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Bishops of Wichita, Denver call Catholics to turn to Mary in ‘time of crisis’

“In our current time of crisis, our Church, world and our country need faith in God and the protection and intercession of Mary,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver said in an August 7 statement.

(Anuja Mary/

CNA Staff, Aug 11, 2020 / 05:29 pm (CNA).- Two bishops have called for rosary crusades in their respective dioceses in the month of August, asking Catholics to pray daily rosaries for the end of the pandemic, for justice and peace, for an end to the desecration of churches, and for multiple other intentions.

“In our current time of crisis, our Church, world and our country need faith in God and the protection and intercession of Mary,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver said in an August 7 statement. “And so…I am launching a Rosary Crusade to ask Mary to urgently bring our needs to Jesus.”

Aquila invited all Catholics in his diocese to pray a daily rosary, beginning on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Aug. 15, through the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows on Sept. 15. He asked that they pray for 15 distinct intentions, including for an end to the coronavirus pandemic and all those who have died of the virus, and end to abortion and euthanasia and attacks against life, as well as for peace, justice and an end to discrimination on the basis of race.

“We turn to Mary in our difficulty because she is our spiritual mother, who with her ‘yes’ to the Lord embraced the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power,” Aquila noted.

Aquila said the inspiration for his rosary crusade came from Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, who in July announced that he was starting a rosary crusade for the month of August in his diocese for similar intentions.

In his message to the Catholics of his diocese, Kemme said that while the pandemic, racial injustice, civil unrest and other upheavals America is experiencing this year may seem like these are “unprecedented times,” the Church and her members have experienced similar – and worse – sufferings throughout the ages.

“It has been said that we live in unprecedented times. But do we really?” Kemme wrote. “After all, any amateur student of history and especially Church history can attest that Holy Mother Church has already experienced everything we are living through and even far worse, things like plagues and pandemics, persecutions of Christians, violent attacks against persons for reason of color or other discriminatory traits, the shameless desecration of churches and statues and acts that cause scandal, even by those who are called to serve as leaders of the faith.”

While the current situations may bring about feelings of “uncertainty, fear and dismay,” he said, “…the Church has been here before. The only difference between then and now is us. We are the ones whom God has chosen and destined to live at this time in history, bringing our faith to bear, as did our predecessors, so that with God’s grace and by God’s grace alone, we too will triumph and overcome all adversity and grow stronger in faith, hope and love in the process.”

Kemme said he invited all Catholics in his diocese to strengthen or rediscover their faith during these times, primarily through the sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Communion.

In addition to a renewed commitment to the sacramental life, Kemme also invited his diocese to a month-long rosary crusade, because “the Rosary has been recommended to the faithful for centuries as a prayer of contemplation, a weapon against evil and a source of divine strength and consolation.”

Numerous popes have written about the significance of the rosary as a spiritual weapon in difficult times.

In 2002, St. John Paul II declared a “Year of the Rosary”, and wrote of his love for and the merits of this devotion in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

“The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty,” John Paul II wrote. “To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort. Twenty-four years ago…I frankly admitted: ‘The Rosary is my favourite prayer. A marvellous prayer! Marvellous in its simplicity and its depth…our heart can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church, and all mankind. Our personal concerns and those of our neighbour, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life.’”

The rosary is a “compendium of the Gospel,” John Paul II noted, as it calls those praying it to contemplate different events and mysteries throughout the life of Christ.

“The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary’s side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is ‘fully formed’ in us,” he wrote.

Leo XIII was pope from 1878 until his death in 1903 and became known as the “Rosary Pope.” He wrote a total of 11 encyclicals on the rosary and instituted the tradition of October as the month of the rosary, during which Catholics are encouraged to pray the rosary daily.

“It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God,” Leo XIII wrote in Supremi Apostolatus officio, his 1883 encyclical on devotion of the rosary.

“And truly the Immaculate Virgin, chosen to be the Mother of God and thereby associated with Him in the work of man’s salvation, has a favour and power with her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain. And, as it is her greatest pleasure to grant her help and comfort to those who seek her, it cannot be doubted that she would deign, and even be anxious, to receive the aspirations of the universal Church,” Leo XIII added.

Numerous other saints and popes have recommended Catholics turn to Mary in times of need, Aquila noted, including St. Padre Pio, who once said: “In times of darkness, holding the Rosary is like holding our Blessed Mother’s hand.”

Kemme noted that while Catholics may feel helpless in the face of numerous current crises,  “we can and must always pray. Prayer is not a passive response to life’s challenges, or something we do in the absence of something more productive or beneficial; no prayer in all its many forms is an active engagement, calling upon the powers of heaven to come to our assistance.”

“I am praying and hoping that thousands from all over the diocese will choose to participate so that together and through the powerful intercession of Mary, we will emerge from this present darkness with renewed faith and confidence in God.”

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    • The rosary is a device consisting of a chain of beads used in the ritualistic counting of repetitious prayers such as the hail Marys and the Lord’s Prayer. It was 1st introduced by a monk named Peter the Hermit (1090 A.D.), but was not officially sanctioned until the 16th century. The repetitious recital of prayers is a heathen practice specifically condemned by Christ: “In your prayers, do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them” (Matt: 6:7,8).

      • Brian, your jesting, right? That’s a very “UnCatholic” idea your espousing there, and more a protestant complaint for sure. I’m sure I speak for a gazillion Catholic souls who believe in the heart that when I pray the Holy Rosary, I am praying to the Mother of God and my Heavenly Mother, too. And if you don’t believe me, then I will direct you to the highly esteemed Saint Louis De Monfort, who said that the quickest way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.And I’m sure our Blessed Mother Mary continues to intercede on your behalf and bless you with Heavenly graces even though you do not believe in praying the her Holy Rosary.

        • It’s obvious you know nothing about the history of the Rosary or what a wonderful devotion it is Mary always points us to her son our Lord and Saviour. Mary is the Mother of God, chosen as the new Eve, the living Ark of the Covenant to carry and bring into the world the Word Incarnate Jesus Christ. His first public miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana was done due to her intervention becuase He can deny His Mother nothing. Catholics know how important the Rosary is and thankfully it is more and more being said to praise and honour Jesus and His holy Mother. There is nothing less demonic then Mary or the Rosary.

        • Answer honestly…..have you ever read the Bible? The Bible gives absolutely no support to the many exalted titles which the Roman Catholic Church has bestowed upon Mary such as, “Queen of the Angels, Prophets, Patriarchs, Apostles, Confessors, Virgins”, and “All Saints”, “The Door of Paradise” “The Gate of Heaven”, “Our Life”, “Mother of Grace”, “Morningstar”, “Refuge of Sinners”, and “Mother of Mercy”. These titles represent Rome’s (not Gods’) attempts to elevate Mary to a glorified position which is NOT taught in the scriptures.

        • Charles, you gave me no scripture to back up your claims, just another statement from a sinner like the rest of us. God gave us the Bible to guide us in what we are to believe and trust. “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. 2 Timothy 3:16,17.

          “I am the Lord, that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” Isaiah 42:8

          As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”. Luke 11:27,28

          See, even Jesus denounced Mary and gave all the glory to God and Scriptures. Bet you’ve never heard these scriptures before and hundreds more just like them!

          • Ah, this brings back memories of being a Fundamentalist Protestant, slinging around verses without any sense of proper context or deeper meaning.

            “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”. Luke 11:27,28

            Mary, of course, heard the word of God and obeyed it. It’s right there in Scripture: “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'” (Lk 1:38). And, of course, nowhere in Scripture do we see Mary disobeying God; quite the contrary. So what is Jesus saying in Luke 11? We know that Jesus, as a Jew (and the Incarnate Word) who kept the Law perfectly, honored his mother perfectly. He is not “denouncing her”; rather, he is saying that Mary’s greatness flows from her perfect faith and “Yes” to God. Her motherhood flows from that reality. Mary’s relationship with Christ as mother is unique; but her relationship as disciple is one that we are called to as well. We are given the grace necessary to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Perfection in holiness is the call of the Christian life; Mary answered that call and demonstrated what it means to not only give birth to Jesus, but to live as a Christian.

            The Fundamentalist, sadly but logically, has to disparage and even renounce Mary; the Catholic (and Orthodox and many Protestants) recognize that Mary is not only Theotokos, but also the first of her Son’s disciples, precisely because of her perfect obedience and profound faith.

            And then there is the matter of God giving us the Bible: How? In what manner? Through what earthly mediation and channel? Hmmmm.

          • “God gave us the Bible to guide us in what we are to believe and trust.”

            Jesus gave us the Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, to guide us. He didn’t say “Go, write a book, and then that will be all that matters.” It was the Church that gave us the Bible, not vice versa.

            “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

            All. Not only. If my doctor tells me, “All green leafy vegetables are good for you,” he is not telling me that I should never eat anything but green leafy vegetables.

            And in any event, the scripture referred to in 2 Timothy is the Old Testament.

          • Brian. It always amazes me how none theologians, none studied people of the faith Christ gave to His Church know more than that of the Church fathers and doctors and councils that have delved unto tradition and scripture for over 2000 years. 🙏🙏🙏 for you and all that will not in humility look upon the Church and her teachings as the bride of Christ instituted with the Holy Spirit

      • Don’t you pray the Lord’s Prayer, Brian? The beginning of the Hail Mary is also taken from scripture.
        The Rosary is about prayer & meditating on the events in Our Lord’s life. It’s nothing heathenish but I do see how you might misunderstand.
        God bless!

    • Suggest those who find it boring, find a good book on the mediations for each decade of the rosary, such as Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s “the Rosary: Chain of Hope”. This book also contains Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter on the Rosary and his expansion of the Rosary to include the Luminous Mysteries. Also suggest having a bible on hand to get get more familiar and understanding of each mystery. A suggestion, read portion of the book or bible multiple times to fully grasp what is written. I get that at times, it might be tough to say the Rosary, maybe just start one decade at a time, whatever works. Anyways by increasingly understanding the meaning imbedded in each mystery by mediatating on them while saying the Hail Mary’s, it will be vaulable for your faith and graces received.

    • Then ask for the grace of holy fortitude in the Holy Spirit so that great love is given Jesus and Mary, you are sanctified, other souls receive blessings, while supernatural ‘merits/rewards/glory is stored up in heaven, where neither thief can steal nor rust nor moth corrupt’ then humbly ask for divine ardor in prayerfully meditating on Christ Jesus the Divine Lover in the Holy Mysteries of His Life and Mary with Him – that can never be boring but will very well prolong your time in the midst of Rosary loving, conversing, resting in each bead Offered with blessedness of soul and body one in love, hope and faith….Mary, show your little ones!

    • What a ridiculous thing to ask. Are you looking for light entertainment? I suggest if it means so little don’t do it. Hope you wake up Kyle.

    • Ask the Blessed Mother to help you. I struggled with praying the Rosary for years but as soon as I turned to her and asked for her help, she did so. I now say all 4 Rosaries every day.

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