The faithful gathered with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades on Oct. 1 outside the South Bend abortion clinic to pray the rosary and mark the opening of Respect Life Month. The rosary was organized by the diocesan Office of Family Life.
By Chris Lushis
SOUTH BEND — To commence Respect Life Month, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades led over 200 participants in a Rosary for Life outside the South Bend abortion clinic on the evening of Oct. 1. The event, which was organized by the diocesan Office of Family Life, emphasized the importance of being united in faith and grounded in prayer to bring about holy action in the world.
Bishop Rhoades highlighted the importance of praying the rosary together; reminding those present of the eternal hope in the triumph of Christ’s Resurrection.
“It is a great joy to see so many of you here today,” Bishop Rhoades said. “We are surrounding the abortion clinic with this pro-life circle: we have the Women’s Care Center, the Life Center with the Blessed Sacrament present at the Divine Mercy Chapel, and the St. Joseph County Right to Life Office. This place is surrounded by prayer and people working for the cause of life. We will be victorious, and the Lord of Life will be victorious.”
The Office of Family Life offered participants various ways to show support for mothers, children and families through the distribution of pro-life materials and by offering 100 roses to the women present, memorializing the lives that have been lost at the Women’s Pavilion on Ironwood Circle. Bishop Rhoades also commented on the special day chosen to pray this rosary, the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
“She was the ‘Little Flower,’ and these flowers, which represent unborn babies who have been aborted, also remind us of St. Thérèse as we ask for her strong and powerful intercession for life and that of our Blessed Mother as we pray this rosary together.”
Bishop Rhoades led those present in reciting the glorious mysteries, offering a brief intention before each decade, including for all people who have experienced the pain of losing a family member or loved one, for all who struggle with addictions, for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to open hearts and minds to the Gospel of Life, for all mothers who have suffered and died at the hands of abortion providers, and that all mothers might come to know the beauty of their vocation.
To close the rosary, Bishop Rhoades prayed aloud words from St. John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”), asking the Blessed Mother to “look upon and bestow all people with the love and grace to accept the Gospel and have the courage to bear witness to it, in order to build a civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.”
Many families and students were present for this joyous occasion, highlighting the importance of community involvement in promoting the dignity of human life. Bishop Rhoades expressed his gratitude to those gathered together and remarked on the number of students in attendance.
“I am thrilled to see so many young people and students from Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Marian High School, Saint Joseph High School, homeschools and public schools, novices and postulants of the Sisters of St. Francis, and members of the Knights of Columbus,” he noted. “Your presence here gives us all great hope for the triumph of the Gospel of Life in our country and in our world.”
Holy Cross College students were invited by Bishop Rhoades to lead the opening and closing hymns for the congregation. Kieran Krenz, a Holy Cross freshman who sings the choirs of both Holy Cross and the University of Notre Dame, remarked that the event was a “very good affirmation for those who are passionately striving toward the same goal of obtaining justice for the dignity of human beings.”
Additionally, Michelle Roy, the Holy Cross College student president of the Pro-Life Club exclaimed that the rosary was a “great experience to come together with the local community and be able to pray with our bishop. As a small Catholic school it is truly special to be recognized by Bishop Rhoades and to see that he appreciates our efforts to defend life.”
Lisa Everett, co-director for the Office of Family Life, offered her gratitude to Bishop Rhoades for suggesting the event and explained how it is a necessary component for building a culture of life. She said, “The four pillars of the bishop’s pro-life outreach are education/evangelization, pastoral care, political advocacy and prayer. Some people may feel called to one specific pillar, but all four are necessary for the success of the pro-life movement, especially for those in the Church.”
Bishop Rhoades concluded the evening by encouraging those present to make the most of the month of October, which is designated both as Respect Life Month and the Month of the Holy Rosary.
“What a beautiful thing it would be to make a resolution to pray the rosary every day during this month, or at least one decade each day,” he said. “Our Lady certainly hears our prayers. Continue to pray and continue to work to serve the Gospel of Life in a variety of ways. May God bless all of you for your commitment to this holy cause.”
How to pray the rosary
WASHINGTON (USCCB) — The rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary.
The mysteries of the rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. There are four sets of mysteries: joyful, sorrowful, glorious and –– added by Pope John Paul II in 2002 –– the luminous.
The repetition in the rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s spirit dwells. The rosary can be said privately or with a group.
The five joyful mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays of Advent:
• The Annunciation
• The Visitation
• The Nativity
• The Presentation in the Temple
• The Finding in the Temple
The five sorrowful mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Tuesday, Friday and Sundays of Lent:
• The Agony in the Garden
• The Scourging at the Pillar
• The Crowning with Thorns
• The Carrying of the Cross
• The Crucifixion and Death
The five glorious mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Wednesday and Sundays outside of Lent and Advent:
• The Resurrection
• The Ascension
• The Descent of the Holy Spirit
• The Assumption
• The Coronation of Mary
The five luminous mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:
• The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan
• The Wedding Feast at Cana
• Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God
• The Transfiguration
• The Institution of the Eucharist
Praying the rosary
Familiarize yourself and/or your group with the prayers of the rosary.
Make the Sign of the Cross.
Holding the crucifix, say the Apostles’ Creed.
On the first bead, say an Our Father.
Say three Hail Marys on each of the next three beads.
Say the Glory Be
For each of the five decades, announce the mystery, then say the Our Father.
While fingering each of the ten beads of the decade, next say 10 Hail Marys while meditating on the mystery. Then say a Glory Be.
(After finishing each decade, some say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.”)
After saying the five decades, say the “Hail, Holy Queen, followed by this dialogue and prayer:
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray: O God, whose Only Begotten Son,
by his life, Death, and Resurrection,
has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life,
grant, we beseech thee,
that while meditating on these mysteries
of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
we may imitate what they contain
and obtain what they promise,
through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.