Poland's bishops are urging Catholics to pray for their country's salvation on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto.
Up to a million people are expected to participate in a mass Rosary prayer along Poland’s border on October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto.
Poland’s bishops have urged Catholics to join the “Rosary on the Borders” event to mark the end of the Fatima centenary and pray for the country’s salvation, reported the Catholic Herald.
“We believe that if the Rosary is prayed by about a million Poles along the borders of the country, it may not only change the course of events, but open hearts of our compatriots to the grace of God,” the organizers say on their website.
“A hundred years ago, Mary gave these three Portuguese children a message of salvation: repent, give reparation for sins against my Immaculate Heart and pray the Rosary,” the bishops added.
The Battle of Lepanto marked the victory of the “Christian fleet” over the Ottoman Empire. Fr. Steve Grunow, of Bishop Robert Barron’s “Word on Fire,” described the origins of the feast in this way:
On October 7th, 1571, a fleet of ships assembled by the combined forces of Naples, Sardinia, Venice, the Papacy, Genoa, Savoy and the Knights Hospitallers fought an intense battle with the fleet of the Ottoman Empire. The battle took place in the Gulf of Patras located in western Greece. Though outnumbered by the Ottoman forces, the so-called “Holy League” possessed of superior firepower would win the day. This victory would severely curtail attempts by the Ottoman Empire to control the Mediterranean, causing a seismic shift in international relations from East to West. In some respects, and I do not want this claim to be overstated, the world that we know came into being with this victory. This event is known to history as the “Battle of Lepanto.”
Pope Pius V, whose treasury bankrolled part of this military endeavor, ordered the churches of Rome opened for prayer day and night, encouraging the faithful to petition the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the recitation of the Rosary. When word reached the Pope Pius of the victory of the Holy League, he added a new feast day to the Roman Liturgical Calendar. October 7th would henceforth be the feast of Our Lady of Victory. Pope Pius’ successor, Gregory XIII would change the name of this day to the feast of the Holy Rosary.