May, the Month of Our Lady
As is well known, May is the month dedicated to Our Lady. It is often said May is the most beautiful month when the flowers are in full bloom and the weather is generally good. Last year we had the crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima which proved very popular. Sadly we won’t be able to do it this month but maybe in October? But we can still make this month special and offer our heavenly Mother a beautiful gift which will be very pleasing to her by trying to say the daily Rosary in our homes and in our families.
Many of you will remember back in 2010 when thirty-three miners in Chile were trapped 2,300 feet below the earth in a mine. Their plight was reported the world over each day as hopes of rescuing them were running out. Their supplies were coming to an end and it seemed they were going to die. But amazingly after seventeen days contact was made with them. Engineers had managed to drill a small shaft down to where they were trapped, and so food and supplies could reach them. However, a much larger shaft would have to be drilled if they were to be rescued and this was going to take a miracle.
What is less well known is that meanwhile in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI was asking the world to pray for the miners. He blessed thirty-three Rosaries and had them sent them to the miners so as they could pray it and so as they would know that JESUS and Mary were with them. The miners started to pray their Rosaries and wore them around their necks. Miraculously, after being trapped for sixty-nine days all the miners were rescued and survived the ordeal. And what was the date of their rescue? 13th October, the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. I think there is a message in that! With Heaven, dates are very significant.
The Popes have long recognised the power and the importance of the Rosary. It’s why they always hand them out to visitors. I have a Rosary given to me by Pope St John Paul II in 1981. Blessed Pope Pius IX famously said, “Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” His successor, Pope Leo XIII wrote eleven Encyclical Letters on the Rosary, in preparation for the month of October which he is responsible for turning into the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. As a boy he had worked on a farm and he knew that October was the month for harvesting, and so he chose to make it the month dedicated to the Rosary in order to reap a harvest of souls.
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday when we particularly pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. All of you, have in mind one person you will pray for and encourage to consider a religious vocation. And always remember, vocations come from families. Please keep in your prayers our Rosminian novice Brother William Rees and one of our altar servers Sam Hart who is testing his vocation with the diocese. This is just one way we can all be instrumental in reaping a harvest of souls.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC