Beads to Unite Believers on Rosary Day
Marian Devotion on the Rise, Says Scholar
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MEXICO CITY, AUG. 31, 2007 (<A href="http://www.zenit.org">Zenit.org</A>).- A group of Catholics in Mexico City are inviting all religious and lay movements to join them Oct. 7 for Worldwide Rosary Day.
The main event will be hosted at the Basilica of Our Lay of Guadalupe in Mexico City, but organizers are asking all interested "religious and lay movements from around the world to organize massive rosaries, joining in this Worldwide <A href="http://www.churchforum.org/rosario/ingles">Rosary</A> Day 2007, in as many locations and countries as possible."
Guillermo Estévez Alverde, one of the organizers of the event, said: "We have already celebrated 11 years of this work and, with our mother's blessing, the Most Holy Virgin Mary, year after year the number of people and countries who join in praying the rosary grows.
"Every year more people and more countries join in to pray the rosary."
Devotion to the rosary, both publicly and privately, is on the rise, claims Mark Miravalle, professor of Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
The Mariologist told ZENIT that one reason for the resurgence is that we live in troubled times: "Moral degeneration, terrorism and war, and even natural disasters, are leading people to look upward for solutions to global problems that appear beyond human control or remedy.
"Like the early Church under persecution, more people are turning to Mary, our advocate, for motherly protection, grace, and courage in these times of moral and global crisis."
Also, earlier this year on May 19, Los Angeles hosted the first "Rosary Bowl." The event, hosted at the site of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, drew 60,000 to pray the traditional prayer of the Virgin Mary.
Estévez Alverde said that the organizers of the Worldwide Day of the Rosary don't keep tabs on the specific numbers of participants: "We don't know, and don't want to know how many people unite. That is for us to know in heaven, but after the event, every year, we receive information of rosary events that surprise us."
He said that one year a group in Mexico City gathered some 45,000 people to pray the rosary in a bull-fighting ring.
Another group located in a small fishing village in Alaska gathered their divided families to pray the rosary, "asking in petitions for the unity of families. They really felt that this helped them in unity."
Miravalle said that during the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council, there was a decrease in Marian devotions.
"This was due to the incorrect perspective that the council called for a de-emphasis on the Mother of Jesus and her roles," he said. "Nonetheless, this misconception had its negative theological and pastoral effects, and led to a decrease in several Marian devotions that had been generously practiced in the Church."
"The pontificate of Pope John Paul II served as a dynamic corrective to this downward tendency," Miravalle continued.
"His teaching and his person," he added, "radiated a contagious love of Our Lady, and this reintroduced a higher Mariology and a more generous Marian devotion into the Church's theological and pastoral life."
Miravalle said: "Benedict XVI and his magisterium is continuing this Marian renewal in both teaching and praxis.
"In a recent audience -- Aug. 22 -- our Holy Father called young people to 'place your lives and each of your projects under the maternal protection of the one who gave the world its savior.'
"The Pope's words and teachings about Our Lady echo throughout the Catholic world, and sustain this contemporary Marian renaissance of truth and love."
"People in general and families in particular are returning to the rosary as a spiritually and historically proven prayer for Christian holiness and for protection," he said. "John Paul II prayed 15 decades of the rosary every day of his pontificate. More families today are making time for the daily rosary because of the spiritual peace they find, and the spiritual protection they need."