother under her title – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Below is a video of Los Matachines from two years ago (start video at 3:25).

After Rev. Zachary’s stirring talk on the importance of the Holy Rosary and mysteries within, everyone in the hall prayed the Holy Rosary (Joyful Mysteries) in English, Spanish, and Latin. Once the Rosary was concluded, we had Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. I love Adoration and Solemn Benediction! Singing the Latin Hymns associated with Adoration brings great peace to my heart and it reminds me of the many saints who prayed before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as well.

Once Adoration was complete, the 37th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration was concluded. I made my way to the exit and ran into some more old friends and told them about my new job here in Phoenix. Overall, it was a good day and one that I was happy to participate in as a Catholic in the Diocese of Phoenix. We are very blessed here in Phoenix to have such faithful and holy Bishops who attend and lead us in prayer at such events.

Immaculate Heart of Mary…Pray for Us!

“Mondays with Mary” – The Holy Rosary Through the Words of Blessed John Paul II

Last Tuesday I went to Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation), as I always do on Tuesdays at a parish close to where I work in Scottsdale. For the past month, every Tuesday, I go to weekly Confession since I am fully aware of my own faults and weaknesses…and there are many! I enjoy the time in the Confessional and often go to a priest who I know pretty well.

Let’s be truthful – it’s not easy to go and admit your faults to someone else, but Jesus did give the Apostles the power to forgive sins (Jn 20:19-23) and with the grace that pours from the Sacrament, we should take advantage of God’s mercy and love for us as often as possible.  The priest who hears my Confession gave me a high-five recently. He was happy to know that I go to weekly Confession. Another priest here in Phoenix also was happy to hear the same information. Both of these great men of God encourage their parishioners to attend frequently…because of the GRACE that comes from the Sacrament. St. Padre Pio would sit in the Confessional for hours, and even days on end, to hear Confessions and forgive in the name and power of Jesus Christ.

The reason I begin talking about Reconciliation was because while I was in line for Confession, there was an elderly couple in front of me (70-80 years old) who were praying the Holy Rosary as they waited in line. I remember I pulled out my Rosary and they both looked at me at the same time and nodded as to say – good job young man, the Rosary is important for our lives as Catholics. From my standpoint, I felt as if the three of us were united in our Catholicity praying the Holy Rosary together. As I stood there praying the Sorrowful Mysteries, it was great to know that others pray this great Marian prayer and that we were united in faith, even though we were generations apart in age. The Catholic Church and her prayers truly unite the faithful from age to age. (Paragraph #43 below will solidify my argument for you).

For this “Mondays with Mary”, I wanted to share with you the two paragraphs from above, but also wanted to provide some great excerpts from Blessed John Paul II and his Apostolic Letter – Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Most Holy Rosary). Blessed John Paul II said a few weeks after his Pontificate began in 1978 and in his document that the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary (official name) was his favorite prayer to pray. He prayed it daily. Below are some of his great words on the Most Holy Rosary. I hope you enjoy them, contemplate on them, and share them with your family and friends. I would also encourage you to read the document as well.

Paragraph #1 – “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a contemplation.”

Paragraph #3 – “The Rosary, reclaimed in its full meaning, goes to the very heart of the Christian life; it offers a familiar yet fruitful spiritual meaning and educational opportunity for personal contemplation, the formation of the People of God, and the new evangelization.”

Paragraph #14 – “Contemplating the scenes of the Rosary in union with Mary is a means of learning from her to “read” Christ, to discover his secrets and to understand his message.

Paragraph #16 – “In support of the prayer which Christ and the Spirit cause to rise in our hearts, Mary intervenes with her maternal intercession, “The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary.”…The Rosary is both meditation and supplication.”

Paragraph #21 – “In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments – “luminous” mysteries – during this phase of Christ’s life…each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus.

Paragraph #25 – “…the Rosary does indeed “mark the rhythm of 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 #30 – In order to supply a Biblical foundation and greater depth to our meditation, it is helpful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the proclamation of a related Biblical passage, long or short, depending on the circumstances.”

For my fellow teachers – paragraph #42 – “To pray the Rosary for children, and even more, with children, training them from their earliest years to experience this daily “pause for prayer” with the family, is admittedly not the solution to every problem, but it is a spiritual aid which should not be underestimated.”

Paragraph #43 – “I look to you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.”

During this month of the Holy Rosary, let us pray for Our Lady’s maternal and queenly intercession to our King and Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us also pray that we may find more time in our daily lives to offer up the Rosary and to ask for the intercession of Blessed John Paul II and the communion of saints and the divisions of angels to be with us always.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Holy Rosary, Part Deux and St. Therese of the Child Jesus

On May 7, 2012, I wrote a blog post on the Holy Rosary giving a basic understanding of the prayer that Blessed John Paul II admitted was his favorite prayer and the one he prayed on a daily basis. The above link is my post for your reading enjoyment and understanding of the great Marian prayer. For the past 20 years, I have carried a rosary in my right pants pocket. This habit began when I joined the Knights of Columbus in 1992 at the age of 18 years old. It’s a great reminder that Our Blessed Mother is always with me. Through the good times and the bad times, the Rosary in my pocket is there. Through my times of frustration and joy, the Rosary in my pocket is there. Through my times of sin and virtue, the Holy Rosary is there in my pocket. I even have a Rosary hanging from my rearview in my Four Runner. The month of October is commonly known as the Month of the Rosary. “Mondays with Mary” will feature aspects of the Holy Rosary for this entire month. Please share the posts with your family and friends.

Today, October 1 is the Feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus a.k.a. St. Therese of Lisieux a.k.a. The Little Flower of Jesus. Most people are familiar with St. Therese and her Story of the Soul, so I will not go into any great detail about her life in this post. You can read about her at Catholic Online, EWTN, and on the official website for St. Therese.

For this post, I want to share a story about an experience I had with St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus. As many of you know, the flower that is most attributed to her is the Rose. During my first year of teaching at St. Mary’s Catholic High School, I wanted to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 by organizing a prayer service in my room with my students. I had a satin image of Our Lady under her title of the Virgin of Guadalupe on a bulletin board in my room. The plan was to find roses and place them around the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Remember it was St. Juan Diego who gathered roses in his tilma in the dead of winter on Tepeyac Hill as the Blessed Mother directed him. When he went to the Archbishop of Mexico City to show him the roses in the month of December, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the tilma. The tilma still exists today in Mexico City.

As we all know, roses are usually very expensive, so it was going to cost me quite a bit of money to pull off my plan. I went to the King’s House, a religious bookstore here in Phoenix, since I knew one of the ladies made fake roses for their gifts. In the end, that was too costly as well and would have taken lots of time, which I did not have since this idea came to me only days before December 12. One of the workers behind the counter suggested that I pray to St. Therese of the Little Flower since she loved Our Blessed Mother very much and would probably love to help me with my project. Being a bit of a skeptic (my name is Thomas), I initially did not take that advice. I arrived home to see if I could find roses online instead. After a few hours of frustration, I ended up praying to St. Therese. Hang onto your hats, because this gets good!

As I was praying to St. Therese, my office in my condo began to smell like roses…fresh cut roses!!! I kid you not!! The entire room smelled like roses!!! I did not have any potpourri nor did I have any plug-in scenters. To say the least – I freaked out!! I got up from my chair and started looking around the room. I finally said, okay, St. Therese…you have got me.

The next day I went back to the King’s House since someone (clear my throat) was pushing me back there. When I arrived, I told the workers my story. A young woman who was not there the previous day said that I should go to the Flower Emporium on 7th Street (very close to St. Mary’s too) since they will have beautiful faux flowers that will honor Our Blessed Mother without breaking my wallet. I walked into the emporium and found exactly the faux roses that I needed for my prayer service with my students. The prayer service went very well and my students reacted to the story I just told you in a positive way, although there were some skeptics. Probably serves me right since I was a skeptic originally. Since that year (2004), I have always asked for St. Therese’s intercession at times in my life.

I would encourage you to learn more about this great saint and Doctor of the Church.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus…Pray for Us!

Our Lady of the Rosary…Pray for Us!