Rediscovering the Rosary in a Troubled World

Interview with Founder of Youth Missionary Service

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ROME, OCT. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- For those who think the rosary has been forgotten, the founder of the Youth Missionary Service has a very different message.



Ernesto Olivero, 61, former banker and a married man with three children, dedicates himself to the service of the poor and the marginalized. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once recommended him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1964, Olivero founded the Youth Missionary Service, an association characterized by its simple, fraternal, communal lifestyle, dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel through initiatives of conciliation.

John Paul II appealed to Catholics to pray the rosary this month for world peace and an end to terrorism. Here, Olivero talks about the timeliness of this prayer.

--Q: What does the rosary mean to you?

--Olivero: It is something I carry within me. The rosary leads me to the Word of God. Never before has the rosary been so invaluable. In such a mad world, only one woman, Mary, can help man rediscover peace.

What is happening at present makes us understand that if man does not find the wisdom that leads to God, chaos alone remains. We continue to choose God, and I believe that the Virgin is a great intermediary.

--Q: And yet, there are those who say it is boring and repetitive. Do you agree?

--Olivero: No. The rosary has a repetition that is full of meaning and love. Love never regards anything as repetitive, including the simplest gesture to the beloved. Sometimes, while I pray the rosary, I am tormented by the fact that I don´t understand what I am saying, that I am distracted, but I know I am dedicating time to God through Mary. So it is not repetitive.

--Q: Do you think it is an appropriate prayer for young people?

--Olivero: I think so. It is the prayer of simplicity, and whoever is simple has understood everything. And young people are simple. Anyway, before advising a boy or girl to pray the rosary, I would suggest that they encounter God, with the silence of God that leads to the rosary, to that apparent repetition.