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October 7, 2018: Rosary Sunday - Pastor’s Corner

Happy Rosary Sunday!  As Dominicans, we treasure the legacy of prayer that the Virgin Mary gave to St. Dominic when he experienced early difficulties in his preaching ministry. In a particular way, Rosary Sunday is the occasion when a student brother makes our annual appeal to support himself and the young men who are in formation to be Dominican priests and brothers. Since the diocese does not financially support Dominican education, this appeal is crucial for the ongoing formation of our young men.  This year we are delighted to welcome Br. John Winkowitsch to our weekend Masses. You may remember Br. John from his time here as a novice two years ago.  Br. John is from Cut Bank, MT. He garnered a degree in Liberal Arts from the brilliant, hidden gem Thomas Aquinas College in 2004, the alma mater of many sterling vocations. Subsequently, he earned both Ph.L  and a Ph.D in Philosophy from Catholic University of America and entered in the Dominicans in 2016. Welcome back to St. Dominic’s Br. John!

Also on this Rosary Sunday, our novices will be handing out rosary beads and pamphlets after all the Masses.  The Rosary is one of the most powerful prayers we can say, and so I encourage you to make it a daily prayer habit.  Pope Saint John Paul the Great declared the Rosary his favorite prayer, a “prayer for peace and for the family.” Pope Benedict XVI said, “without a doubt, this is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and His Mother, Mary…this prayer helps to put Christ at the center.” Most recently, Pope Francis described the Rosary as “a prayer that always accompanies me; it is also the prayer of the ordinary people and the Saints…it is a prayer from my heart.” 

When folks ask me why I pray the Rosary, my first response is usually, “because it works!” While there is much, rich spiritual fruit that comes to life from praying the Rosary on a daily basis, I want to mention briefly two reasons why I personally pray the Rosary.  First, since the Rosary is a blend of vocal prayer with mental reflection, it is one of the most natural and powerful means of contemplation. Contemplation is not easy.  Like physical exercise, it takes time and perseverance to build up the inner strength, focus and energy to be aware of the powerful, loving presence of God in our lives. Praying the mysteries of the Rosary habitually quiets my mind and produces a harvest of peace and tranquilly of spirit.  Amid the busyness of life, I need to take time to be still and know that God is. Meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life from Mary’s vantage gives me a glimpse of that maternal perspective which allays daily fears and future anxieties. In the face of fear, the Rosary creates peace of mind and heart.

Second, I pray the Rosary not just because I get something “out of it” but because it is a way that I can “give something back” to God.  Prayer is not simply a request list for God, but a personal way of communicating with God as with a friend.  When I feel like I don’t have time to pray the Rosary, I remind myself that those 15 minutes it takes to pray is literally 1% of the day.  Time is a gift from God. Gratitude for the time we are given is essential to making good use of it.  With its 150 Hail Mary’s, which are an echo of the 150 Psalms which form the core of how the Church sanctifies time through the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary is an effective prayer of offering. When I pray the Rosary, thankfulness takes hold of my heart.  Inspired with gratitude, my desires shift from telling God what I want from him to asking God what he wants from me. This shift from telling to asking has made all the difference in my life. Pray the Rosary. It works!

 -Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.

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