WelCom September 2019:
Fr James Lyons
Fr Barney Keegan was the first parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Lower Hutt’s suburb of Waiwhetu. Opened in 1946, the parish was home to a population of mostly young families, many in state housing, establishing themselves in the uncertain economic times following World War II.
He chose the parish’s name as he drew families into a new community, recognising the Rosary as a unifying factor and a source of great spiritual energy. His enthusiasm and example sparked great interest in having the Rosary as a daily household prayer, and the parish blossomed.
Several parishioners responded to the call to priesthood and religious life and this was attributed to the parish commitment to ‘Mary’s Prayer’. Some of the families involved in this response were Dooley, Campbell, Flynn, Hobbs, Ryan, Sherry, … .
This development coincided with the reawakening of devotion to the Rosary in the 1950s, promoted internationally by Fr Patrick Peyton, who made famous the slogan, ‘the family that prays together, stays together.’
With the later introduction of a variety of devotional practices and the considerable changes in family life, the idea of praying the Rosary together as a family unit has faded. But the Rosary, as a powerful instrument for community and personal spiritual growth is still worth exploring and experiencing.
Running the decades of beads through your fingertips, while letting a particular aspect of the life of Jesus in company with his Mother flow through your mind and heart, and applying it to your own situation, can energise your faith, confirm your hope and direct your love.
October is traditionally known as the Month of the Rosary. It includes the feast days of the Holy Rosary (7), and Saint Luke (18) whose gospel is strongly focussed on the motherhood of Mary.
In October this year, 2019, at the Home of Compassion, Island Bay, I am offering a series of presentations on the Rosary open to all interested in rediscovering or affirming this devotion.
Entitled, BEADS OF CONTEMPLATION, the series is spread across four Wednesday’s of the month, with a one-hour presentation at 10am, repeated at 7pm.
Each Wednesday one of the ‘Mysteries’ will be unwrapped through discussion and prayer to discover how relevant the themes are to the concerns and hopes of today, to issues we face in our personal lives and to the expectations we have of ourselves, our communities and our world.
9 October: The Mysteries of Joy
16 October: The Mysteries of Light
23 October: The Mysteries of Sorrow
30 October: The Mysteries of Glory
In adding the Mysteries of Light to the traditional set of three in 2002, Pope John Paul II (now Saint) said they revealed the public life of Jesus not expressed in the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. In this, they complete a totality of experience in the life of both Jesus and Mary and can help us lift the veil that easily obstructs efforts to understand events in our own lives.
The Pope noted that, in the Rosary, ‘Against the background of the words, Ave Maria, the principal events of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul…and they put us in living communion with Jesus through – we might say – the heart of his Mother.’ [Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, 2002, n.33]
BEADS OF CONTEMPLATION places the mysteries of the Rosary in the context of today’s lived experiences, inviting a ‘living communion’ with Jesus and Mary that will enrich, encourage and also challenge.
The Beads of Contemplation series will be in Our Lady’s Home of Compassion Chapel, 2 Rhine St, Island Bay, 10am, or 7pm, 9, 16, 23, 30 October. For enquiries please phone Christine on (04) 383-7769.
Fr James Lyons is a priest of the Archdiocese of Wellington.