Today, October 7, 2023, the Priory celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary. Here is the homily of our very own Fr. Javier Gonzalez, OP, Prior of St. Dominic Priory delivered during the solemn mass.
” On October 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
We, too, as a community, are gathered together on this day to honor our Mother and Patroness. We are not simply praying to Mary, but we are praying with Mary in our midst, reenacting the scene of the Acts of the Apostles in the Upper Room, where the latter “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Act 1:14). Mary is in our midst, maternally watching over us that we do not miss the point of our very existence. With Mary we echo today her words: “The Almighty has done great things for me; holy is His name,” making them ours. With Mary we reaffirm, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” With Mary, we glorify God.
This solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary has a prime Dominican flavor. From its beginning, the Order of Preachers showed special honor and devotion to Mary, Mother of God. The Rosary, which places before us the chief mysteries of the infancy, life, passion and resurrection of our Savior, has been one of the chief ways in which the Order has expressed this devotion.
In 1208 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Dominic in the church of Prouille, France, and gave him a chaplet of beads representing roses commending to him the devotion which had spread among the faithful. St Dominic then gave the Rosary to his Sisters and Friars Preachers to use it in their efforts to convert the Cathars and the Albigensians in Southern France. It was indeed a powerful prayer.
Our brother Alan de La Roche (1428-1478) helped to define the structure of the Rosary and promoted its recitation. In 1470 he established the first Confraternity of the Rosary.
A century later, another member of the Order of Preachers, Pope Pius V, turned to the Virgin Mary in an hour of need. He began a rosary campaign through Europe for the Christian fleet at Lepanto, who was vastly outnumbered by the Muslim Turkish fleet. But the Christian soldiers were victorious. The Pope attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and established the feast of “Our Lady of Victory” on October 7, 1571. (Pope Paul VI renamed it “Our Lady of the Rosary” in order to remind the people of God how effective the Virgin Mary’s prayers are.)
Our Dominican Province, founded in 1587 “to preach the Gospel in the Philippines, in China and the rest of the nations of the Far East,” was recognized by the General Chapter of Venice  under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.
It has been a tradition in our communities the daily recitation of the Rosary, ended with the oldest known Marian prayer (“We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers. O glorious and blessed Virgin Mary.”)
“It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in difficult times to fly for refuge to Mary”, Pope Leo XIII wrote.
Pope Pius XII called the Rosary a compendium of the gospel. This expression was repeated by Pope Paul VI in Marialis Cultus. It is a form of contemplative, mental and vocal prayer, which brings down God’s blessing on the Church. It is a biblically-inspired prayer centred on the meditation on the salvific mysteries of Christ in union with Mary, who was so closely associated with her Son.
Pope John Paul II, in October 2002, with his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, made a landmark contribution to the prayer of the Rosary by adding the five luminous mysteries. He selected some significant moments in the life of Jesus: his Baptism, his first miracle at Cana, his Preaching of the Kingdom, his Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist.
The Rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are wit
h us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.
As we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, our Patroness, let us remind her with filial devotion to turn her merciful eyes towards us now, and to show unto us
the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus, at the end of our earthly exile.
Let us place under Mary’s maternal protection the Church, our Order, our communities, our families and our beloved ones.
Let us entrust to her our Province, our Missions currently spread in Asia (Philippines, Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Myanmar, East Timor), in Europe (Spain, Italy) and in South America (Venezuela). Twelve countries, which I fancy represented in the 12 stars of Our Lady’s crown.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us! “
[Fr. Javier Gonzalez, OP]
Macau, October 7, 2023