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Get to know Jesus with this “scrapbook,” encourages priest

Scrapbook Rosary

Aleteia composition / Anastasiia Kozubenko | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 09/09/23

Both a nation in need of unity and the Eucharistic Revival can benefit from Washington, DC, prayer event this September 30.

In what could become an annual tradition, as it has been in France for more than a century, Dominican Friars in the United States are planning a National Rosary Pilgrimage, to be held September 30 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

The daylong event will bring people together to focus on the Mysteries of the Rosary and to allow Mary to lead them to her Son in the Eucharist, according to one organizer.

A program that includes prayer, talks, confession, and adoration will culminate in a Vigil Mass for the Sunday of the Rosary, beginning the month dedicated to the beloved Marian prayer. 

The featured speaker is Dominican Fr. Lawrence Lew of the Rosary Shrine in London, general promoter of the Rosary for the Dominican Order worldwide. 

Dominican tradition

The Rosary is often associated with the Dominican Order. Its founder, St. Dominic, who died in 1221, is said to have had a vision of our Blessed Mother, after which he preached about praying the Rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensian heretics.

In recent years, some Dominicans in the New York-based Province of St. Joseph felt it was time to promote the prayer in a new way, said Dominican Fr. John Paul Kern, executive director of the Dominican Friars Foundation.

“This is something that has been going on in France, led by the Dominicans, for over 100 years,” he said. “The Dominicans there have been seeing a lot of spiritual fruitfulness from it. And we’ve seen the need for something like this in our own country.”

For example, he said, the Rosary would be a good antidote to the divisiveness seen in American society today, Fr. Kern said. “Our Lady especially has the graces to unify her children in the Church.”

Timely event

Fr. Kern, who also serves as director of the Rosary Shrine of St. Jude located at St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C., also believes the timing of the first Rosary Pilgrimage is providential. Its inauguration, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, comes at a time when the Catholic bishops of the United States are leading a “revival” to foster greater belief in and respect for Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.

St. John Bosco had this vision or dream when the Church was encountering challenges during the revolutions in Europe, and in this dream of this vision, what he saw was the pope on a ship which he understood to be the Church going through rough waters, many challenges,” the priest said. “And we can look around and say, ‘Okay, there’s several rough challenges that we have today’ – some attacks on marriage and the family, kind of a loss of faith in various ways. So what was the solution that he saw? Well he saw that whenever the pope was guiding the Church between these two pillars, which on the one hand had the Eucharist and on the other hand had Our Lady, we see the recipe here that the Lord is laying out for the guidance of the Church today.”

Added Fr. Kern, “If the Eucharistic Revival is all about us going to Jesus in the Eucharist, well there’s no one who wants to lead us more to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist than the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Mary’s scrapbook

As well, the Rosary is an ideal way to get to know and go deeper in the Gospel and the mysteries of the faith, he said. The friar likened the Rosary, with its 20 mysteries following the highlights of the life of Christ and the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a kind of “scrapbook of Jesus’s life.”

“It’s like if you wanted to get to know me, you could ask me certain questions,” he said. “But also, if you talked to my mother and she showed you, ‘Well here are some highlights of my son’s life that I was there for,’ and she’s telling you about her son, you get some real insight into who this person is.

“And so that’s like what the Rosary is,” Fr. Kern continued. “We’re going through these mysteries of Christ’s life. But the Blessed Virgin Mary was there for them. Even some of the Gospel accounts — while these are inspired authors of Sacred Scripture — a lot of them likely learned about some of the events in Christ’s life, especially the early events such as the Nativity or what was happening with Mary and Joseph before Jesus was born [from Mary]. The Blessed Virgin Mary was likely explaining to some of them what it was that God was doing there in her life and in her son’s life. She was explaining to them this mystery, and that’s what she offers to do for us in the Rosary, to take us into the life of Christ, which she was living alongside of him, so we can know him and loved him all the more.”

Participants will have a chance to reflect on all that September 30.

Aleteia’s own Fr. Peter John Cameron gives a look at what to expect below:

PilgrimagesPrayerRosarySpiritual Life
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