BROCKPORT — Rosa Faulkner said she gained greater insight about the rosary during a December novena leading up to the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.
During the novena, Faulkner said the parishes of the Northwest Monroe Catholic Community alternated praying the rosary in English at local churches and in Spanish at the homes of migrant workers. The churches participating in the novena were St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hamlin, St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport, St. Leo in Hilton and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Brockport.
On Dec. 6 at Nativity, Hispanic parishioners provided the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the recitation and placed roses at its feet, noted Father Joseph McCaffrey, pastor.
Before the recitation began, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano spoke to those in attendance about Mary, the rosary and the Eucharist as part of the Diocese of Rochester’s Year of the Eucharist.
Faulkner, who attended the Dec. 6 recitation with her husband, Juan, said she had not quite realized how profound the rosary is before hearing Bishop Matano speak about it.
“I loved how he explained each mystery (of the rosary) one by one,” she said of the bishop’s talk.
During his presentation, Bishop Matano thanked the Hispanic parishioners of the Diocese of Rochester for the witness of their great faith.
“As you’ve come to these shores as others have come, you have brought with you in many instances only two pieces of luggage: One a love for family, and the other a love for your faith,” especially a devotion to the Blessed Mother through the rosary, he said.
Devotion to the rosary has been a great part of the life of the church, Bishop Matano observed. In St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (Rosary of the Virgin Mary), he told the faithful that Mary’s whole life was in service to Jesus, so his followers should live their lives in service to her son, the bishop added.
“The mysteries of the rosary point to this reality,” Bishop Matano said.
The moment Mary uttered the words “thy will be done” at the Annunciation, which is recalled in the first Joyful Mystery, a close bond formed between her and Jesus, he said.
“The rosary really is a prayer that unfolds, in each decade, the life of Jesus, and how Mary accompanied Jesus throughout his entire life,” said Bishop Matano.
The Sorrowful Mysteries, meanwhile, detail the very deep and sad moments of Jesus’ life, Bishop Matano noted.
“But how often in our journey of life do we understand that Jesus accompanies us even in the darkest moments of our human existence?” he asked.
Jesus spared himself none of the sufferings of the human condition, Bishop Matano said. Save for sin, he allowed himself to experience all of the tragedies that are part of humanity’s condition.
“Understand as we meditate upon those mysteries of the sorrowful Christ, we contemplate our own union with Christ and bring to him all our needs, our wants, our sufferings, our anxieties and our disappointments,” the bishop said.
Mary is with Jesus in his suffering, on the Way of the Cross to Golgotha and to the moment he offered forgiveness as she stood with John at the foot of the cross, he added.
“I believe Mary united her heart to the heart of her son in forgiveness,” the bishop said. “A union in suffering, union in forgiveness and union in sacrificial love mother and son.”
In the Glorious Mysteries that reflect on the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth, there is hope that this life is just a threshold to eternal life, Bishop Matano said.
“When we look upon the life of Mary, when we see the magnificent paintings of Mary, the beautiful statues of the Mother of God, it is not uncommon for us to look upon her as a beautiful heavenly figure, to look upon her as one in glory,” he remarked. “Let us never forget she who lives in glory lived first in sorrow.”
The Luminous Mysterious focus on the Eucharist, which St. Augustine called “the center of our lives, the center of our faith, strength and food for the journey,” he said.
All the mysteries of the rosary provide understanding of what it means to be part of God’s family and live by the code of good, Christian, wholesome values in one’s community, Bishop Matano noted.
In his apostolic letter, St. John Paul II urged families to pray the rosary together, the bishop said.
“The Holy Father is telling us that the rosary is the medium to bring together members of community that they might realize we are one, holy, catholic and apostolic,” Bishop Matano said.