Marian Devotional Movement teams up with Dominicans to encourage enrollment in Archconfraternity of the Holy Rosary.
Friday, August 6, 2021, is the 800th anniversary of the death of St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers. Since his time, the Dominicans have had the responsibility of promoting and preaching the Rosary.
One way in which the order has done that is through the Archconfraternity of the Holy Rosary, an international association of the faithful who make a commitment to pray the Marian prayer regularly.
“A confraternity is a spiritual association of the faithful affiliated to a particular Order. The Rosary Confraternity has been entrusted to the direction and care of the Dominican Friars since its foundation, and under the Apostolic Constitution put in place by Pope Leo XIII,” explained Fr. Lawrence Lew, a London-based Dominican. “Currently, the official role of promoting and co-ordinating the mission of the Confraternity falls to me as Promoter General of the Holy Rosary for the Dominican Order.”
The 1898 Apostolic Constitution of Pope Leo XIII, Ubi Primum, entrusted the Dominicans with the responsibility of directing and establishing local sodalities of the confraternity in churches throughout the world.
Now that work is receiving a major assist from a Canadian couple, Angelina and Dennis Girard, who are working with Marian shrines around the world to recruit new members to the confraternity. The Girards’ Marian Devotional Movement began by working with Canada’s national Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape to enroll visitors in the confraternity.
Since they received permission from the rector of Our Lady of the Cape in 2017 to enroll visitors in the confraternity, the Girards have received commitments from “thousands and thousands” of people to join, Dennis Girard said.
In 2018, they thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if the confraternity could be established in the great Marian shrines of the world and duplicate what we’ve been doing in Canada’s national shrine?” Girard said in an interview. Earlier this year, Fr. Lew authorized them to go to Marian shrines around the world, asking them to establish local branches of the confraternity.
Girard, a convert to Catholicism, said that in addition to the Canadian shrine and the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in London, where Fr. Lew is based, Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin, the Blue Army Shrine in New Jersey and the Shrine of the Immaculate Heart in Michigan are on board with the project.
At the same time, Girard is producing a documentary about Our Lady of the Cape, to premiere October 7.
The date is significant, since it is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was to the Confraternity of the Rosary that Pope St. Pius spoke, just prior to the Battle of Lepanto.
“That’s when the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary came into fruition,” Girard said.
This year is the 450th anniversary of that battle, which was key in turning back an invasion of Europe by the Ottoman Empire.
Fr. Lew believes that the Girards’ work in promoting the rosary is “providentially in accord with my own vision for the renewal of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Rosary, using the sacramentals that have been available to the Dominican Order for centuries.
“In particular, it is my hope that the great Marian shrines of the world, which attract so many pilgrims each year, can become focal points for the Archconfraternity, and can thus aid us in promoting and preaching Our Lady’s Rosary, for the salvation of souls,” he wrote in a letter of endorsement of the Girards’ work. “This plan, I believe, is in accord with the Holy Father Pope Francis’s emphasis on evangelization through pilgrimages and popular devotion, and also his call for shrines to become places of dialogue and encounter.”