The other day I posted about the upcoming Pontifical Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary which Bishop Joseph Perry (Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago) will celebrate this week, Thursday in Manhattan (6 PM at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan). If you haven’t, there is more information here.
Most of you also know the history of this Feast. It commemorates not just the Rosary but especially the efficacy of the Rosary in obtaining a great naval victory over an Islamic fleet in 1571, the Battle of Lepanto.
The Catholic Encyclopedia has a summary of the history of the Feast:
It is believed that Heaven has on many occasions rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to [the Rosary] in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto gained by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571 responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity. St. Pius V thereupon ordered that a commemoration of the Rosary should be made upon that day, and at the request of the Dominican Order, Gregory XIII in 1573 allowed this feast to be kept in all churches which possessed an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In 1671 the observance of this festival was extended by Clement X to the whole of Spain, and somewhat later Clement XI after the important victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene on 6 August, 1716 (the feast of our Lady of the Snows), at Peterwardein in Hungary, commanded the feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church.
Under St. Pius V, it was called “Our Lady of Victory.”
Speaking of Manhattan, and Our Lady of Victory some of you may know a lovely little church in the Wall Street district that Card. Spellman built to commemorate the Allied Victory in WWII. Here’s a picture of a great plaque from the narthex that I shot last April.
Later, the Feast was renamed the “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. A 1962 hand missal describes this Feast as “Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.”
This perhaps calls into question the Wikipedia article which claims that Pope Paul VI changed the name in 1969.
I am short on time at the moment. Perhaps you readers can get to the bottom of this? When did the name of this feast change and why?
This feast has me thinking….
Consider the news:
The guy who attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square earlier this year was sentenced to life in prison. The news media reports that as he entered the courtroom for sentencing, he warned Americans that more attacks were to come:
“Brace yourself [sic]for the war with Islam. This is the first droplet of the flood that will follow.”
The Feast of the Holy Rosary is a feast of victory. This is a good moment to reflect on times of special danger.
Throughout history, when there have been threats of invasion or attacks, disease or famine, Holy Church has responded with processions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the prayers of the Rosary.
First we must pray for avoidance of danger and of peace. But if peace is not to be, then we must pray for victory.
I take this opportunity again to remind anyone around the New York City area – whether you are a great proponent of the Extraordinary Form or not – to come to Holy Innocents in Manhattan and, in solidarity, participate in the Holy Mass being offered on the the Feast of Our Lady of Victory/the Holy Rosary/Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.