June 9, 2012 — Pray not only for, but also with, the Holy Father…
“The Holy Rosary is not a pious practice banished to the past, like prayers of other times thought of with nostalgia. Instead, the Rosary is experiencing a new Springtime.” –Pope Benedict XVI, May 3, 2008, a Saturday, at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome; he prayed the Rosary in the Basilica on the first Saturday of May that year
“In the current world, so dispersive, this prayer helps to put Christ at the center, as the Virgin did, who meditated within all that was said about her Son…” –Ibid.
“May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can ‘water’ society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God. The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation.”—Ibid.
An invitation to join with Pope Benedict as he prays the Rosary each evening at 6:45 p.m. (Rome time)
Catholics around the world are being invited to not only pray for the Pope, but also with him, starting now, as he faces some of the greatest challenges of his pontificate.
This initiative originated among German Catholics in Rome, and is not something sponsored by Pope Benedict himself.
But the Pope has been informed that the initiative has been launched, and is said to be heartened by the thought that others around the world will start to pray with him.
The German lay Catholics who are sponsoring the initiative believe the knowledge that others are praying with him will lessen the Pope’s sense of isolation and vulnerability in these days, after the privacy of his own household has been betrayed by one of his closest collaborators (the “Vatileaks” affair, with documents being taken without his knowledge from his own apartments).
The initiative began on June 7 with an article by German writer Paul Badde, editor of Vatikan magazine (the German-language monthly magazine which Inside the Vatican helped to launch in 2006, shortly after Pope Benedict’s election).
Here is how it works. Each evening in Rome, Pope Benedict walks in the Vatican Gardens beginning at 6:45 pm to pray the Rosary with his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, accompanying him and praying the responses (photo).
No one else is present; the Vatican Gardens are closed off to other visitors. (If it rains, they pray the Rosary in the papal apartments.)
But now others are being invited, wherever they are, at that hour, to pray the Rosary with the Holy Father.
On the east coast of the United States, this will be at 12:45 p.m. — in other words, shortly after noon. On the west coast, it will be at 9:45 a.m.
If one prays the Rosary daily at this time, there will not be any direct physical connection with the Holy Father, but there can be a spiritual one.
I asked Badde if the Pope and his secretary know about this initiative.
“They know about it and appreciate it, of course,” Badde told me. “But the initiative was all ours. Websites will join in, of course, but without registration. That’s the beauty of this initiative: its complete freedom.”
I asked whether the Pope and his secretary pray the Rosary in German, Latin or Italian.
“They pray in German, basically, but switch easily to Italian or Latin,” Badde told me.
English-speaking people who wish to join this initiative should therefore pray in whichever language they feel most comfortable, whether English, or Latin, or another language, he said.
The Rosary Initiative like Juliana’s Vision
In his article announcing the initiative “to strengthen the Holy Father” but not only “to pray for the Pope, but to pray with him,” Badde begins by referring to St. Juliana of Liege’s famous vision of a “spot” on the full moon — something missing in the liturgical life of the Church.
Her vision served as inspiration for the introduction of the Corpus Christi celebration in the mid-1200s.
Badde argues that there is a shocking “spot” on the face of the Church today: the isolation and loneliness of Pope Benedict.
“The loneliness of the Pope is particularly shocking,” Badde writes. “Therefore, we want to call on this feast of Corpus Christi to immediately pray not only for the Pope, but to pray with him.”
He continues: “This can be done in the family, among couples, in twos, in threes, in fours, in groups, in orders and congregations, and in all of the new gathering places on the social networks and websites. It can be done anywhere, loudly or quietly — at home, at church, on the street, in cars, in gardens. And all free. Without Secretaries, without control, steering, no organization, no postage, no dues, no stopwatch, no address lists, but in the simplest way in the world: with a Sign of the Cross at 6:45 in the evening, and then the prayer of the Rosary with the Holy Father.”
How Does One Pray the Rosary?
The usual Rosary contains five “mysteries,” events from the life of Christ to reflect upon. The reflection continues through the praying of five “decades” of Hail Marys for each mystery — a “decade” (from the Latin word for 10) is made up of 10 Hail Marys.
The mysteries are the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries and now the Luminous Mysteries, introduced by Pope John Paul II.
Begin with a Sign of the Cross and an Apostles’ Creed.
Say an Our Father and three Hail Marys then a Glory Be to the Father.
Announce and meditate on the first mystery and say an Our Father.
Say 10 Hail Marys, and end the decade with a Glory Be.
Begin the cycle again with an Our Father, meditateon the second mystery according to the same schema, and so on for the third, fourth and fifth mysteries.
End with the Prayer After the Rosary and a Sign of the Cross.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory Be to the Father
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Prayer After the Rosary
Hail! Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His Life, Death, and Resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech You, that, 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.
Why Pray the Rosary?
More than a century ago a proud university student boarded a train in France and sat next to an older man who seemed to be a peasant of comfortable means. The brash student noticed that the older gentleman was slipping beads through his fingers. He was praying the rosary.
“Sir, do you still believe in such outdated things?”, the student inquired.
“Yes, I do. Don’t you?” the man responded.
The student laughed and admitted, “I do not believe in such silly things. Take my advice. Throw the rosary out the window, and learn what science has to say about it.”
“Science? I do not understand this science. Perhaps you can explain it to me,” the man said humbly, tears welling in his eyes.
The university student noticed that the man was deeply moved. To avoid hurting further the older person’s feelings, he said, “Please give me your address and I will send you some literature to explain the matter to you.”
The man fumbled in the inside pocket of his coat and pulled out his business card. On reading the card, the student lowered his head in shame and was speechless. The card read: “Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research, Paris.” The brash science student had unknowingly been speaking with his country’s leading chemist and bacteriologist.